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EAST GREENSBORO (September 5, 2018) – The North Carolina A&T Sports Hall of Fame in conjunction with North Carolina A&T Athletics will hold a press conference at 12 p.m., Thursday, September 6 at the Alumni-Foundation Event Center to introduce the school’s nine new inductees.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be 7 p.m., Thursday at the Alumni Center and the 11th annual A&T Sports Hall of Fame Golf Tournament at Crooked Tree Golf Course will have an 8 a.m., shotgun start on Friday. A&T Sports Hall of Fame Football Game will take place 6 p.m., Saturday at BB&T Stadium as the sixth-ranked Aggies (No. 5 in the media poll) will face Gardner-Webb in a non-conference tilt.

The inductees include a pitcher who never lost a game, an All-American punter, women’s basketball’s all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocks, a walk-on turned NFL standout, a former Olympic hopeful, an Aggie baseball great, a linebacker who started every game the Aggies played during his career, a running back who turned eight collegiate games into an NFL career and a defensive lineman who helped the Aggies win their first outright MEAC title in 1986.

James Baten (Baseball, 1958-62)

James Timothy Baten has seen history happen at North Carolina A&T. From being a classmate of the Rev. Jesse Jackson to remembering the day four North Carolina A&T students staged a sit-in at Woolworth on February 1, 1960, Baten witnessed and experienced it all up close and personal.

Baten was born on September 28, 1939 in Herndon, Virginia. His parents were Robert and Mary Baten. James was the fourth child of six children. While at N.C. A&T, James played two years of basketball after which he was offered a baseball scholarship. James was one of five outstanding pitchers who helped the Aggies win four CIAA championships.

Thanks to his 90 mile per hour fastball, Baten was the first black pitcher that played four years of baseball and never lost a game. He also led the nation in strikeouts averaging 16 per game. James graduated from N.C. A&T with a degree in physical education. He went on to earn a master’s degree in counseling. While working on his master’s, James worked as a residence hall counselor and assistant baseball and basketball coach. James also served in the Army Reserves and he played for the San Francisco Giants minor league organization where he was selected for the Southern All-Star team. He won top player of the month award and outstanding pitcher of the month.

Baten treasures the many experiences he gained through traveling with the team at in the minor league. One experience was when the team was told they had to receive food from the back of the restaurant. James refused the food. He made it a point to be the first off the bus so that he could openly refuse to be served from the back of the restaurant. After several occasions of this, Max Lanier, a white coach decided they would not eat at restaurants where his team would not be served equally. The experience taught James to always speak up for his rights. It was with this tenacity and pride that he created a legacy of excellence that led to two generations of Aggie graduates to follow him. Perhaps that is because he experienced the civil rights movement up close during his time as a student at N.C. A&T.

Baten, 79, has been married 39 years to Frances Baten. Together they have four daughters, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He lives in Charlotte, N.C.

Curtis Deloatch, Sr. (Football, 1999-03)

When Curtis Deloatch, Sr., walked onto the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in two days before classes started in 1999, he did not have any classes, a place to stay and he certainly was not a college football player. By the time he left in 2003, he was an Aggie football legend with a promising NFL career ahead of him.

Born and raised in Murfreesboro, N.C., by his grandparents Sterling & Lucy Deloatch, Deloatch’s grandfather Sterlin drove him to campus one day and discovered his grandson did not have any classes or a room. He drove his grandson to the bank, got the money, got him registered. Days later, an Aggie assistant coach remembered him from his days as a high school football player and asked him to be a walk-on for the Aggies football team. After a year of sitting and waiting for his time to play, that opportunity finally came when the punt returner in front of him on the depth chart was injured.

An assistant coach inserted Deloatch into the game even to the surprise of head coach Bill Hayes. To Hayes’ delight, however, Deloatch returned his first collegiate punt for a touchdown that was unfortunately called back because of a penalty. Undaunted, Deloatch returned the next punt far enough for him to get the job permanently and a hall of famer was born.  

Not only did he earn many awards and honors during his four-year career, he also earned a B.S., degree while becoming a member of Omega Psi Phi. In 2000, he won rookie of the year while earning a full scholarship. In 2001, he was a first-team consensus All-American, first-team All-MEAC, Aggie Club Award winner, Peach State Classic MVP with a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown and an interception return 61 yards for a touchdown.

He was also named defensive back of the year with four interceptions while returning two INTs for touchdowns. His 26.5 yards per punt return still stands as an NCAA FCS single-season record. That same year he set an NCAA FCS and school record with five punt returns for touchdowns in a season.

He’s ranked 8th all-time in NCAA FCS history in career return yardage. In 2002, he earned second-team All-MEAC honors and in 2003 he led the Aggies to their second MEAC title in five years. During the ’03 season, he blocked a field goal and returned an interception against Florida A&M to help the Aggies stay undefeated in the conference. N.C. A&T played Hampton for the MEAC title and Deloatch contributed to the win with two interceptions and four pass deflections. He finished his senior year as defensive back of the year with four INTs and one pick-6. He earned his second Aggie Club Award and was named first-team all-conference. Deloatch went on to play in the NFL for five years for the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers.

Deloatch, 36, left his mark on NFL history while a member of the Saints in 2006 during a Monday Night game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints were returning to the Louisiana Superdome after the famous facility was closed because of the effects of Hurricane Katrina. In an emotionally charged environment, Deloatch recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for the team’s first score since the tragic storm.

Deloatch lives in Charlotte N.C., with his wife Danielle and their four children, Torry, Aliah, Sagaia and C.J.

Joseph Hill (Baseball, 1990-93)

Strong grandparents in New York and in North Carolina shaped Joseph Elijah Hill III into one of the greatest baseball players in N.C. A&T history.

Hill was born in Bronx, N.Y. He quickly mastered the game of stickball in the concrete playgrounds thanks to the influence of his grandparents. At age 10, Joe moved to The North Bronx near Yankee Stadium. He grew up listening to the roaring crowds of Yankee Stadium where he would go to the top of his apartment building and watch the Yankees play. Joe continued to display his stickball abilities.

After noticing he had a natural ability at the sport, his grandmother signed him up for official Little League Baseball. The experiences along with his grandparents' motivation, steered him toward a lifelong passion for baseball.

At age 12, Hill moved to Rocky Mount, N.C., to live with his grandparents. Joe played baseball throughout middle school and high school. After graduating high school, Hill was drafted to play minor league baseball for the Cleveland Indians.

A grandfather’s wish, however, changed the direction of Hill’s life and Aggies baseball. Hill’s grandfather wanted at least one of his family members to be the first to attend college, specifically an HBCU. Therefore, Hill became a first-generation college student earning a baseball scholarship to attend N.C. A&T.

Throughout his tenure at A&T, Hill was a four-time All-MEAC outfielder and a four-time All-MEAC tournament. For his career, he hit 29 home runs, stole 82 bases, posted 76 RBI and had a .364 batting average. In 1993, Hill led his team to its first conference championship since 1974 and during his tenure, the Aggies also defeated the University of North Carolina.  

Hill, 48, resides in Charlotte, N.C., where he is a senior engineer with Verizon Wireless. He is married to Nikole and together, they have four children, Noah 8, Nicholas 10, McKenzie 14 and Joseph Elijah Hill IV, 20.

 

Derrick Homesley

Aggie Pride is generational in Derrick Homesley’s family and he certainly added to that legacy during a stellar track and field career at North Carolina A&T that culminated with him having a chance to be an Olympian.

Homesley was born in Greensboro, N.C., and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1970. Both his parents graduated from N.C. A&T. His mother, Mrs. Clementine Donahue, is from White Oak Grove in Greensboro where she finished at Dudley High School. His father Dennis Homesley is from Shelby, N.C. and was standout N.C. A&T football player playing alongside Pro Football Hall of Famer, Elvin Bethea. His mom and dad were also good friends with an Aggie classmate named Roy “Spaceman” Thompson, a future N.C. A&T Sports Hall of Famer.

Homesley’s track career in high school took place at DeMatha in Hyattsville, Md. and Surrattsville H.S. in Clinton, Md. While at Surrattsville he was county champion, was the top long jumper in Maryland and he ranked No. 2 in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area in 1986. Noticing Homesley’s high school exploits, and old friend of Homesley’s parents came calling.

Thompson knew Derrick from birth and went school with both his parents. The Homesley and Thompson friendship will blossom further as Homesley attended and competed in Aggieland from 1986-90. Homesley went on to become the first male Aggie long jumper to win the Penn Relays with the sixth-longest long jump in the history of the prestigious event. He also became the first male Aggie to qualify for the Division I-AA NCAA Track Championships held at Duke University in 1990. He was the second Aggie to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

Homesley qualified for the 1990 Goodwill Trials with the help of Thompson and his Olympic development coach Stanley Mullins, a Dudley graduate, a 400-meter record holder in North Carolina, a 1968 Olympic hopeful and a former football and track and field standout at Kentucky State. Thompson and Mullins also teamed to help Homesley compete in the 1996 Olympic Trials in Atlanta, and the 1997 World Championship trials during his career on the USA Track and Field Circuit.

Homesley, 50, says his greatest accomplishment and the one that is most dear to his heart is his daughter Nandi Amina Rosier. She is 9-years old, and he prays that his accomplishments in life have set a positive template for her to follow.

Akinyele Igunmuyiwa (football, wrestling 1983-86)

Akinyele Igunmuyiwa, formerly Ernest L. Riddick came to North Carolina A&T during a tumultuous time for the football program. Igunmuyiwa instituted a positive locker room atmosphere that focused on unity over division, accountability over finger pointing and strong work ethic over slothfulness. Igunmuyiwa even led by example by playing with numerous injuries. The changes led to the Aggies winning their first outright MEAC title in 1986.

Igunmuyiwa graduated from N.C. A&T with a B.S., degree in psychology in 1988. The moniker, “Dr. Doom,” derived from Igunmuyiwa’s high school sports career at Holmes High School in Edenton, N.C. He even wore “Dr. Doom” on his forearm pads when he played high school football.

His tenacious spirit, along with the nickname, followed him during his college career where he was a two-sport letterman in wrestling and football. He shined as a nose guard on the defensive line, become a starter all four years of his college career, earning three consecutive (1984-86) first-team All-MEAC honors. In 1986 he was Sheraton Black College All-American and an NCAA Division I-AA All-American. He also participated in the SWAC-MEAC Senior Freedom Bowl.

Igunmuyiwa was as dominant in the classroom as he was on the field. Igunmuyiwa was a laboratory technician in the psychology department from 1988-1993 on a research grant and has a 1991 publication on the Effects of Restraint by Tether Jackets on Behavior in Spontaneously Hypersensitive Rats.

He started his own company in 2000 along with his business partner and fellow Aggie, Eric Page. The business, WesCare Professional Services, LLC was named after Igunmuyiwa’s late brother, Wesley Earl Riddick. Among the employees are several Aggie alumni as well as single females who were assisted with starting their own businesses, purchasing new homes and cars, as well as returning or finishing college because of the business relationship.

Malveata Johnson (women’s basketball, 1997-01)

Malveata Johnson Collins is the most accomplished women’s basketball player in school history, yet she did not attend North Carolina A&T to collect athletic accomplishments.

During the recruiting process in high school, Collins had her choice of playing for legendary coaches such as Sylvia Hatchell at the University of North Carolina or Kay Yow at N.C. State. Instead, it was a visit from Mamie Jones, an assistant women’s basketball coach from N.C. A&T at the time that stands out.

It helped that Jones was from a nearby county in Eastern North Carolina. She also remembers her telephone call from then head coach Tim Abney. A decision had to be made. Do you attend an ACC school or do you come to a small school in East Greensboro?

Collins’ father told her, “you don’t go to school for athletics you go for academics”. Collins chose one of the top engineering schools in the world, N.C. A&T, and majored in architectural engineering, even though she says at the time she did not even know how to spell it. She learned to spell it and went on to graduate with honors with a B.S., degree in architectural engineering.

Her other accomplishments include being involved with Athletes in Action during her freshman season. It completely changed the course of Johnson’s life and the intensity of her game. She played with AIA in Miami, Bolivia, and Brazil. After seeing her play one of the South American teams offered her $14,000 per month to leave school and play professionally.  Once again, she chose education.

Her educationally choices proved beneficial to N.C. A&T Athletics. She had a breakout sophomore season where she was named MEAC Player of the Year. She also led the nation in rebounding and blocked shots. She is the Aggies all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots. And of course, she was a four-time All-Academic MEAC team member. Collins met her husband Vernon Collins at N.C. A&T. They have three children together, Vernon, Jr. (CJ), Victorian Promise (Vic Vic), and Vernon, III, (Trey).

Montonrafel Key, Sr. (football, men’s basketball, men’s track and field, 1993-97)

Monty Key, as he was known when he attended N.C. A&T does not believe in downtime. The desire to stay hands-on in multiple projects while not resting until the job is done has led him to be a successful businessman.  

He came to NCA&T to study architectural engineering, a five-year degree program. He spent his first year of school getting acclimated to college life. He decided to try out for both the football and men’s basketball teams during his second year. He added track during his final two years.

Key quickly made his presence known both on the field and on the court. He became a valued member of both teams and established himself as one of the best punters in the nation and the best punter in school history. Key was a Division I-AA All-American punter and all-conference punter at N.C. A&T. He holds the Aggies single-season record average yards per punt (44.3) in 1996. That same season, he was second in the nation in average yards per punt.

At 6-foot-7, Key’s height did not go unnoticed by the Aggies men’s basketball program. Key played for the late Jeff Capel, Jr., starting in 1993. Key says there were games where played significant minutes and there were other games he didn’t. He just wanted to play his role and do it well. Key was able to play in the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons, 1994 and ‘95. 995. His competitive nature drove him to join the track and field team next. He threw the shot put, discus and javelin under the direction of legendary Hall of Fame coach Roy “Spaceman” Thompson.

Key was named the student of the year from the N.C. A&T Student Government Association (1996), Student-Athlete of the Year (1996), Male Athlete of the Year (1996), SBN Sports Network Black College All-American (1996) and Senior Athlete of the Year (1997). Key owns one of the most successful Construction companies in Guilford County.

Benjamin Little, Jr. (football, 1997-2000)

One day Benjamin Lee Little, Jr. nicknamed BJ, walked into the coaches’ offices and saw he was listed as the No. 2 middle linebacker depth chart. That could not stand. It motivated Little to work even harder. He did extra pushups, extra steps and honed his craft. Little went on to start every football game North Carolina A&T played during his time in Aggieland from 1997-2000.

His 46 career starts were impactful. He was a two-time Sports Network second-team All-American (1999, 2000), a two-time Don Hansen third-team All-American (1999, 2000). Little earned first-team All-MEAC honors in 1999 and second-team honors in 2000. Along the way, he also secured five MEAC Defensive Player of the Week accolades and was named National Player of the Week following a win over Norfolk State in 2000.

Little helped the Aggies put together one of the best seasons in school history. In 1999, the Aggies won what was at the time a school-record 11 wins while also winning the Black College National Championship and the MEAC title with an 8-0 mark. The 1999 team also secured the school’s first and only playoff win, a 16-3 triumph over Tennessee State.

Little contributed to the ‘99 by leading the team in tackles. Led by Little, the Aggies were ranked third in the nation in total defense. The defense only allowed 169 points in 13 games.

In 2000, he led the team in sacks and finished in the league in sacks as the Aggies finished fifth nationally in total defense. When Little completed his eligibility, his class was the most successful in school history before that mark was broken by the 2017 senior class at N.C. A&T.

After college, he began teaching English and coaching high school linebackers at Richmond Senior High School and Union High School in South Carolina where they won a state championship. He went on to coach six more years.

Little is married to Bridget Little.

Maurice Smith (1996-99)

When Maurice Smith got his opportunity as a senior, he turned it into a Hall of Fame career. He was a major part in the Aggies historic 1999 season where the Aggies won their first and only playoff game in school history.

Smith, affectionately known as ‘Moe’, was part of one of the winningest football classes in N.C. A&T history. Voted as the 100% Wrong Club MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Smith’s leadership helped the 1999 team win the at the time a school-record 11 games. The Aggies also claimed the Black College National Championship and they finished 8-0 to win the MEAC title. Their first-round NCAA Division I-AA victory was against the No. 1 team in the nation Tennessee State, 16-3.

In 1999, the fast and powerful tailback became only the 3rd (at the time) 1,000-yard rusher in N.C. A&T history earning first-team All-MEAC honors. Smith still shares one of the highest yards per carry career averages with 6.3 per attempt.

An undrafted free agent in the 2000 NFL Draft, Moe spent three years with the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers. He led the Atlanta Falcons in rushing in 2001 with 760 yards from scrimmage. Smith also had 230 receiving yards on 19 catches. Smith accomplished those numbers replacing an injured Jamal Anderson. He led the team in rushing despite being injured for more than half the season himself.

At N.C. A&T, Smith also participated in track and field. His third-fastest time came at the 1999 MEAC Indoor Track and Field Championships when he ran a 6.61 in the 60-meters. Smith won the 55-meters at the Liberty University Winter Meet-Up in 1998 with a time of 6.34.

In addition to his success on the field, Mr. Smith along with his wife, the former Tanesha Boone, run a growing full- service Landscape Management company in the Piedmont Triad. Smith enjoys spending time with his girls, Mackenzie Elise & Madison Emory. A native of Halifax County, N.C., Mr. Smith graduated from Southeast Halifax High School.