Morgan coach faces mentor again

State Notebook


September 21, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun reporter

It's always a bit emotional for Donald Hill-Eley before his Morgan State team goes against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference powerhouse Hampton.

"Coach [Joe] Taylor became my father away from home," said Hill-Eley, who played quarterback for Taylor at Virginia Union. "My grandmother raised me, but the coach becomes that man that you trust, that authoritative figure. When problems arose, you went to him. He was everything to me.

"And when we've got 180 young men doing a positive thing entertaining 70,000 people, it's definitely a dream come true."

That is the number expected Saturday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., for the Whitney Young Classic, which figures to be a rude introduction to the league for the Bears.

Hill-Eley, who was an assistant under Taylor at Virginia Union and Hampton, said "a tide of relationships" are always renewed at this game. "There are always the hugs and the handshakes and `how's the family?' But, once the game starts, that goes out the window. We're all trying for one thing - to win."

Taylor's son and assistant coach, Aaron, had Hill-Eley as a babysitter. Four other Hampton aides, Chris Beatty, Jerry Holmes, Charles Bankins and Greg Howell, were on staffs with Hill-Eley either at Hampton or with the Canadian Football League's Baltimore Stallions.

Three of the current Morgan assistants have been associated with Taylor and this is the eighth time Taylor and Hill-Eley have been in the Whitney Young Classic, either on the same or opposite sideline.

It's not going to be easy to best his mentor. Hampton (3-0) is ranked 11th nationally and has beaten Morgan (1-2) two straight times.

"When we watched the tape of them, it looked like they were on fast forward. They are fast, faster and fastest," Hill-Eley said.

Towson ready to go

With the exception of receiver Andrae Brown (Milford Mill), Towson coach Gordy Combs is expecting to have everyone available when the "real" season starts Saturday night in the Atlantic 10 opener at Hofstra.

"Andrae gets the cast off [a broken finger] Thursday, but we're going to wait until Maine [Oct. 7] with him," Combs said. "Otherwise, we'll have all the troops."

That means the return of 2005 leading rusher Nick Williams (Calvert Hall), who has been battling a hamstring injury, and tight end Ryan Collins, who had mononucleosis.

The 3-0 Tigers will carry a No. 21 Division I-AA ranking, their first ranking in 13 years, into the game against the Pride (1-1).

"Just to have a national anything is special," Towson linebacker Brian Bradford said. "Every time we see the rankings, the A-10 is there and we're not. It was posted up in the locker room. The team was very excited."

Paulsen takes title

Johns Hopkins freshman Laura Paulsen (Bryn Mawr) won the individual title at the NYU Invitational - which had 262 runners - by beating the field in 18:42.1, nearly 40 seconds better than the runner-up. That paced the Blue Jays women to a second consecutive second-place finish in the team standings.

At the season-opening Baltimore Metro meet, she completed the course in 18:39.9, beating a field of 100 participants.

The Hopkins men won the Baltimore Metro, with junior Patrick Brandon claiming the individual title, and placed second in the NYU meet's team standings. Brandon finished third among 294 starters.

Et cetera

Former UMBC attackman Brendan Mundorf was chosen 11th overall in the National Lacrosse League entry draft by the expansion New York Titans, who open play Jan. 6 at Chicago. Mundorf was one of the top rookies in the Major Lacrosse League this past summer, helping Denver to the championship game with 22 goals and seven assists, after leading UMBC to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in seven years. ... The Retrievers have named Rob Cross an assistant to men's lacrosse coach Don Zimmerman. ... Co-captain Ben McAbee of Hagerstown recorded the fifth-fastest hat trick in Division III soccer history when he scored three goals in 8:08 during Hopkins' 10-0 rout over Keystone. ... The top-ranked Salisbury field hockey team has allowed only three goals in 560 minutes this season. With six shutouts, the Sea Gulls have won 18 straight games entering Saturday against York College.

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