Fanfare-Colleges: NCCU great Hunter dies; UNC's Saturday retires

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 12:17 AM


NCCU trailblazer Harold Hunter dies

DURHAM — Harold Hunter, the first African-American player to sign an NBA contract and the first African-American named to the coaching staff of a U.S. Olympic basketball team, died Thursday morning at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn. He was 86.

He was born April 30, 1926, in Kansas City, Kansas and became a standout guard at North Carolina College, now N.C. Central University. He led the Eagles to the 1950 CIAA Tournament championship.

On April 26, 1950, Mr. Hunter signed an NBA contract but was cut during training camp and never played in the league.

Mr. Hunter was an assistant coach to Hank Iba on the USA Olympic gold medal basketball team in Mexico City in 1968.

Mr. Hunter sent 17 players to the NBA while head coach at Tennessee State University. He also coached the women’s and men’s basketball teams at Xavier, Dillard and Southern universities in New Orleans.

He was inducted into the NCCU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984, and received a Trailblazer Award during NCCU’s Centennial celebration in 2009.

Details regarding Mr. Hunter’s memorial service were not available Thursday night.

Ex-Tar Heel Saturday calls it a career

INDIANAPOLIS — On Thursday, all-pro center Jeff Saturday signed a ceremonial final contract with the Indianapolis Colts and officially retired as a member of the team that brought him into the league 14 years ago.

“This does not happen for many players, especially many offensive linemen,” Saturday said. “I’m excited to retire as a Colt. I mean, this is my home. This is what we’ve supported for so many years. I was known, no matter what team I was playing for, as a Colt. So it’s good to put that horseshoe on and go out that way.”

Saturday spent last season with the Green Bay Packers and played in his sixth and final Pro Bowl last month.

His journey started in Baltimore in 1998 when the Ravens signed him as an undrafted rookie but cut him before training camp opened. A year later, the Colts signed the player who had spent a year selling electrical supplies in North Carolina and he wound up making the roster. By 2000, he had won the starting center’s job, which he kept until leaving for Green Bay as a free agent last year.

With Indy, Saturday won two AFC titles and a Super Bowl ring. He and made 170 starts in front of quarterback Peyton Manning, an NFL record for a quarterback-center tandem.

Duke 4 tops list of ACC academic stars

GREENSBORO — Seniors Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly and freshmen Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon have been named to the All-ACC Academic Team.

Duke’s four selections were the most in the ACC and the most since Duke placed four members on the 1998 All-ACC Academic Team. Also named to the list was UNC freshman Marcus Paige.

Plumlee and Kelly become the 10th and 11th players at Duke to earn All-ACC Academic Team honors three times in their careers. To be eligible for consideration, a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career.

Georgia Tech and Virginia had two selections each. Boston College, Clemson, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina and Wake Forest were each represented by one player.

N.C. Central tops Norfolk State

DURHAM — Jordan Quinn allowed a run on three hits in seven innings to improve to 3-0 as N.C. Central topped Norfolk State 6-1 in MEAC baseball at historic Durham Athletic Park.

Jacob Russel relieved Quinn in the eighth.

Second baseman Dylan Drayton led the Eagle offense, going 3-for-5 with a double, 3 RBI and a pair of stolen bases.Third baseman Troy Marrow was hit by a pitch for the 10th time in 12 games.

NCCU has won four straight games heading into a Saturday/Sunday series with Bethune-Cookman (Saturday doubleheader 1/4 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.) at the DAP.

Source: Rivera to retire after season

NEW YORK — The great Mariano Rivera is getting set for the final close of his career.

The New York Yankees’ reliever plans to announce this weekend that he will retire after the 2013 season, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no official statement. A news conference has been called for Saturday in Tampa, Fla.

The 43-year-old closer is baseball’s saves leader with 608. He is regarded as one of the best clutch pitchers in history, posting a record 42 postseason saves with an 0.70 ERA while helping the Yankees win five World Series championships.

“Greatest closer of all time. No question in my mind,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ve had the thrill of catching him. I was there when he really burst onto the scene as a dominant setup man and then to see what he did as a closer has been a thrill for me.”