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What Are The Top 11 Stories of 2011?

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 01/01/2012
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North Carolina A&T began construction on a new state-of-the-art press box in 2011. Photo By Charles E. Watkins
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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North Carolina A&T Athletics continued to make strides in 2011. It was a year full of milestones, new construction and new faces. As 2012 enters our sight, ncataggies.com looks back at the Top 11 stories of 2011 in Aggie Athletics.

11. The women's track and field team scores a school-record 124 points - A lack of depth prevented the women's track and field team from competing in the heptathlon in past MEAC Outdoor Championships. But in 2011, the Aggies decided to give it a shot and discovered they weren't half bad at participating in the challenging multiple event display of athleticism. Amanda Breeden took on the challenge, and there was a good chance she would have won the event, if a slip would not have led to her fouling on her final javelin throw. Behind Breeden's third-place finish, Shakia Forbes' second-straight MEAC long jump title, Janessa Benn's two second-place finishes (1500 and 3000 meters) and a second-place finish by the 4x100 meter relay team, the Aggies posted a school-best 124 points.   

10. Thomas Coleman - The thought in Aggieland was that men's basketball center Thomas Coleman had the potential to be one of the most dominant big men in the nation. As he entered 2011 during the 2010-11 season, Coleman made those thoughts a reality. He put together one of the best seasons in school history and ranked among the nation's best in field goal percentage, scoring, double-doubles and blocked shots. In 19 games played in 2011, Coleman scored 20 or more points in 11 times and had double-figure rebounds 12 times, including a 30-point, 12-rebound performance at Delaware State in February. Coleman became the first Aggie in 10 seasons to average a double-double.

9. Press Box - Construction on a new two-level press box began in 2011. Aggie Stadium's newest facelift will not be ready for occupants until 2012. During the 2011 football season, media operation was handled in the Aggie Stadium stands and some season-ticket holder sacrificed their normal seating. But it appears the wait will be worth it. The new state-of-the-art press box will include expanded space for media operations, hospitality suites, a new chancellor's area, flat screen televisions, two radio booths, two coaches' booths and a television booth.

8. Xavier Macklin drafted - The N.C. A&T slugger was selected by the Oakland A's in the 12th round with
the 376th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft on June 7. Macklin, a Rocky Mount, N.C., native, played for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the Class A Short Season New York-Penn  League as a rookie. During the 2011 season as an Aggie, he hit .355 with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs. He ranked second in the nation in home runs per game, third in total home runs and third in slugging percentage (.781). He also ranked in the top 100 nationally in RBIs per game (1.24), total RBIs, runs scored per game (1.06), total runs scored per game (57), on-base percentage (.474), total bases (143), base on balls per game (0.72) and total base on balls (39).

7. Calesio Newman competes in Pan Am Games - In October, former North Carolina A&T male sprinter Calesio Newman became the first Aggie to represent the United States in an international event when he traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico to compete in the Pan Am Games as a 100 and 200 meter runner. Against the best runners in the world, Newman qualified for the 100-meter semifinals with a time of 10.30 and the finals with a time of 10.42. He finished sixth in the finals after running 10.31. He qualified for the 200-meter semifinals with a time of 20.86. His improved time of 20.80 in the semifinals was not enough to qualify for the final.

6. Wallace Miles puts together record season - Everything Wallace Miles earned in 2011 was well-deserved. When he came to North Carolina A&T five years ago, he overcame naysayers who said he couldn't play receiver at the FCS level. Once he dispelled that notion, he became one of the gutsiest receivers in the nation as he made catches in traffic, across the middle, in the air and on the ground. As a senior in 2011, he became the first Aggie in school history to have a 1,000-yard receiving season. He also broke the school's single-season record for receiving yards and receptions, while becoming the only Aggie in school history to lead the team in receiving four straight seasons. He tied the school record for career catches with 172.  

5. Women's Basketball beats Clemson - In 2012, Aggie fans are anticipating the 500th career win of North Carolina A&T women's basketball coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs. A staple of her brilliant career has been her ability to beat schools with bigger budgets from power conferences. She did it again on Nov. 21 when a team led by Tracy King's 26 points defeated Clemson of the ACC, 76-66 at Corbett Sports Center. It was the Aggies second win over a school from a BCS conference (ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Big East, SEC, Pac-12). Both wins came under Bibbs' direction.     

4.  Keith Shumate resigns -  Keith Shumate had been a part of the North Carolina A&T baseball program for so many seasons, he had become the proverbial  "staple" of the program. All that changed on April 19 when Shumate announced after 15 seasons he would no longer be the program's head coach. It came as a bit of shock, considering Shumate's continued success with the program.  But after producing more than 300 wins, five All-Americans and leading the Aggies to the 2005 MEAC Championship, Shumate believed it was time for a career change.   

3. Tony Veney comes and goes - Well, since we are on the subject of surprise resignation, we'll move forward to Tony Veney. On July 1, the veteran coach became the director of track and field programs. By December, he decided to resign his position. Veney, who had has an impressive resume' within the track and field universe, cited personal reasons for his departure. The Aggies' six track and field programs were handed to James Daniels on an interim basis.

2. Mike Mayhew - Before it's all over, Mike Mayhew will leave North Carolina A&T as one of the most decorated running backs in school history. He already has been named MEAC Rookie of the Year, first-team All-MEAC twice and in 2011 he earned MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Mayhew is 163 yards shy of becoming the Aggies all-time leading rusher, a feat he should reach in 2012. Mayhew rushed for 1,000 yards for a second straight season in 2011, while leading the conference in rushing.

1. The new faces of  A&T Athletics - Nothing said 2011 in A&T Athletics like new hires. Four new head coaches were hired in 2011, highlighted by football coach Rod Broadway. Broadway took over the Aggies program in February, and in his first season at the helm, the Aggies had a 2,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard receiver and 1,000-yard rusher.  Hal Clifton became the head volleyball coach in August. He will have a little more time to rebuild the Aggies in 2012. Joel Sanchez, who was hired in September, looks to make his head coaching debut on Feb. 17, 2012 at home against Navy. Tony Veney came aboard as the director of track and field programs in July before departing in December. In addition to new head coaches, the Aggies also hired a new director of athletics, as Earl Hilton took over the post in February. Hilton is actually a familiar face in athletics. Hilton served  as the compliance, personnel and financial director in N.C. A&T Athletics for three years starting in 2000. Support staff new hires included two new compliance officers, a new media relations assistant, a new administrative assistant and a new marketing director. There were also new hires among assistant coaches in women's basketball, track and field, football and softball.

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