HBCU football fans rejoice! There is some football talk to be had this summer!
During the football dry months before the helmets and shoulder pads are strapped on this fall, ADD'S HBCU SPORTS REPORT will periodically fill the void with Five Questions, where we pose five questions to HBCU football coaches around the country about their summer, their focus and the fall.
First on the field will be Rich Freeman, head coach of the Morehouse Maroon Tigers of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Freeman led the Maroon Tigers to the school's first-ever NCAA Division II playoff berth a couple of years ago, but his squad has fallen on hard times with lackluster seasons since then. The 2014 campaign looks to be a big one for him and for his Maroon Tigers program. Here is Five Questions...with Morehouse head football coach Rich Freeman.
1) What is summer like for the football coach at Morehouse College?
"Summer is pretty intense for me. We’re dealing with a number of issues, one being athletics eligibility. We do have a couple of guys who have to do some work in the summertime – and our blessings are upon them. Hopefully they’ll get everything taken care of so they can be eligible. There is also dealing with incoming student-athletes because turnover is, obviously, very high on the Division II level. You almost have a new team every year. So just retaining the students that you have, getting the students who are coming in to be secured, and getting the guys who are already on campus physically fit to play for the next season. Those issues are things that consume the summer for a football coach."
2) What do alumni say to you these days?
"Not very much. We’ve had a two-year slide. I think the intrigue, if you will, has kind of depreciated with the lack of success over the past couple of years. But those loyal alums who have been there from day one, those guys are still with us and making sure they do every thing they can to help get us back to that elite status that we had once achieved."
3) How long is the off season from the last game until the start of the new season in the fall for you?
"It’s very long because things can happen in a matter of hours. Last year, we had a quarterback who was transferring in from a major college. Within 48 hours after we found out about him, he made a commitment to come here. And then right before the season, we found out that he wouldn’t be a student at Morehouse College. So things happen and things happen on a daily basis, which makes it very long."
4) Have you talked to any of your players this summer and what are they doing this summer?
"We send weekly correspondence out to our players. The first correspondence was congratulating them on a successful academic year and we did that with pretty much everyone. And the second part of that correspondence was also to make them aware of the fact that they need to do everything they can to be physically able to compete at a high level next year. We send correspondence out via snail mail and also via text message, so they get correspondence every week."
5) What are you most looking forward to at this moment?
"I’m looking forward to making it to the first game. Last season, we had a number of factors contributing to us not having success. We experienced a great deal of pain. We finished below a standard that we set as coaches – a below standard season. One of the ways to ease pain in our profession is winning and having success and being able to see players walk around campus with a sense of pride that we developed in the years past. I want to see them get that again. I want to see the alums get that again. I want to see the people who work on campus get that again. Coming into this season, I think we have a veteran enough team to be able to do so, with the addition – I pray – of eight to ten standout players. So that’s my dream – to get there and have all those things that I just mentioned realized for the first game."
To see the 2014 Morehouse College football schedule, go to http://athletics.morehouse.edu/news/2014/5/9/FB_0509144351.aspx.