One of the longest running basketball tournaments in the country will turn 75 this year and the CIAA is pulling out all the stops to celebrate.
The tournament will be in Charlotte next month and the conference has unveiled a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-014usFOQw&feature=youtu.be detailing the tournament’s long and storied history.
Among those interviewed for the project is Cleo Hill Jr., the head coach of WSSU and a former player at N.C. Central. Back when Hill played for N.C. Central the school was part of the CIAA.
Hill’s father, Cleo Hill Sr., was also WSSU’s first big-time player in the 1950’s and ‘60’s.
Here is the release on the video from the conference.
CIAA Unveils Commemorative Video Highlighting 75 Years of its Historic Basketball Tournament
CHARLOTTE, NC (January 9, 2020)—An All-Star roster of influential voices representing the past, present and future of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, (CIAA®), the nation’s first African American athletic conference, can be seen and heard on a commemorative video released by the CIAA today as a precursor to the conference’s 75th Anniversary basketball tournament taking place February 25-29, 2020 in Charlotte, NC.
From Hall of Famers and current student athletes to the conference Commissioner and CIAA’s broadcast voice who are among the featured interviewees, the video provides perspective on the important role the CIAA has played through the decades and how it transitioned from an event pulled together on a shoestring to its current iteration - drawing 150,000 fans, students and alumni each year to a five day long celebration of black culture and community.
“Our 75th Championship Tournament season is a momentous time for us all,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “Major anniversaries like this one allow us to reflect on accomplishments and the impact we’ve made by opening doors and creating oppor-tunity for our community. In Charlotte, as we enter our 15th consecutive year in the city, the tournament has accounted for more than $500 million in economic impact to the re-gion, provided millions of dollars in sponsorships to support scholarships to our member institutions, enhance the student-athlete experience and impact community, fan and alumni through strategic civic engagement in and outside the competition venue. That is truly remarkable. This video tells our story and shares our legacy of leadership, com-munity and tradition.”
The 75th anniversary video includes reflections on the milestone from past and present CIAA athletes, notable alumni, coaches and executives including:
• Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams – The first African American female com-missioner of the NCAA, and first femae commissioner of the CIAA; in her 8th year as Commissioner; played on 1988 NCAA Championship Hampton University women’s basketball team; Coached at VUU; Inducted into the Hampton Hall of Fame 2018.
• Coach AnnMarie Gilbert, Virginia Union University, Head WBB Coach, Asst. AD/SWA -A three time CIAA Coach of the Year (2016-2018) now in her 5th season; 3 CIAA Tournament Champs, 2016, 2018, 2019; Coached the last four CIAA Players of the Year; 4 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 2016 Elite Eight and 2017 Championship game; Graduate of Oberlin: two time Kodak First-Team All-American, two-time NCAC Player of Year and Honda D3 Athlete of the Year
• Peggy Davis, Associate Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Virginia State University - In her 16th Season at VSU; CIAA Coach of the Year, 2002; led team to CIAA Tournament title and advanced to second round of NCAA DII Re-gional; Interim CIAA Commissioner, 12/2012-9/2013.
• Robert Vaughan, Sr., Elizabeth City State University– The 91-year old former coach and AD at Elizabeth City State; Started the basketball program at ECSU in 1949 at age of 20; Coached for 33 years at ECSU, reaching national playoffs seven times, winning more than 500 games; 1969 team won its first, of two, CIAA championship and went on to advance to the semi-finals of the NAIA title; Named CIAA Coach of the Year in 1969; Inducted into the NC Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
• Coach Stephen Joyner, Sr., Johnson C. Smith University – In his eighth sea-son as Director of Athletics; and 31st season as Coach of the men’s basketball team; 3 CIAA Tournaments (2001, 2008, 2009); Winston-Salem native; attended JCSU from 1969-73, point guard for the Golden Bulls; son, Stephen Joyner, Jr., is the Head Coach of the JCSU Women’s Basketball Team
• Coach Cleo Hill, Jr., Winston-Salem State University – In his second season as coach of men’s basketball team; previously coached at Shaw University from 2008-15, including a 2011 CIAA Championship and NCAA Regional appear-ance; Played at North Carolina Central from 1991-94 and still among the school’s all-time leading scorers; father, Cleo Hill played at WSSU and was drafted 8th overall by the St. Louis Hawks in 1961, as only the fifth African American from an HBCU to be taken in the first round of an NBA draft.
• Stan Lewter, Media - the broadcast voice of CIAA for over 25 years.
• Shareka McNeil, Virginia Union, junior - CIAA ‘s reigning basketball Player of the Year and the Rookie of the Year the previous season; All-CIAA, All-Tournament, Tournament MVP & All-American in 2018-19; led the conference in scoring last season, top 5 in the country (24.7 ppg); broke CIAA Tournament scoring record for most points in a tournament and tied the record for most points in a game last year; posted 4.0 GPA as a freshman majoring in Criminal Justice; Charlotte native, attended Harding HS.
• Shameka McNeil, Virginia Union, junior – teammate and twin sister to Shareka McNeil; Charlotte native; attended Harding HS where she scored 1,000 points.
• Roger Ray, Livingstone College, senior - CIAA’s top returning scorer at over 20 ppg and also top in assists; 2x All-CIAA, All-American last season; all-time leader in career points and assists at Livingstone.
The video is available to media, sponsors, fans, and friends via the CIAA’s social media platforms. It will be played in arena every day during the tournament and is one of many special activations creating buzz for the historic 75th Anniversary Tournament. Last fall the conference announced a first-of-its-kind official CIAA Championship Spades Tour-nament, including a $2,000 purse, tied to the basketball competition, and introduced a new line of diamond anniversary gear available now. Special ticket and housing pack-ages will mark the occasion and can be purchased at ciaatournament.org.
The conference championship event will be held from February 25 -26th, 2020 at Bojangles’ Coliseum and from February 27 – 29th at the Spectrum Center. This year marks the Tournament’s 15th and final year in Charlotte, NC. Ticket booklets can be purchased through all CIAA member institutions and Ticketmaster. Fan housing and hotel packages are also currently available at ciaatournament.org
Founded in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the first, and longest running, African American athletic conference in the U.S. and one of the most recognized conferences in Division II. The CIAA conducts 14 championships attended by more than 150,000 fans from around the country. In 2020, the conference celebrates the special 75th anniversary of its Championship Basketball Tournament - an event that has become a must-see in the African -American community. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the CIAA is governed by the Presidents and Chancellors of its 12 member-institutions: Bowie State University, Claflin University, Elizabeth City State Uni-versity, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine's University, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University. Chowan University is an associate member in football and women’s bowling. For more information on the CIAA, visit theciaa.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.