Honorees Named for Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Reception
Sportscaster Charlie Neal, author Lucille O’Neal and philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey headline group to be honored in Orlando
ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, announced that it will recognize seven honorees at the fifth annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Reception at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, near Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 6 p.m. ET. The evening will honor the late Pro Football Hall of Famer David “Deacon” Jones (South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley State Universities), four-time award-winning choreographer Chuck Maldonado (North Carolina A&T State University), sports broadcaster Charlie Neal, author and motivational speaker Lucille O’Neal (Bethune-Cookman University), former professional football player and coach Willie Totten (Mississippi Valley State University) and philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey (Florida A&M University).
The reception honors individuals who are associated with Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) and have made significant contributions to their schools and communities. Each honoree will receive an HBCU Trailblazer Award in recognition of the impact made in his or her respective career, school or community. Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, co-hosts of ESPN Audio’s newest podcast, His & Hers with Michael Smith & Jemele Hill, will host the evening’s festivities. Tickets to the reception can be purchased for $75 atwww.meacswacchallenge.com.
The Legends Reception will precede the ninth annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney featuring the Florida A&M University Rattlers of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) against the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The game will be played at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 1, at 11:45 a.m. on ESPN.
“Since launching the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends Award in 2009, we have had the privilege and honor to welcome a diverse group of individuals who have made significant contributions to their schools and communities,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Regional Television. “This award allows us the opportunity to celebrate them, their achievements, and by extension, their schools. ESPN is proud to welcome the class of 2013.”
“We are excited to celebrate this year’s Legends honorees and their significant professional, educational and community contributions,” said Eugene Campbell, vice president of Domestic Minority Business Development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Their stories align with our ongoing commitment to diversity and education and are a key reason the MEAC / SWAC Challenge is more than a game.”
Each year, the game pits a MEAC team against a SWAC opponent in Central Florida. The Labor Day weekend event offers More Than A Game with several additional events, including a high school career seminar on Aug. 29 at Evans High School. On Saturday, Aug. 31, fans will celebrate at a pep rally at Downtown Disney, followed by a parade and band showcase at Epcot. Game day will kick off with a Pre-Game Praise Service at Tinker Field and The Great Tailgate at McCracken Field.
Travel options to attend the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando are being offered by Anthony Travel, the event’s official travel provider. Travel packages will include discounted hotel accommodations, game tickets and specially-priced Theme Park Tickets. For more information, visit www.AnthonyTravel.com/MEACSWAC or call 888-632-6951. Game tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.
The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT). For more information about the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, or to join the event’s following on Facebook and Twitter, visit the event’s official Web site at www.meacswacchallenge.com.
David “Deacon” Jones (Representing: South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley State Universities)
Chuck Maldonado (Representing: North Carolina A&T State University)
Charlie Neal (Long-time HBCU commentator)
Lucille O’Neal (Representing: Bethune-Cookman University)
Willie Totten (Representing: Mississippi Valley State University)
Bernard and Shirley Kinsey (Representing: Florida A&M University)