Johnson Does Well at HBCU Combine
Former Savannah State offensive lineman Michael Johnson represented himself and the university well at the HBCU Combine which took place April 9-10 on the campus of University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Of the 43 participants, Johnson’s 25 reps in the bench press was only beaten by South Carolina State’s Tyrell Goodwin who lift 225-pounds 34 times.
Johnson, who is a shade over 6-foot-5, weighed in at 323 pounds. While he did not participate in the 40 yard dash he did do the other events which included shuttle right (5.33), 3 cone (8.69), vertical jump (26 1/2) and broad jump (7’10).
According to one report, the Virginia native impressed scouts with his interior quickness and intelligence.
During the April 9 awards banquet, Johnson was presented the Dr Pappy Rose Leadership Award for his leadership and volunteering efforts.
Johnson volunteered over 300 hours at Georgia Rescue Rehabilitation & Relocation in Savannah, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing dogs and cats. With his team, he also helped serve meals to the homeless and conducted litter cleanups during several of their community service activities.
Other HBCUs represented at the combine were Southern, Jackson State, Virginia State, North Carolina A&T, Benedict, Norfolk State, Morgan State, Hampton, Shaw, South Carolina State, Grambling State, Prairie View A&M, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Bethune-Cookman, St. Augustine’s, Livingstone,
North Carolina Central, Fayetteville State, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Florida A&M.
Former Savannah State defensive lineman Dwayne Carswell who finished his career at Delaware State was also invited to the combine but did not participate.
Golden Left His Mark At Savannah State
Elias Golden, who spent over two decades as the superintendent of grounds maintenance at Savannah State, died unexpectedly on April 12. He was 70.
Ervin Ogden, who was Golden’s co-worker and later his boss when he was promoted to the director of the physical plant at SSU, remembers him as being dedicated, professional, dependable and loyal to the physical plant department as well as Savannah State. “He was a excellent employee. He was concerned about making sure his work was done correctly,” states Ogden. “Golden was a loyal friend who you could trust,” he went on to add.
Golden was born in Tallahassee, Florida but grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. After high school, he returned to Tallahassee to attend Florida A&M where he earned a degree in horticulture in 1973.
After working in Leon County, Golden relocated to Savannah and found work at Savannah State in the early 1980s.
Although his main duty was taking care of the campus landscape, Golden also maintained the athletic fields at the institution. His work was evident at SSU Homecomings when the football field at Theodore Wright Stadium would have a different design each year that was pleasing to alumni, coaches and athletes alike. Golden would make sure the design at mid-field would have the homecoming theme while the end zones would also be decorated in SSU colors.
“Great guy. Always helped any way he could,” said former SSU football coach Joe Crosby while Mary Ann Goldwire, a Savannah State alumnae and retiree, added “He always had a big smile to greet you and encouraging words. He loved his family and was a friend to many colleagues. He will be missed, but all the memories will remain in our hearts.”
Golden retired from Savannah State around 2006 and started his own landscaping business, ‘Struggling Brother’, and had clients in Savannah as well as the South Carolina lowcountry.
Graveside services were held for Golden on April 17 in the Greenwich section in Bonaventure Cemetery. Reflections were given by his son and one of his daughters as well as friends who made the trip from Tallahassee. The eulogy was done by Elder Charles O’Berry.
Tennessee State Hires Eddie George
Tennessee State has hired former Ohio State and Tennessee Titans great Eddie George as its next football coach, the school announced on April 13.
George played in Nashville, Tennessee, for the Tennessee Titans from 1996 to 2003 after a Hall of Fame career as a Heisman Trophy-winner for Ohio State. Tennessee State hopes that George will be able to not only bring notoriety but success for a program that hasn’t won the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) since 1999 or qualified for the FCS Playoffs since 2013.
The 1995 Heisman Trophy winner signed a five-year contract through 2025 with an annual salary of $400,000. That contract also includes an incentive package that shall not exceed $100,000 annually.
Contract incentives include $20,000 if TSU wins the Ohio Valley Conference championship, $15,000 for each FCS playoff win, $35,000 for an FCS national championship and $15,000 for each coach of the year award George earns.
Academic incentives for George include $5,000 if the football team scores greater than 960 on the NCAA Academic Progress Rate and $10,000 for a score of 1,000.
George replaces Ron Reed who spent 11 seasons as the Tigers’ head football coach. Reed’s association with Tennessee State dates back to the mid-80s, when he was a star linebacker from 1984-88. He returned to the school as an associate head coach and defensive coordinator in 2003. He was named head coach six years later.
Despite his overall 58-61 record, Reed achieved a lot during his time at TSU which include coaching nearly 40 All-Americans and more than 70 All-OVC selections.