Coaches VS Racism (CvR), a nonprofit dedicated to ending systemic racism in the sports industry, held an inaugural matchup between the Prairie View A&M University Panthers and the University of Michigan Wolverines on Nov. 13. The event took place at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
In addition to the matchup, both teams made a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture where a panel discussion and reception were held.
“That right there was a highlight moment,” said Juwan Howard, head coach of the University of Michigan men’s basketball team.
“We wanted to make it a full experience, rather than just a basketball game between an HBCU school and a Power 5 school,” said Darryl Woods, executive director of CvR, in a zoom interview.
No. 6 Michigan won 77-49 over Prairie View A&M.
For Michigan, Eli Brooks scored 15 points, while Hunter Dickinson secured his sixth double-double of his career with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
William Douglas was tied with a game high as he scored 15 points for the Panthers.
”We’re playing against Michigan, and that’s a daunting task,” said Byron Smith, head coach of Prairie View A&M men’s basketball team.
The Panthers are 44-5 in his last three seasons in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), which include three straight regular-season titles.
The Wolverines out rebounded the Panthers 52-32.
”We won’t really see size like that in the SWAC,” Douglas said.
For Prairie View A&M, this was a chance for the Panthers to play a televised game and give themselves a test to see how they play against one of the top teams in the country.
”If there’s five teams in the country better than them, show them to me,” said Coach Smith.
This game also fits with the way Prairie View sets their schedule as they play twelve games on the road before playing in their own arena.
Michigan and Prairie View were selected for their on-court excellence, and that two Black coaches, Smith and Howard, are leading the charge at their schools to make a lasting impact.
“I do think that having two African American coaches being active participants in this movement is huge,” said Coach Smith. “Coach Howard has a tremendous platform, being a former NBA All-Star and doing one of the best college coaching jobs in the country. I’m hopeful that this will be a movement and not a moment.”
Dates are already lined up for the next Coaches VS Racism event scheduled to be held in Las Vegas in November 2022.
”The only thing I’m disappointed about is I challenged this guy to a game of one-on-one, and he declined,” Smith said as Howard looked and laughed. ”I need you guys to write that down. The story needs to read that Juwan ducked Byron. I needed to get one victory here.”
A portion of the proceeds from all CvR games are used to support marginalized students and student-athletes who are unable to complete their education due to lack of tuition funds. The non-profit places special focus on the students at HBCUs. For more information, please visit coachesvsracism.org.
Copy edited by Lauryn Wilson