GREENSBORO  -  Former Aggie football great and Hall of Famer Ben Blacknall passed away last Wednesday (Apr. 25) from a reported diabetic coma at age 63. Funeral arrangements have been set for Thursday, May 3 at 11 a.m., CDT at Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala. Public viewing is set for 10 a.m.

Blacknall's great play on defense helped the Aggies transition from the CIAA into the MEAC. Blacknall and receiver Willie Wright earned the school's first two MEAC player of the year awards in football. Blacknall won MEAC Defensive Player of the Year in 1971, while Wright won MEAC Offensive Player of the Year honors the same year.

Blacknall graduated from A&T in 1975. Following his playing career, Blacknall developed a successful coaching career. The Louisburg, N.C., native left his coaching mark at Wichita State, South Carolina State, Morehouse College, Delaware State and Alabama A&M, where he spent his last six years as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the Bulldogs.

Blacknall was inducted into the North Carolina A&T Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 after lettering at A&T from 1968-71. Condolences can be sent to Nelms Memorial Funeral Home at (256)539-8189.