Concordia College’s Ronday McClain breaks free during a Hornet win. Concordia College’s strong performance on the field earned the squad the distinction of the Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Independent Co-Program of the Year. Head coach Shepherd Skanes was also named HBCU Independent Program Division Coach of the Year. -- Robert Hudson

Hornets earn postseason honors

Published 9:02pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

By Robert Hudson

The Selma Times-Journal


The Concordia College-Selma football program is only 6 years old, but it’s already risen to national recognition.

After a 6-4 season, which saw the Hornets finish ranked No. 7 in the Dr. Cavil’s HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Black College Mid-Major Division Football Final Top 10 Rankings, Concordia was named the Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Independent Co-Program of the Year.

Hornets’ head football coach Shepherd Skanes was also named the HBCU Independent Program Division Coach of the Year.

“First of all, God be the glory,” Skanes said. “I’m glad to see it (the program) growing. I’m glad to see Concordia College-Selma getting the notoriety. We’re trying to put Concordia College on the map.”

Hornets’ senior offensive lineman Steven Welch was also honored, as he was named a First-Team All-American on the Dr. Cavil’s 2011 HBCU Black College Football All-American Team (Mid-Major Division).

Skanes said it’s a great feeling to see Welch receive a well-deserved honor.

“That’s another young man that came to us right out of high school,” Skanes said. “He’s in line to walk across the stage with a degree and he’s got accolades off the field and on the field. I’m proud to see that people are noticing our student-athletes.”

Skanes said all the credit does not belong to him, as he said the efforts of the student-athletes and coaches, support of the school administrators and the vision of Concordia president Dr. Tilahun Mendedo helped pave the way for the football program’s success.

“What helped the program get where it is … Dr. Mendedo had a vision and his vision was to be a Christian-centered HBCU that’s diverse and global,” Skanes said. “When he came in with that vision, that opened the door for us to get some quality students. We got quality students so that we could compete. Once that happened, there was the retention of our students. We had retained 95 percent of our student athletes from the previous year. So, now you’re not out there trying to re-teach.”

Skanes, who helped start the program in 2005, also gives credit to his first ever recruiting class and the affect it had on classes to follow.

Skanes said eight of the 12 seniors from that class graduated in 2010, and seeing those players graduate inspired other players to believe in the system at Concordia not only to bring success on the field, but off it as well.

Skanes also reiterated how important his assistant coaches are to the program’s success.

“I’d like to thank coach L.C. Cole (Hornets’ defensive coordinator) because they say defense wins championships and offense sells tickets,” Skanes said. “This year I had to depend on my defense a whole lot. With his defense complimenting the offense and the offense complimenting the defense, we were able to put the system together.”

Skanes said the future is bright for the football program, as it strives to eventually move from independent status to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Skanes said no matter where the future takes the football program, the success should always be shared with the community it calls home.

“This is for the community of Selma,” Skanes said. “The city of Selma has something to be proud of.”

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