Morgan State graduate Lanier honored

Former Chiefs great will be inducted into college Hall of Fame

State notebook

April 28, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Hope of opportunity brought Richmond native Willie Lanier to Baltimore and Morgan State in the 1960s. It was the right place to look, judging from his position as a senior vice president for First Union as well as the Super Bowl ring he picked up with the Kansas City Chiefs.

"There was the quality of education and the great support; it allowed individuals leaving there to understand their place in society," said Lanier, who will be inducted in the next class for the College Football Hall of Fame in August in South Bend, Ind.

"And I only played in two losing games the whole time I was there, so it ended up being a very important academic and athletic experience."

One of the ironies of playing small-school football is that it's possible to be honored for your feats as a professional long before your college days are recognized. After earning five Pro Bowl appearances in 11 seasons, Lanier was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

Now, in the internet age, Lanier gets collegiate kudos, joining late coach Earl Banks as the second inductee from Morgan State. "I think that for so many years, individuals from small colleges and black colleges weren't able to be elected," he said, citing the fact that those players couldn't make college All-America teams.

In 1992, he saw Banks make the College Football Hall of Fame, as well as his former Chiefs roommate Jim Lynch (Notre Dame), and made another visit last year.

"It's a great joy," he says. "I was in South Bend a year ago attending with Jim Lynch. It's neat that I will have recognition there also."

Salisbury rolls on

Salisbury State, which picked up three league championships two weekends ago, earned its second straight all-sports trophy in the Capital Athletic Conference.

With titles in field hockey, men's soccer, women's basketball, baseball, men's and women's lacrosse and softball, Salisbury had 215 place points to easily outdistance Mary Washington College (Va.), the only other school to win the all-sports trophy in the CAC.

St. Mary's and Goucher, the other Maryland schools in the conference, finished fifth and seventh, respectively.

Towson out in front

Despite a .274 team batting average that is seventh in the America East Conference, the Towson baseball team (21-14-1) finds itself in first place.

Towson won four straight games at Drexel last weekend to bring its league record to 13-3, thanks to a pitching staff with an ERA of 4.42 (an America-East best) and a fielding percentage of .964.

The team hosts Maine in two noon doubleheaders tomorrow and Sunday. Pitcher Bryan Simmering leads the league with a 5-1 record and a 1.47 ERA.

Meanwhile, Morgan State's softball team hits the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla., this weekend. MSU (16-23, 12-4) is seeded second, and will play North Carolina A&T today at 12: 30 p.m.

Mount St. Mary's pitcher Brian Santo picked up his second Pitcher of the Week Award in the Northeast Conference, blanking UMBC, 6-0, last weekend. The 6-foot-8 freshman from Oberlin, Pa., is 4-5, but he has a 2.40 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 56.1 innings.

The Mount softball team also had the Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week in the NEC. Tiffany Sammataro batted .500 in two games, scoring four runs and driving in four against Sacred Heart to earn Player of the Week honors.

Meanwhile, UMBC's baseball and softball teams are both in the hunt for NEC titles. The baseball team (22-17-1, 10-6) is percentage points behind Monmouth for first place in the South division after a doubleheader sweep over Mount St. Mary's on Monday, while in softball, UMBC (24-23, 11-7) sits in third place.

UMBC may have a tough run at the end of the season, as its ace pitcher, Crystal Ray, was hit in the face by a line drive against Sacred Heart. The injury put her into the hospital and leaves her questionable for the next couple of weeks.

Goucher is third

Goucher's equestrian team put three riders into the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's national championships during a third-place effort at the IHSA Zone 4/Region 1 finals last weekend.

Katie Nix qualified with a second-place showing in the advanced walk-trot canter. Kelly Utter finished second in the intermediate flat, and Liz Connor was second in the walk-trot.

The championships are scheduled for May 12-14 in Conyers, Ga.

Miscellaneous

UMBC's men's soccer team, which was ranked nationally last fall, picked up five players. Two are Mike Joseph (Calvert Hall) and Joe Capone (Perry Hall/Essex CC). Former UMBC player Ty Engram signed with the A-league's Hershey Wildcats.

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