As we take a moment to pause and reflect on the trauma and triumphs of this year, it cannot be denied that Howard women are in the business of making history. Although this is not a new fact, few have been known to uplift the narrative that the change makers of today are also birthing the trail blazers of tomorrow.
For example, examine Coach Ty Grace. An all-star and legend in her own right, who took over right before the ‘99 and the 2000s as a graduate of the University of New Haven, but not before rewriting school history. She stands as only one of two basketball players to secure 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds while averaging 11.4 points per game. Lettering in each of her collegiate years, Grace embodies the definition of a certified champion.
To her family, she’s a loving mother, daughter and wife. To her players, she doubles as a drill sergeant and a big sister as needed. She has continued her career as a shooting star with over 25 years of coaching experience. Through accuracy and precision, Grace successfully completed a combined seven seasons as an assistant coach for the United States Military Academy and Seton Hall University women’s basketball teams prior to joining Howard as the head coach in 2015.
In her most recent campaign (2020-21), Grace earned the Northern Division Title with player of the year Jayla Thornton, All-Rookie Kaiya Creek and rookie of the year Anzhane’ Hutton who also brought home All-MEAC and All-Defensive awards.
The season proved to be the perfect segway into a legendary year where the women’s basketball team became the first ever HBCU to win a NCAA tournament just days after winning the first conference championship in over 20 years.
As a whole, the women’s teams at Howard are nationally reclaiming their respect. Track and field freshman Sherri-Ann Norton won Howard’s first ever women’s 60 meter MEAC title while the team gained their first championship title in over 33 years. Volleyball continued to conquer this season by winning their 13th conference championship which ties with Florida A&M for the most volleyball titles in MEAC history.
This plural effort of women across campus has etched Howard into the history books for years to come. Without the support and encouragement from the surrounding community, it would not have been possible. As they push forward into the future, leading the way for many to follow in their footsteps, I hope to see the level of financial donations from alumni and patrons alike grow to help the teams prosper. Coaches should not have to continue to persevere off University funding alone.
Copy edited by Jasper Smith