80 Hours Removed from the 2018 Florida Classic; Here are 8 Perspectives of this Weekend’s 33-19 Win

1- Bethune-Cookman shuts down FAMU in Florida Classic, blocks Rattlers’ shot at MEAC title

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/college/college-gridiron-365/os-sp-florida-classic-1118-story.html

2- 99-yard TD run carries Bethune-Cookman to victory over Florida A&M

https://www.macon.com/sports/college/article221767225.html#storylink=cpy

3- Bethune-Cookman scores twice in 4th, Beats FAMU 33-19

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2018/11/17/bethune-cookman-scores-twice-in-4th-beats-florida-am-33-19/38553827/

4- FAMU Collapses again in Florida Classic, lose 33-19 to BCU

http://www.thefamuanonline.com/news/view.php/1036152/FAMU-collapses-again-in-Florida-Classic-

5- FAMU drops disappointing verdict in Classic

http://www.wtxl.com/sports/famu-drops-disappointing—verdict-in-classic/article_6e263e3e-ebb9-11e8-a904-d7de18eef6a6.html

6- Bethune-Cookman downs FAMU, 33-19

https://bcuathletics.com/news/2018/11/17/football-bethune-cookman-downs-famu-33-19.aspx?path=football

7- Super 8! BCU wins eighth straight Florida Classic behind big plays, late turnovers

https://www.news-journalonline.com/sports/20181117/super-8-b-cu-wins-eighth-straight-florida-classic-behind-big-plays-late-turnovers

8- Bethune-Cookman spoils FAMU celebration bowl berth with Florida Classic win

https://hbcusports.com/2018/11/17/bethune-cookman-spoils-famu-celebration-bowl-berth-with-florida-classic-win/

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Welcome the 2018 MEAC Football Season

Hey y’all; it’s game week and the kickoff of the 2018 MEAC football season is here. (That felt so good I will say it again).

Hey y’all; it’s game week and the kickoff of the 2018 MEAC football season is here. Our beloved Wildcats travel to Nashville to take on the Tigers of Tennessee State this Saturday, September 1st at 7:00pm in the John Merritt Classic. Bethune will look to capture its first MEAC crown since 2015 and finish the season in Atlanta in the Celebration Bowl.

But it’s not just the Wildcats who will fight to position themselves at the top of the MEAC standings come season end. Aggies, Eagles, Bison and Bulldogs will all attempt to claw their way to the catbird seat and represent the conference in Atlanta in December.

Our MEACFANSZone friend, durhamgsoaggie, put together a list of things to watch for this season in the MEAC that will likely have major impacts on 2018 and beyond. Enjoy!

1. A Tale of Two Willies In Tally.

2018 will mark the first time that the two D1 universities in Florida’s capital will both have black head football coaches (and under the age of 45). In fact, the ADs, men’s basketball coaches and head football coaches of both FAMU and FSU are all black males.

Slick Willie (Taggart) and Fast Willie (Simmons) are great young football minds who have the potential to change the game at their prospective levels. In addition to winning, the question is whether they can produce a synergy within the city of Tallahassee that hasn’t been there to lift both sides to dominance? And will FAMU’s recruitment of Kayvon Thibodeaux, one of the nation’s highest rated players, have an effect on this if successful?

2. The evolution of Akevious Williams and the Circle City Debate

Most media outlets have Howard picked as the consensus #2 behind A&T because of the Caylin Newton/Mike London effect. But an argument can be made that the most talented roster in the MEAC from top-to-bottom is down in Daytona. With Larry Brihm now departed to the CFL, will Williams make the leap this year as the unquestioned leader at QB under the tutelage of Allen Suber? Or will he fall back into a timeshare with a player like Jabari Dunham? Given BCU’s home games against A&T & NCCU and a bevy of talented RBs to go with an aggressive defense… the answer to this question could have championship ramifications for the MEAC.

BCU also elected to give up its home game vs. Howard for the Circle City Classic. If BCU wins, this is a moot issue. However… if Howard wins on the neutral site, the questions will linger whether it was a wise move to give up home-field advantage for the $$$ and visibility for Circle City. This game is definitely one to watch.

3. NCCU – The QB Collectors

NCCU started 2017 with former Southern/JUCO transfer Micah Zanders at QB. Due to injury, freshman Chauncey Caldwell took over the reins for the Eagles with sophomore Naill Ramadan mixed in. In the offseason, NCCU signed Zanders’ brother Marvin, a grad transfer QB from Missouri. In addition, freshman Dominique Shoffner redshirted. Crowded QB rooms are nothing new in a D1 football program. But with a squad replacing 8 starters on defense, continuity and efficiency on offense will be key early in the season. Coach Granville Eastman is a defensive guy who will have his defense fully functional by mid-season. RBs are abundant with the return of Isaiah Totten and arrival of hometown star Jamal Elliott. But the QB room in Durham is a carousel to watch early in the season.

4. The Ticking Clock in Norfolk

3 seasons and no progress in Norfolk for Coach Latrell Scott. Solid recruiting classes, a solid returning starter at QB in Juwan Carter, a big win down in Durham vs. NCCU… but no real traction so far. Tragedy struck the Norfolk program in a major way last season. But this is a new season and the natives in the talent-rich Tidewater region are on the warpath. Can Scott’s staff produce the synergy needed to produce a winning season? Can an offensive line emerge to control the clock, keep an opportunistic defense fresh and keep the talented Carter upright to make plays? Or will Scott’s tenure end with a grave in the Tidewater wetlands? One thing is for sure… Virginia State and Reggie Barlow are coming on September 1st. Could Scott be playing against his potential replacement? Time will tell.

5. End of an era in Orangeburg and Savannah.

Rumors have been swirling that 2018 will be the last for SCSU Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough. 2018 is also the last season for Savannah St as they move back to the SIAC in Division II. SCSU produced another high draft pick with Darius Leonard going in the 2nd round to the Colts. With SCSU losing LB Dashawn Taylor as well… will the massive OL/DLs down in Orangeburg be able to carry the load and give Buddy one last winning season out the door? And can Coach Erik Raeburn continue to build a viable program given concurrent defections due to the pending move down for progress in 2018?

6. New faces, same problems in Delaware & Baltimore

Coaches Rod Milstead and Ernest Jones bring new energy & passion to their programs. But structural and regional issues still remain the same for both programs. Can the coaches recruit successfully enough in the same competitive recruiting regions? And are the staffs they assemble capable enough in the scheme/execution department to make a significant change in the quality of football we’ve seen from both schools? A competitive DSU/MSU combo makes this entire conference take a step up. We need it.

7. Golden Non-Conference Opportunities

Multiple schools have great opportunities for OOC wins, including Morgan St, NCCU, FAMU and BCU. Norfolk St has a major home game against FCS power James Madison. But the headliners are Howard & A&T.

Howard has FBS Ohio & Kent St while ending the season hosting FCS Bryant. A&T kicks off the season with FCS power Jacksonville St, then travels to FBS East Carolina, followed by hosting FCS Gardner Webb. The A&T/Jax St. game may be the biggest MEAC FCS game since the 1999 I-AA Playoffs in terms of competitive standing on the FCS stage. Howard’s win over UNLV and near-miss at Kent in 2017 put them on the map in the Mike London era. Continuing to win more of these games is critical to gaining a broader market audience for the MEAC. But tiebreakers may also come into play for A&T and Howard, since they will not play each other in 2018. So all of these matchups are key in 2018.

Read more: http://meacfanszone.proboards.com/thread/35030/top-2018-meac-football-storylines#ixzz5PUT555Hm  

Thanks durhamgsoaggie for your input.

$30.00 Roundtrip on HAILWILDCATS.COM Fan Bus to the 2017 FLORIDA BLUE FLORIDA CLASSIC NOV. 18th, 2017

 

HAIL WILDCATS Faithful! HWFB

You are cordially invited to hop onboard the HailWildcats.com ‘Road to the Celebration Bowl’ Fan Bus as we support and cheer on our BCU Football team under the direction of Head Coach Terry Sims. Our Fighting Wildcats will travel to “Camping World” Stadium in Orlando, Florida for the 2017 Florida Blue FLORIDA CLASSIC on Saturday November 18th, 2017 to take on the FAMU Rattlers, kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m.

Forget having to drive and park into busy Orlando, for the low rate of $30.00 you will be guaranteed transportation to and from this annual game and still be able to tailgate. Sit back and relax and allow us to do the driving for you, Hailwildcats Fan Bus even has electric outlets under every seat to charge your electronics!

The bus will depart from Daytona at 10:00 am, make a pickup at the Home Depot on Lee Road at 10:45 and will arrive at the Florida Citrus Bowl around 11:30 pm so that you can enjoy the festivities. The Bus will return back to Daytona around 6:00 pm to allow you to participate in the after game celebration.

Seats are available on a first come, first serve basis. No seats are guaranteed until final payment has been received. Refunds will be granted on a case by case basis!

We encourage the use of PayPal for a fast, safe, and convenient method of securing your seat. We have attached the PayPal links/options below for your convenience. You do NOT need a PayPal account to complete your transaction. If you prefer to pay with cash or with Credit/Debit card in person or over the phone, please coordinate with Jerry Bell or Darold Williams at the numbers below. Checks will NOT be accepted.

Seats are filling up quickly, so be sure to lock yours in today.

PICKUP LOCATIONS:

DAYTONA BEACH, FL -Cracker Barrel -10:00 AM 2325 W International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114

ORLANDO, FL -Home Depot -10:45 AM 5351 Diplomat Cir, Orlando, FL 32810

If you have any questions, please call or text Jerry Bell at 407-494-5302 in the Orlando Area or Darold Williams at 386-463-2287 in the Daytona Area.

*Please remember that Camping World Stadium has a “Clear Bag” Policy, please see the link below for more info.

http://www.floridaclassic.org/faq


Hail Wildcats!
__________________________________________________________

$30.00 ROUNDTRIP on HAILWILDCATS.COM FAN BUS to the 2015 FLORIDA BLUE FLORIDA CLASSIC NOV. 21st, 2015

 

Greetings WILDCAT Fans!   HWFB

You are cordially invited to hop onboard the HailWildcats.com ‘Road to the Celebration Bowl’ Fan Bus  as we continue to support our BCU Football team under  the direction of Head Coach Terry Sims. Our Fighting Wildcats will travel to the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida  for the 2015 Florida Blue FLORIDA CLASSIC on Saturday November 21st, 2015 to take on the FAMU Rattlers, kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

Forget having to drive and park into busy Orlando, for the low rate of $30.00 you will be guaranteed transportation to and from this annual game and still be able to tailgate. Sit back and relax and allow us to do the driving for you, Hailwildcats Fan Bus even has electric outlets under every seat to charge your electronics!

The bus will depart from Daytona at 10:00 am and will arrive at the Florida Citrus Bowl around 11:30 am so that you can enjoy the festivities. The Bus will return back to Daytona around 7:00 pm to allow you to participate in the after game celebration.

Seats are available on a first come, first serve basis. No seats are guaranteed until final payment has been received. Refunds will be granted on a case by case basis!

We encourage the use of PayPal for a fast, safe, and convenient method of securing your seat. We have attached the PayPal links/options below for your convenience. You do NOT need a PayPal account to complete your transaction. If you prefer to pay with cash or with Credit/Debit card in person or over the phone, please coordinate with Jerry Bell or Darold Williams at the numbers below. Checks will NOT be accepted.

Seats are filling up quickly,  so be sure to lock yours in today.

PICKUP LOCATION:

DAYTONA BEACH, FL –Bethune-Cookman University -10:00 AM   Between the Facilities building and the Band Hall

If you have any questions, please call or text Jerry Bell at 407-494-5302 in the Orlando Area or Darold Williams at 904-351-8381 in the Daytona Area.

photo 3 (2)
IMG_4399

Hail Wildcats!
__________________________________________________________

Bus Seat to BCU vs FAMU 2015 Florida Blue Florida Classic – Orlando, Fl (Transportation Option only)
paypal-button
$30.00 

5 Questions from Fall Camp

IMG_9324The Bethune-Cookman football program has spent most of the last five seasons nationally ranked and atop the MEAC standings. In that same timeframe, the Wildcats have posted more victories than any other conference school and advanced to the postseason on four occasions. Yet despite its recent run of success, the buzz surrounding the program has been relatively quiet heading into the 2015 campaign. Questions abound as to rather BCU’s window of success is closing or if the Cats are poised to continue their reign as one of the premier programs in the HBCU and FCS ranks.

Here are 5 mysteries that must be solved if Bethune-Cookman is to remain consistent in its winning ways.

The Man following the Man

TSims

1st year head coach Terry Sims

First year head coach Terry Sims inherits a roster full on talent but lacking in experience. Sims won’t be afforded a honeymoon period to acquaint himself or his young squad to the high expectations in Daytona Beach. Wildcat fans fully expect Sims to continue and build upon the success of former head coach Brian Jenkins.

Sims is well respected within the BCU athletic department. He is ultracompetitive, detailed-oriented, and perhaps better credentialed than was Jenkins when he first took over the reins in 2010. But there are some aspects of the head coaching position for which only the crucible of experience can prepare you. The manner in which Sims responds to tense, split-second and sometimes unpredictable moments on and off the field will go a long way in determining the success of this year’s squad.

Fantastic Four or Fantastic No-more???

Yogi Jones is arguably the best defensive coordinator in the MEAC. He will need to rely on all of his experience and know-how to ready a defense that features nine new starters including an all new front four.

Donald Smith #16

Donald Smith #16

Not only will the defensive line feature four new starters but the four new starters were not even enrolled at Bethune-Cookman this time last year. Thankfully, they all have some post-high school playing experience under their belts and they all possess great athleticism and potential. Getting this group of new faces to actualize their talents and replace the production void left by the likes of Erik Williams, LeBrandon Richardson and Rony Barrow will be quite a task even for Yogi Jones.

Inexperience at Linebacker

Donald Smith returns as the lone starter at linebacker. We expect Robert Way, our preseason pick for breakout player of the year, and Deland high school product Trenton Bridges to join Smith as the starting linebackers. All three guys will lay a good thump on you. We just want them to get in the habit of getting ball carriers on the ground and racking up tackles. We’ll worry about highlight reel hits down the road.

OC or Oh-No?

While Yogi Jones has proven his mettle as a great defensive coordinator, the jury is still out on 4th year offensive coordinator Jim Pry. BCU has never averaged more than 30 points per game or more than 400 yards of total offense under Pry’s guidance. In fact, Pry’s units rarely racked up huge numbers in his previously stints as offensive coordinator at Dartmouth, Akron and Duke. Granted, you can’t measure success by statistics alone and the offensive talent he had at his disposal while serving as OC at the aforementioned schools generally were not as good as the competition he faced. But coaching is a bottom line business. Pry will need to have the BCU offense prepared to carry more of the weight this season to give the new faces on defense time to jell and gain experience.

Step it up QB

????????In 2010, BCU entered Fall Camp unsure who would emerge as the primary signal caller. Senior Matt Johnson stepped up, made the job his own, and proceeded to have one of the best seasons any Wildcat quarterback has ever experienced. We’re hoping redshirt senior Quentin Williams can find some of that same magic in his final year.

Williams has not been bad as a starter but he has struggled with consistency at times. Q needs to step up his production this season. Whether he does or doesn’t isn’t an issue of talent but one of confidence.

Larry Brihm will challenge Williams for snaps all season and the thought of both quarterbacks taking meaningful snaps is not out of the question.

The Terry Sims era of Bethune-Cookman football begins on Saturday, September 5th when the Wildcats travel to South Florida to take on FBS powerhouse University of Miami. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3.

Memorable Florida Classic Moments

KJ Stroud ClassicThe 34th installment of the Florida Blue Florida Classic between in-state rivals Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M is upon us. The contest has grown into one of the premier HBCU showcases attracting over one and half million fans since its inception in 1978. The two teams have combined for twelve (12) conference titles during that same timeframe and have created many memorable moments in this annual showdown.

Players and coaches from both teams will look to create their own signature Florida Classic moment when the two teams square off Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the Citrus Bowl.

Here is a look back at some of the more memorable games played in Florida Classic history.

Memorable Florida Classic Moments

1978 – Florida A&M trailed BCU 17-0 at halftime in the first ever Florida Classic played in Tampa Stadium. The Rattlers scored 27 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 27-17 victory. Rudy Hubbard’s squad went on to win the first 1-AA (now FCS) National Championship later that season. A year later (1979) BCU won their first Florida Classic 25-20.

1994 – BCU QB Tony Kerrin connected with Morris Nobles on a 2 yard TD reception in the corner of the endzone to give the Wildcats a 27-24 lead with :47 remaining in the contest. BCU went on to win by the same margin and Coach Cy McClairen earned his first victory over the Rattlers as a head coach.

2003 – Daytona Beach native and current Chicago Bear, Eric Weems, scored 3 touchdowns and helped the Wildcats rally from a 28-10 halftime deficit. The final touchdown was set up by a fake punt attempt on 4th and 17 with less than 2:00 remaining in the contest. A FAMU player was flagged for pass interference on the fake punt and BCU was awarded an automatic first down.

Later in the drive quarterback Allen Suber avoided a sack, rolled to his right, and hit Weems who beat triple coverage just beyond the pylon with 9 seconds remaining in the game. BCU prevailed 39-35 in front of the largest crowd (73,358) in Florida Classic history.

2004 – Florida Classic fans were treated to the first overtime in the history of the series. The Wildcats eventually prevailed 58-52.

FAMU’s Ben Dougherty (QB) and Roosevelt Kiser (WR) had career days in that contest. Midway through the third quarter, Dougherty connected with Kiser on a 66 yard TD reception and extended FAMU’s lead to 45-24.

Head coach Alvin Wyatt then made the decision to move eventual three-time All-Pro defensive back Nick Collins from safety to cornerback with the assignment of blanketing Kiser. The move proved to be very effective for the maroon and gold. The FAMU passing game was severely limited as a result of the coaching decision and the Wildcats outscored FAMU 34-7 from that point forward. Rodney Johnson’s 15 yard touchdown run in overtime sealed the victory for BCU.

Coach Wyatt, who was overcome with emotion after the win, fainted and had to be carted off the field by medical personnel. Wyatt was eventually treated for dehydration but was no worse for the wear.

Not only was the 2004 victory the first overtime fame in Florida Classic history, it was also the first time that BCU won three consecutive victories over the FAMU.

2005 – Like the year prior, this game was also decided in overtime; only this time FAMU would emerge as the victor. The Rattlers entered the contest as underdogs and quickly fell behind to the Wildcats 17-0. But A&M slowly climbed back into the contest and forced the game into overtime on the strength of a Wesley Taylor 43-yard field goal with less than 3 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Taylor’s 26-yarder in overtime vaulted the Rattlers to a 26-23 win.

2010 – BCU entered the 2010 FC (Brian Jenkins’ first year) with an unblemished 10-0 record. However, a 3rd quarter injury to eventual MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Matt Johnson, derailed BCU’s high-octane “Speedway Offense.” FAMU capitalized on the opportunity and secured a 38-27 win in one of the biggest upsets in FC history. Phillip Sylvester scored 3 times for the Rattlers and rushed for 146 yards on 26 carries in the process.

Repost of “THE BELT”

The beltAt the conclusion of the 2012 Florida Blue Florida Classic, coach Brian Jenkins was seen hugging players, celebrating with the Marching Wildcats, and very conspicuously wearing a 2012 MEAC Champions Belt that was large enough and elaborate enough to make Hulk Hogan envy.

Some fifteen (15) or so minutes after first being spotted with his new ornate accessory, coach Jenkins met with members of the media for his normal postgame recap.  There it was again; this time prominently displayed on the conference room table almost touching the fiery coach’s left elbow.  There was no attempt at modesty.  No attempt to conceal it.  It was as if coach Jenkins was silently screaming for someone to ask about THE BELT…and so I did.

The third year coach rather foxily revealed that THE BELT was an inside thing between him and his team.  “I have been telling (our football team) about the belt.  You want to be the one to put on the belt in the end” Jenkins exclaimed.

At this past Saturday’s 2012 Championship Team Banquet inside the North Tower Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel located directly on Daytona Beach, coach Jenkins revealed to the 350 Wildcat supporters in attendance the inside story behind THE BELT.

The story goes as follows:

Shortly after being named as the fifteenth (15) head football coach at Bethune-Cookman, Brian Jenkins had a chance encounter with a Florida A&M football fan.  The FAMU fan approached the newly appointed coach and said let me show you something.  He reached into his back pocket and unfolded a piece of paper.  Listed on the paper were the results of all of the Florida Classics including the previous two (2); both of which FAMU won. 

The FAMU fan was undoubtedly sending a clear message to the precocious new coach of what he should expect when facing the mighty Rattlers.

As fate would have it, coach Jenkins bumped into the same Rattler fan nearly a year later.  The FAMU fan, feeling emboldened by his Rattlers’ upset victor over the Wildcats in the 2010 Florida Classic, even more vigorously than the year before flagged down coach Jenkins and again pulled out a folded piece of paper from his back pocket.  It was an up-to-date history of the Florida Classic results.  The FAMU fan proudly and boastfully pointed to his team’s upset win in 2010.  It was shortly after that encounter that the idea of THE BELT was conceived in Brian Jenkins’ mind.  Jenkins decided if his team could win the MEAC crown and win the Florida Classic, he would supply every graduating senior with his very own Championship Belt.

Senior Class awarded Championship Belts

Senior Class awarded Championship Belts

What better way to memorialize the hardwork, sacrifice, and dedication that’s required to become MEAC and Florida Classic champs than to provide the senior class with Championship Belts.  And besides, a Heavyweight caliber Championship Belt trumps a folded piece of paper any day.

Coach Jenkins’ statement to the media after the 2012 Florida Blue Florida Classic now makes so much more sense: “…in the end, you want to be the one to put on the belt.”

THE BELT is brilliant in everything that it represents.  It is the proverbial gauntlet slap in the face, a one-upper, a ‘step ya game up’ if you will.  It is a unique memento, it epitomizes excellence, symbolizes hardwork and sacrifice, and it is meant to draw a line in the sand.  If you want THE BELT, come and take it.  If you want to keep THE BELT, then be prepared to defend it.  So keep your folded piece of paper and I will raise you a Championship Belt.

Interestingly, coach Jenkins stated that the last time he spotted the FAMU fan who flagged him down and showed off his folded piece of paper was shortly after the 2010 season.  Coincidence? Maybe but not likely!

A source within the BCU Athletic department could not confirm whether THE BELT is a one year phenomenon or a new tradition for each senior class who wins both a MEAC and Florida Classic championship in the same season.  Personally, I hope this becomes a new tradition.  A new goal of sorts for each class of seniors.  I think coach Jenkins said it best: “in the end, you want to be the one to put on the belt”.

Congratulations to all the guys who earned the right to wear THE BELT!!!

(Baseball) Wildcats sweep FAMU

 

Let's Go Wildcats

Scott Gardner

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (6-6, 3-0 MEAC) completed their first series sweep of the 2013 season, taking down in-state rivals Florida A&M Rattlers  (0-11, 0-3 MEAC) in a three game set at Jackie Robinson ballpark.

The Wildcats used a pair of bottom of the 8th inning comebacks in games one (8-6 final) and  three (3-2 final); and a complete game shutout by junior right-hander Scott Gardner in game two (7-0) to secure the weekend sweep. 

Gardner pitched all 7 innings in the second game of Saturday’s double-header and registered 3 strikeouts, 1 base on balls, 4 hits, and no runs.  Other standouts this weekend included closer Jordan Dailey who saw action in games one and three recording a win and save respectively; and third baseman Matt Noble who had a hit in each of the 3 contests batting .455 (5 for 11) with 5 RBIs in the process.

BCU’s record now stands at 6-6 on the year with wins over perennial power Arizona State and last year NCAA Regionals participant UCF.

The Cats conclude their seven (7) game homestand with a couple of midweek matchups against Central Michigan on Tuesday and Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m.

THE BELT

The beltAt the conclusion of this past season’s Florida Blue Florida Classic, coach Brian Jenkins was seen hugging players, celebrating with the Marching Wildcats, and very conspicuously wearing a 2012 MEAC Champions Belt that was large enough and elaborate enough to make Hulk Hogan envy.

Some fifteen (15) or so minutes after first being spotted with his new ornate accessory, coach Jenkins met with members of the media for his normal postgame recap.  There it was again; this time prominently displayed on the conference room table almost touching the fiery coach’s left elbow.  There was no attempt at modesty.  No attempt to conceal it.  It was as if coach Jenkins was silently screaming for someone to ask about THE BELT…and so I did.

The third year coach rather foxily revealed that THE BELT was an inside thing between him and his team.  “I have been telling (our football team) about the belt.  You want to be the one to put on the belt in the end” Jenkins exclaimed.

At this past Saturday’s 2012 Championship Team Banquet inside the North Tower Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel located directly on Daytona Beach, coach Jenkins revealed to the 350 Wildcat supporters in attendance the inside story behind THE BELT.

The story goes as follows: 

Shortly after being named as the fifteenth (15) head football coach at Bethune-Cookman, Brian Jenkins had a chance encounter with a Florida A&M football fan.  The FAMU fan approached the newly appointed coach and said let me show you something.  He reached into his back pocket and unfolded a piece of paper.  Listed on the paper were the results of all of the Florida Classics including the previous two (2); both of which FAMU won. 

The FAMU fan was undoubtedly sending a clear message to the precocious new coach of what he should expect when facing the mighty Rattlers.

As fate would have it, coach Jenkins bumped into the same Rattler fan nearly a year later.  The FAMU fan, feeling emboldened by his Rattlers’ upset victor over the Wildcats in the 2010 Florida Classic, even more vigorously than the year before flagged down coach Jenkins and again pulled out a folded piece of paper from his back pocket.  It was an up-to-date history of the Florida Classic results.  The FAMU fan proudly and boastfully pointed to his team’s upset win in 2010.  It was shortly after that encounter that the idea of THE BELT was conceived in Brian Jenkins’ mind.  Jenkins decided if his team could win the MEAC crown and win the Florida Classic, he would supply every graduating senior with his very own Championship Belt.

Senior Class awarded Championship Belts

Senior Class awarded Championship Belts

What better way to memorialize the hardwork, sacrifice, and dedication that’s required to become MEAC and Florida Classic champs than to provide the senior class with Championship Belts.  And besides, a Heavyweight caliber Championship Belt trumps a folded piece of paper any day.

Coach Jenkins’ statement to the media after the 2012 Florida Blue Florida Classic now makes so much more sense: “…in the end, you want to be the one to put on the belt.” 

THE BELT is brilliant in everything that it represents.  It is the proverbial gauntlet slap in the face, a one-upper, a ‘step ya game up’ if you will.  It is a unique memento, it epitomizes excellence, symbolizes hardwork and manhood, and it is meant to draw a line in the sand.  If you want THE BELT, come and take it.  If you want to keep THE BELT, then be prepared to defend it.  So keep your folded piece of paper and I will raise you a Championship Belt.

Interestingly, coach Jenkins stated that the last time he spotted the FAMU fan who flagged him down and showed off his folded piece of paper was shortly after the 2010 season.  Coincidence? Maybe but not likely!

A source within the BCU Athletic department could not confirm whether THE BELT is a one year phenomenon or a new tradition for each senior class who wins both a MEAC and Florida Classic championship in the same season.  Personally, I hope this becomes a new tradition.  A new goal of sorts for each class of seniors.  I think coach Jenkins said it best: “in the end, you want to be the one to put on the belt”. 

Congratulations to all the guys who earned the right to wear THE BELT!!!