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August 2, 2010
Football Analyst and Former NFL Coach to Address Players at Annual Kickoff Banquet
ESPN NFL and college football analyst and former NFL head coach Herm Edwards will serve as keynote speaker at the sixth annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney. For the fourth straight year, SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris will emcee the annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff Banquet on Friday, Sept. 3, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The banquet spotlights the schools, players and coaches participating in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. This year’s game will showcase the MEAC’s Delaware State against the SWAC’s Southern University at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 5, at noon on ESPN/ESPN HD and ESPN3.com.
Edwards, who will be featured in a live chat on ESPN.com at 2 p.m. today to discuss his role in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge festivities, said he thinks the MEAC/SWAC Challenge holds great value for Historically Black College and University schools.
“For them, it’s really a showcase,” he said. “And not just for them personally, but for college football. For these guys to be put on a stage like that and to have ESPN a part of it, this is really good. It makes those young kids growing up who can’t go to Michigan, Ohio State, USC or Alabama say, ‘Guess what? I can go here and get a good education and have an opportunity if I’m good enough to play pro football.’ ”
Another highlight of the banquet will be the presentation of the Walter Payton Achievement Award, which will be presented to one player from each school. The Walter Payton Achievement Award was first presented in 2008 by Payton’s son, Jarrett. For just the second time, fans will determine the winners via online voting until Aug. 21 at http://es.pn/ajdumm.
The inaugural award recipients were Jackson State University linebacker Marcus Smith and Hampton University wide receiver Kevin Teel. In 2009, South Carolina State defensive lineman Zachary Middleton and Grambling State wide receiver Van Phillips earned the award.
Individual tickets for the game are available through Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or via www.ticketmaster.com. Fans can also purchase travel packages through Anthony Travel’s website or by calling 1-888-632-6951. For more information about the MEAC/SWAC Challenge and for access to its Facebook page, please visit the official website: www.meacswacchallenge.com. Fans can also stay up to date on the event via Twitter: www.twitter.com/MEAC_SWAC.
About Herm Edwards
Former NFL head coach Herm Edwards joined ESPN in March 2009 as an NFL studio analyst, primarily appearing on NFL Live, SportsCenter, and ESPNEWS. Edwards, who worked a brief ESPN stint during the 2008 NFL offseason as a guest analyst, also contributes to ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage and offers analysis on ESPN Radio and other platforms throughout the year.
Edwards spent eight years as an NFL head coach for the New York Jets (2001-05) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2006-08). He led his teams to four NFL postseasons, including a 2004 playoff appearance in which his Jets squad finished with a 10-6 regular season record and advanced to the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Edwards, who also guided the Chiefs to a Wild Card berth in 2006, is one of only four NFL coaches to lead two different teams to the playoffs in his first season as head coach with the respective team.
The first graduate of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship (1987), Edwards began his coaching career as a defensive backs coach at San Jose State University (1987-89). He joined the NFL ranks as a scout with the Chiefs in 1990 and was with the club for four seasons (1992-95) as a defensive backs coach and in his final year as a member of the pro personnel department before joining Tony Dungy’s staff in Tampa Bay. He served as the Bucs’ assistant head coach and defensive backs coach from 1996-2000.
Edwards played defensive back in the NFL for 10 seasons (1977-86), mostly for the Philadelphia Eagles, with whom he recorded 38 career interceptions. He also played for the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams during his final season.
A native of Seaside, Calif., Edwards attended the University of California, Berkeley, for two years before graduating from San Diego State University with a degree in criminal justice. He was appointed a charter member of the Fritz Pollard Alliance and named a member of the Positive Coaching Alliance’s National Advisory Committee in 2003. Edwards also remains active in numerous charitable and philanthropic endeavors, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Herm Edwards Youth Foundation which he created in 1985 with the goal of making a direct impact on the lives of underprivileged children.
About Jay Harris Harris joined ESPN in February 2003 as an ESPNEWS and SportsCenter anchor. In August 2006, Harris was named anchor of the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship sports news and information program. Harris came to ESPN from WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh, Pa. where he was a news anchor/reporter.
Harris has more than 14 years experience in television and radio news, including morning news anchor at WAMO-FM and national news at American Urban Radio Networks, both in Pittsburgh and at WOWI-FM in Norfolk, Va.
A native of Norfolk, Harris graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 1987. In 2003 he was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University. In 2004, he was the keynote speaker for Old Dominion’s 100th commencement ceremony.
Among his other honors, Harris was part of SportsCenter’s Sports Emmy-winning efforts in 2004 and 2005, and a recipient of the Silver World Medal from the New York Festival Awards, Robert L. Vann Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, and an EXCEL Award from the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals.
About the MEAC/SWAC Challenge
Each year, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge is played at a neutral site within the footprint of one of the conferences. The week of the game includes ancillary events, highlighted by an annual high school career panel, the Halftime Battle of the Bands and the new Legends Reception. The MEAC leads the series 4-1. Teams for future games are determined on an annual basis.
Media Contacts: Patricia Porter, MEAC/Media Coordinator, at 757-416-7100 ext. 7116 or [email protected]; Bryan Malenius, Disney, 407-828-5075 or [email protected]; Jenny Zimmerman, ESPN, at 407-566-2213 or [email protected]