Category Archives: Features

Bruce Lee McMillin: A Pirate for Life

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Donald Ralls | Staff Writer

The Hampton University men’s basketball team is nearing the end of their season and are trying to capture yet another MEAC title. Hampton Nation has been cheering each game and making their presence known but, on February 5, the crowd got a little quieter when the team lost one of their biggest fans, an unspoken hero who passed away due to a form of cancer known as leukemia.

Bruce Lee McMillin was introduced to the Hampton University Basketball team three years ago. Center Jervon Pressley, a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina, says, “I met him when I first got to HU at a football game. I was walking and saw him [and then] music came on so I got him hype and we danced and we just clicked from there”.

McMillin’s caretaker, Brian Hannigan worked with him for four years and eventually the two connected and became inseparable. Hannigan has connection to the university but he would bring McMillin to Hampton basketball and football games, which allowed him to be around the players and become close with them. Pressley and McMillin formed a close bond through these interactions but there was one more player that would come into this brotherhood.

Quinton Chievous, a senior forward from Chicago, was next to come into McMillin’s life. “I met him my junior year when I got to Hampton,” said Chievous. “Jervon Pressley gets the credit because he introduced us and we would eventually go out to eat with him and hang around at the football games.”

McMillin add a much-needed spark to the team and was the missing key that motivated the players. He brought pure joy every single practice and game he attended, and even though Pressley and Chievous were the closest to him on the team and McMillin would repeatedly tell others how much he loved and cared about them.

Hampton University point guard Pierre Hayden also expressed his feelings on McMillin. “He was life for us, he helped us grow because of the spirit that was within him, we grew to love him as our brother,” Hayden shared. “It is always sad to see your brother go but we know he is in a better place where he isn’t suffering anymore.”

McMillin was a big inspiration for the team. He had his own whistle in practice that head coach Edward Joyner gave him and he would blow it to push the players to go harder and get them better prepared for their games.

When the team found out about McMillin’s cancer, they cherished every moment with him even more because they did not know where things were going to go. They would go on hospital visits and house visits to show their support to McMillin and he would return the favor from time to time. McMillin’s disease did not stop him from showing up to practice or a game from time to time.

“He kept me focused when he saw me messing around. He played a major role in our drive and success this year because of the strength he showed,” Chievous stated. “Even when he was enduring all this pain from losing his mother and then being diagnosed with cancer, he never showed fear and or sadness when we were around because he always just so happy to see us.”

McMillin’s passing will serve as fuel for the Hampton Men’s Basketball team as they hope to excel on and off the court in the coming months. Players will dawn the back of their sneakers with tributes to their friend and they will continue to play every game with him in mind.

When people like McMillin come into your life, it is hard to view life the same when they leave. He showed you that the things going on in your life should not determine your happiness or your joy.

McMillin’s example should serve as an inspiration to all of us; he is the definition of love because when he said he loved you he meant it. You could see it in his eyes and it wasn’t because of your stats or because you had a good game; it was the simple fact that he truly did love you.

McMillin’s favorite saying was “Pirate for Life” and that is exactly what McMillin will always be to the members of the men’s basketball team.

Advertisements

Years later, HU’s Dixon still a cautionary tale

(espn)

(espn)

Jelani Scott | Sports Editor

On February 6, 2003, Marcus Dixon, an 18-year-old football player from Rome, Georgia, accepted a scholarship to play for Vanderbilt University.

A month later, he had his scholarship rescinded and found himself sitting in a jail cell, presumably guilty for a crime that he was not yet convicted of. It has been 13 years since the incident that resulted in Dixon serving 15 months in prison took place on February 10, 2003.

Dixon was accused of raping Kristie Brown, a 15-year-old white classmate and, two days later, was called into the principal’s office at his school in Floyd County to be arrested.

He was charged with six counts, including statutory rape and aggravated child molestation.

“At the end, the only thing she told me was like, ‘My dad cannot find out about us having sex.’ Because in my town, black people having sex with white girls is not something you do,” said Dixon at the time.

Before Dixon was able to achieve his athletic goals, he had to deal with a high-profile sexual assault case that nearly ruined his career and his life.

He maintained his innocence, but a record stained by past sexual incidents at school which included exposing himself as a prank and inappropriately touching a girl, gave Floyd County detective Gary Conway all the evidence he thought he needed.

“That’s all reason to believe he’s a pedophile,” said Conway to ABC’s “Nightline.” “And if he got away with this, he would do another one.”

The trial made the lives of Dixon’s white guardians, Ken and Peri Jones, and their son, Casey, a nightmare.

The Joneses had to deal with their share of racism since taking in a young Dixon. Mrs. Jones felt that the case was about judging color, not justice.

“[Racism] just underlies the whole thing,” she said. “If that had been Casey instead of Marcus, they would have said, ‘OK, this is a good kid — they wouldn’t have done that.’ But they didn’t do that with Marcus.”

A jury of nine whites and three blacks acquitted him of four charges that suggested force but, due to the victim’s age, found him guilty in May 2003 of the other charges, which were a misdemeanor and a felony.

The decision resulted in a 10-year sentence, which shocked everyone including the jurors and corporate attorney David Balser, who read about the case and believed Dixon was wronged. He took the case pro-bono.

Congressman John Lewis and the NAACP voiced their support for Dixon. The President of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman called it a “legal lynching”.

Oprah Winfrey and HBO Real Sports’ Bryant Gumbel both featured his story on their shows.

On May 3, 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Dixon was wrongly sentenced and he was released.

The Georgia legislature subsequently changed the law that was used to convict Dixon of child molestation and it is now no longer a felony when teens have consensual sex.

Soon after, Hampton University offered Dixon a shot at redemption.

The defensive end started his freshman season and was a three-time team captain and a member of an athletic leadership committee.

He was named second team All-MEAC in 2006 and was named to the first team in 2007 after earning six sacks and a team-high 16 tackles for losses. His focus on the field transferred to the classroom and, in 2008, he was named the Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Sports Scholar of the Year.

Upon graduating, Dixon played for the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs and in the Canadian Football League. He retired in April 2015 at age 31.

In 2013, on Oprah’s “Where Are They Now,” Dixon said that, although he has to deal with the case for the rest of his life, he forgave Brown because his grandmother told him that if you hold a grudge, “all you are doing is holding your life back.”

Atlantic Records recording artist PnB Rock visits Scripps Howard (Photos)

Philadelphia native and Atlantic Records recording artist PnB Rock came to Hampton University on Tuesday to talk about how he is growing in the music industry.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Checkout this video of his song, “Alone.”

Track student-athlete makes and breaks history

(hampton university)

(hampton university)

Donald Ralls | Staff Writer

Chesapeake, Virginia’s own Trey Holloway broke his own school record in the men’s 60-meter hurdles during the CNU Captain’s Invitational, held January 23-24 at Christopher Newport University.

The senior had come close to passing  the mark on multiple occasions this season, but his 7.70 in the finals of the event this year broke a school record he set last year of 7.72. Holloway’s title in the 60-meter hurdles capped off one of three for the Pirates over the tournament.

When asking Trey what his accomplishment felt like, he said, “It felt good to break my record; it just means I’m getting faster and there’s more to come.”

“I know off [of] this performance that the season is looking promising.” It is not easy doing what he does. Holloway holds the second-fastest time in the nation in that event. He said, “me and Coach Maurice Pierce work everyday critiquing one thing at a time.”

When you achieve a benchmark the way Holloway has, it may seem like there is not much you can improve on. But, for Holloway, the thought process is simple.

“[I work] on everything because nobody is perfect, I can always improve on something, whether it is arm strength or my wind,” he shared. His daily routine before starting his workouts includes running laps around the track, doing drills and stretching.

Before entering Hampton in 2012, Holloway won a number of events as a student at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia.

These events included the indoor Virginia Group AAA State Championship in the 55-meter hurdles, which he completed with a time of 7.21, and the Virginia Group AAA Outdoor State Championship in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.85. Holloway is a student-athlete who is also making an impact on his family.

Track is more than a sport to Holloway; it is a way to provide for his family after school. “I do it for my family. I have a little brother looking up to me,” he shared.

His brother, Grant, currently attends Trey’s alma mater and is trying to follow in his big brother’s footsteps.

Grant is a nationally ranked commit to the University of Florida. He decided to not attend the University of Georgia to play football and is instead going after his track dreams at the University of Florida. Holloway has reached great heights in his time at Hampton and this season has been another good one for him.

January 29 and 30, Holloway won first place in the 60-meter hurdles at the John Thomas Terrier Inivtational in Boston. He was the only runner to break the 8-second mark and finished with a time of 7.97.

In the outdoor season, he was named first team All-MEAC in the 110-meter hurdles and was an NCAA qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles. He also set a new school record in the same event, further showcasing his dominance on the track.

Holloway is the true definition of a hard worker and, even with all the goals he has accomplished so far this year, his Hampton career is not yet over.

As he competes in the remaining events of the year, Holloway has the chance to strengthen the already formidable legacy he will leave behind in track and field.

HU Alum LTG. Ferrell: “HBCU’s fill a critical role”

IMG_4074

Courtesy of Jason S Sandler

Arriana McLymore | Editor-in-Chief

Lieutenant General Robert S. Ferrell, a proud native of Anniston, Alabama, was commissioned into the U.S. Army in 1983, shortly after completing his undergraduate education here at Hampton University.  Though LTG Ferrell has been all around the world and interacted with many different people, he has never lost the values and knowledge that were carefully instilled in him at what will forever be his Home by the Sea. 

Q: Why did you join the Army?

A:  I’m very fortunate to come from a family with a long tradition of military and public service. My father is a former Army Signal Corps Soldier – and served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. From the 8th grade I had a desire to follow my Dad’s footsteps and go into the Army. I also have an Uncle who served as an Infantryman in WWII and another who served in Korea. In addition, I have six brothers and sisters – two served in the Air Force, three in the Army and one served more than 30 years in the U.S. postal service. My oldest son has worked for a defense firm in the past and my youngest son is a third generation Signal Soldier and an NCO in the Army today. I even have nieces and nephews who currently serve in every branch of the Armed Forces. I guess you can say the military is like the ‘Ferrell’s family business!’ I’m deeply proud to have worn the Army uniform and have enjoyed every day as a Soldier.

Q: What have been some of your biggest struggles as an African-American in the military?

A: Of course – there are always struggles. What I prefer to focus on are the opportunities the Army has offered me during my 36 years of service. I’ve had the chance to serve alongside dedicated, committed, intelligent men and women with tremendous integrity and character. The key in the Army to taking advantage of opportunities – and to overcoming struggles – is mentorship. I’m lucky that I’ve been mentored by outstanding senior leaders and peers, and in turn, have had the chance to mentor others. As a Soldier, I’ve had the opportunity to serve in places like Germany, Bosnia, Iraq and all across the U.S. I’ve been honored to lead Soldiers at just about every level – from a platoon to a global command of more than 13,000 Soldiers, Army Civilians and contract personnel. At every turn, the Army trained me, developed me and challenged me. What’s most important is the Army offers these same kinds of opportunities for thousands of young men and women from every part of our diverse nation.

Q: Do you think your HBCU education has helped you?  

A: Absolutely! I am an enthusiastic supporter of historically black colleges and universities. For me, a great HBCU like Hampton was the perfect college choice.  Hampton not only gave me a first-rate education inside the classroom, it also gave me life lessons derived from being a part of the Hampton community and an ROTC Cadet. I know there have been many changes in education since I went to school, however I continue to believe that HBCU’s fill a critical role in providing opportunities for young people.  We are an increasingly diverse nation and HBCU’s do a great job of reaching out to parts of our society that have been traditionally underserved at the college level.

Q: What has been your favorite thing about serving in the military?  

A: I have always been given great opportunities in the Army. I was particularly proud to have the chance to serve as the Chief Information Officer and Director of C4 Systems for U.S. Africa Command. I traveled all across the African continent and visited dozens of nations – representing the U.S. and building relationships with our partners around the African region. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance the capacity and capability of nations we work closely with – and to improve relationships between nations and military forces on the continent. I was privileged to meet and to serve alongside so many great people there.

Along with rewarding tours of duty like U.S. Africa Command, my favorite thing about the Army has been the Soldiers and Army Civilians I served alongside. What a great group of people – committed to something larger than themselves, motivated by public service and focused on getting a job done, no matter how difficult. Everyday I’ve been in uniform, someone around me has inspired me or motivated me by their positive attitude and commitment.

Q: Are there any changes you would like to see in the military?  

A: One of our major goals across the armed forces is to encourage young people with an interest and aptitude in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) to consider serving with us  – either in uniform, or as government civilians, or in the defense industry. So, one change I would definitely like to see is more young people with STEM backgrounds in our force. We have a critical need for Soldiers, Army Civilians and Defense industry professionals with STEM skills who can help us keep our technological edge. This is especially true in my current area – information technology and communications.  However, STEM supports almost every part of our Army – from designing and engineering combat vehicles and aircraft, to developing unmanned, robotic systems and advanced medical technology. Wherever you look our military needs young people with STEM training. So – I would love for Hamptonians and others from great schools to look to our military for STEM career opportunities.

Q: Who is someone that inspired you while in the Army?  

A: Well, for me, inspiration started right at home with Mom and Dad. As I said earlier, my Dad was a career Soldier and a great example. He not only encouraged my dream of becoming a Soldier – he has been there for me every day of my career. It’s much the same with my Mom too. Growing up my Mom was always my “rock”. She is the one who really grounded me and instilled me the values of hard work and always doing what’s right. She set the example of selfless service by always giving and doing for others, even at her own personal sacrifice. She never looks for credit or limelight; she just gives from the heart.

As far as others who inspired me – there are just too many to name! Coming from Hampton – you’ve got to be inspired by the legacy of our founder, General Samuel Chapman Armstrong. He fought at Gettysburg and exemplifies our nation’s ‘Citizen-Soldier’ tradition of service. I was also inspired by great leaders like LTC Claude Vann – another Hampton legend and alumni.  Every day of my career leaders like BG (Retired) Clara Adams-Ender, the late LTG (Retired) Robert Gray and the late LTG (Retired) Ed Honor – and great officers like General Johnnie Wilson and General Dennis Via, who today leads the U.S. Army Materiel Command – all inspired me by their example. These leaders either cleared a path that I was able to follow, or gave me an opportunity to work hard and succeed. One of my greatest inspirations is my wife, Monique Doute Ferrell. Monique is a senior Army Civilian leader and serves today as the Director of the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention Program. She’s not only a tremendous public servant, she’s also a Hampton alumni. We met here as students and she’s been my most important inspiration ever since then!

UnSCRIPTED Man of the week: Miles Jenkins

(Courtesy of Miles Jenkins)

(Courtesy of Miles Jenkins)

Malik Jones | Associate Editor

Miles Jenkins, a junior business management major from Baltimore, continues to be a shining example of the ideal Hampton man. Many know Jenkins by his bright smile on campus, but few have had the pleasure of knowing the man behind the smile. His fierce commitment to his family, friends and Hampton community never falters, even in the midst of the many clubs and organizations he is a part of.

Some of these organizations include the Student Recruitment Team, the Freddye T. Davy Honors College and the intramural men’s basketball league.

Jenkins has matured greatly during his tenure at Hampton, going from the shy, reserved guy in the background to an outspoken leader.

He currently serves as the sole Executive Chair of the Freddye T. Davy Honors College, making him responsible for overseeing the other sub-committees within the program, ranging from the Recruitment and Orientation Committee, of which he formerly served as head, to the ‘Word of Honor’ newsletter.

However, while the position is a prestigious one, it is not a walk in the park.

“I’d say the most challenging part is probably finding ways to engage everyone and getting our name out among the student body,” said Jenkins.

Aside from his work on Hampton’s campus, Miles has also taken his talents abroad, joining students across the country in the White House All-Star’s HBCU Initiative. “Dr. Duncan told me I should apply, so I filled out the online application,” Miles revealed, “The interesting part was that it asked me what initiatives I’d like to implement here at Hampton using any White House initiative already in place. I chose the ‘My Brothers Keeper’ initiative that deals with mentorship for African-American males, which I feel is very important, especially in today’s society.”

Miles is in the process of working with White House liaisons to figure out how to make his vision a reality for students here on Hampton’s campus.

Apart from his academic and extracurricular activities, Miles enjoys many other hobbies, including photography, sports, and cooking. He shared one particular tale of his experience competing in Baltimore’s 4th Annual Brothers Who Cook competition with his father back in 2014. “It was so fun because neither of us had ever done something like that before.

We were working really hard the entire day to make my Dad’s famous soup,” he laughed. “I’d tell you what’s in it, but it’s a family secret. But I can say it was a really big hit!”

Though Miles is only a junior at Hampton, he still has a few words of wisdom for students who may be considering Hampton, or those who are here and are not sure how to make the most of their time. “Opportunities are everywhere,” he said.

“Hampton connects us with so many different programs and it can definitely be tough with everything you might have to manage, but if you prioritize, you’ll be fine.”

HU Athletics mourns loss of Coach Steven Lewis

(hamptonpirates.com)

(hamptonpirates.com)

Jelani Scott | Sports Editor

Former Hampton men’s track & field coach Steven Lewis represented a recent portion of the program’s success and, during his time at Hampton, he established a culture of winning, mentorship and studenthood.

On January 23, the legendary coach passed away at the age of 72, leaving behind a legacy that extends across the track & field world.

In an article on the Hampton Pirates’ website, Maurice Pierce, the Director of Track & Field for the university, spoke fondly of the Newport News Track Hall of Fame inductee. “He was a great man who touched a lot of souls,” Pierce said. “I learned a lot from him and he will be truly missed.”

Lonza Hardy, who served as Director of Athletics at Hampton when Lewis was hired, also stated her thoughts on Lewis’ status in the sport.

“When Coach Lewis’ name was brought up while we were in search of a new men’s track & field coach, it quickly became apparent what a legend he was in the sport,” she said.  “We were happy to recruit him, and even happier when he decided to accept the Hampton job.”

When he began his tenure prior to the 2008-09 campaign, he brought dozens of accolades and 40-plus years of of experience to the department. Lewis led 13 individual MEAC champions and 63 student-athletes who earned All-MEAC honors.

One of Lewis’ star pupils was 2012 Hampton graduate Reggie Dixon. He was 3-time All-American while at Hampton and went onto compete at the 2013 USA Indoor Track & Field Championship. Dixon placed second in the event and ran a 6.54, which stood as the fourth fastest time ran in the United States and eighth in the world at that time.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Lewis graduated from Virginia State College, now known as Norfolk State University, in 1964 with a B.S. in physical education.

Shortly after graduation, Lewis coached track, basketball, football and baseball at two Virginia high schools, Thomas Hunter and Mathews County, for a few years.

In 1970, he entered Menchville High School in Newport News, Virginia. and reinvigorated over the course of 11 years, coaching 34 All-Americans and winning 12 indoor and outdoor state championships.

In 1982, he moved to Pittsburgh and took over as head coach for both the men’s and women’s track teams at the University of Pittsburgh. For 20 years, Lewis guided 40 men and 95 women to Big East individual championship wins and coached 11 individual NCAA champions and 67 All-American runners.

From 2002-2005, Lewis served as an assistant coach with the women’s team at Eastern Michigan. While there, he coached four All-Americans, one NCAA regional champion, and helped Eastern Michigan place 16th in the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

He then spent three seasons at MEAC rival Delaware State before coming to Hampton.
“Coach Lewis was one of the top coaches at the high school level, as well as collegiate level, that I looked up to and wanted to be like,” Pierce said. “He was a legend in track & field, especially in the Tidewater area.”

Coach Steven Lewis was an impactful man that made his presence known wherever he went, a fact that Hardy made clear in her comments.

“He was a great coach and an even better person, and his loss is tremendous, not just for the student-athletes he coached, but for the world of track & field as a whole,” Hardy shared.

HU professor’s exhibit “Breaks Stereotypes”

(Brittani Bailey)

(Brittani Bailey)

Brittany Barksdale | Staff Writer

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Freezing time for just that one moment is what makes photography such a powerful art form. Dr. Michael Dibari, Jr., a professor in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, has mastered this art by creating his latest project.

His recent work of art is called “Breaking Stereotypes” featuring portraits of Hampton University students. Alongside each portrait, Dibari features quotes from the students stating what and where they aspire to be in the next five to ten years. Along with being beautiful, this masterpiece also sends a powerful message.

Dibari’s inspiration for the project comes from the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. “After Trayvon was shot in 2012, it was my second semester teaching at Hampton University, and he was the same age as a lot of my students and I felt as though he could have been one of my students. I wanted to be able to bring something positive out of such a tragedy,” said Dibari.

Dr. Dibari then came up with the concept of “Breaking Stereotypes.” He wants his observers to have a better understanding and appreciation for Black youth. The media is known to depict African-American youth in a negative light, but Dibari wants to use his photos to combat this idea. Dr. Dibari states “I want these photographs to show that African-American youth are doing great things in their lives each and every day, and it is not  a rare thing that happens like the media portrays it to be.”

While putting the art exhibit together, the most memorable moment for him was the printing of the pictures. Dibari says it was amazing seeing how the pictures looked once they were big and blown up. Another was during opening night of the exhibit when almost all of his Hampton University colleagues came to support him and his work.

Dibari has had a passion for photography from a young age. While in high school, Dr. Dibari took a photography class, and he found he really enjoyed working in the dark room where he was able to develop his own photographs. “I was an average student in high school,” Dr. Dibari admits, “And to help motivate me to do better in school, my father promised me that if I made straight A’s, he would build a dark room for me in our house.” Dr. Dibari accepted his father’s challenge, by earning straight A’s, and gaining his very own dark room.

From there on his enthusiasm grew. Dibari went to college and received his Master’s degree in Visual Communications. He then became a news photographer for 20 years. Dibari went back to continue his education and received his PhD in Journalism from the Ohio University Scripps School of Communication. Dr. Dibari’s photographs have been published in top newspapers including The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.

For the aspiring photographers, and anyone that has a passion about something, Dr. Dibari gives this advice: “Follow your dreams and follow your passion, everyone has a voice and everyone deserves to be heard. Don’t think that your voice is not strong enough or powerful enough to have a message.”

Dr. Dibari’s solo exhibition is located at The Transit Gallery is located on the 2nd floor of the HRT Southside Operations Facility, in Norfolk, Virginia and will be on display from now until April 22.

“If I could potentially save somebody’s life then I just feel better about myself.”

Hampton Alum named Cleveland Browns Executive Vice President

(wkyc)

(wkyc)

Khari Thompson | Staff Writer

Fresh off of a tumultuous, drama-filled season, the Cleveland Browns are the picture of NFL mediocrity.

The team regressed under head coach Mike Pettine from seven wins in 2014 to just three this past season, resulting in the organization parting ways with Pettine. Former first round pick Johnny Manziel was supposed to be the Browns’ long-awaited franchise quarterback and the Browns are likely to let him go as well, further establishing a new era for the team.

On January 3, the Browns’ began their rebuilding process by hiring Sashi Brown as executive Vice President of Football Operations.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam describes Brown as smart, organized, strategic and a team player. Brown is also a Hamptonian. He graduated from Hampton University in 1998 with a degree in communications.

After graduation, Brown returned to his home state of Massachusetts to attend Harvard Law School where he received his Juris Doctorate in 2002. Brown later worked for Washington D.C. law firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr, before joining the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars as general counsel, his last job before the Browns hired him.

While many dream of landing an NFL front office position, Brown admits that was not always the case for him. “I wish I could tell you there was some well-thought-out, sophisticated plan, but there really wasn’t,” Brown said.

“I was doing traditional corporate work. Venture capital and private equity. I got an opportunity to start working on some sports transactions.” And once he got his foot into the NFL door, Brown quickly gained a reputation as a savvy businessman with the ability to bridge the gap between business and football operations.

“Just having the opportunity to work with both sides of the organization is outstanding from my standpoint,” Brown expressed. “Personally, it can be challenging. But organizationally it has a tremendous amount of upside for the Browns as we move forward.”

Brown was named to the Sports Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list in 2015, confirming his status as one of the top young executives in professional sports. Surprisingly, Brown claims that he does not watch much sports outside of football but he has kept tabs on the Browns, who he says are making progress.

“I know there’s been some negative publicity, but the reality is we were a very, very competitive team in the division last year,” said Brown. “We are improving the roster. We’ve renovated the stadium. We’ve really transformed our game day experience with VP Kevin Griffin at the helm of that. We’ve taken the franchise in a lot of positive directions.”

Cleveland hopes that Brown can continue to build upon those transformations. The first step was to find a head coach and Brown accomplished this by hiring Hue Jackson on January 13.

Jackson served as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals for two seasons (2014-2015) and has been involved with four other NFL team in various positions dating back to 2001.

Next, Brown must address the Johnny Manziel situation. Jackson said he is willing to evaluate Manziel, but Brown has the final word. After that, it is up to Brown and the rest of Cleveland’s front office to chart the rest of the path for the future.

And if Brown can replicate the success he found at Hampton, Harvard, and Jacksonville, the Cleveland Browns will find themselves with a bright future under strong leadership.

HU Alum makes her mark with NBC ‘Dateline’

(t howard)

(t howard)

Mion Edwards | Staff Writer

 Yolanda McCutchen is the representation of a person who seizes opportunities when they are presented and uses them for personal growth. The South Carolina native has always been interested in journalism.

 “I’ve always loved writing and grew up in a household where we subscribed to several magazines and the local newspaper.” She especially became interested in TV news because she watched it with her dad all of the time.

 McCutchen reflected on the days she spent at her Home by the Sea. She excelled as a student and built relationships with her professors.

 While at Hampton she wrote for Hampton Viewpoint, a news show produced by students that aired on local cable in Hampton. Being a member of The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) showed her a window of what her career path could be if she worked hard and made the right connections.

“The media symposiums exposed me to professionals and career options. I was able to gain experience on campus that prepared me for internships,” McCutchen said.

 “I had great professors and I became aware of the NBC News Associates program through the career services office.”

With her persistence and guidance from her mentors she landed an internship with the shows CBS News Productions, and CBS “This Morning.”

 She said, “I’ve been very fortunate in my career and have had great mentors. My network has led me to great opportunities.”  This internship allowed her to build her network for new opportunities.

A year after graduating from Hampton in 1997 as a member of OphiO IX, she obtained a position as an associate producer at ‘Dateline’ NBC.

 While at ‘Dateline,’ McCutchen produced stories, conducted on-camera interviews, performed, researched and shot hidden camera video. Her best experience at ‘Dateline’ was when she was pitching a story about a man that was convicted of murdering a baby.

 “It was discovered that there was actually no baby. The mother faked the pregnancy and lied about the murder. I pitched the story, and was one of the producers.

 It was the season premiere for ‘Dateline’ that year. After the story aired the case received more national attention for the release of the wrongly accused man. He was later released,” expressed McCutchen. Since her days at Dateline NBC, McCutchen has gained a lot of experience and knowledge along the way.

 A former professor at Howard University, McCutchen’s advice for college students who want to get ahead in the media industry is to start early and always remain professional.

 “Having a great professional reputation is important because industry circles are small. Media jobs are highly competitive therefore gain as much experience as possible. Master key skills such as writing, shooting and editing.

All media outlets are now multimedia including newspapers.

 Professional social media skills are needed as well and understanding web analytics,” said McCutchen. Currently, McCutchen is the public relations manager for the D.C. Housing Finance Agency. Hampton University instilled in her the value of networking and maintaining your network and professional reputation.

 The legacy McCutchen wants to leave is she wants people to always remember to stay positive.

 She advised, “Keeping a positive attitude, looking for the solution rather than dwelling on the problem.  Plus working in media is motivating, I still love it although I’m working in a different aspect than I started. There’s always something interesting and new.”