Bowie State Basketball Unveils Updated Basketball Arena
Bowie State unveiled its brand-new NBA quality court on Sept. 21 with Wanda Durant and the men’s basketball team on hand for the ribbon cutting.
The court was funded by a $500,000 gift from NBA superstar Kevin Durant and the Durant Family Foundation, first announced in late 2022.
This investment also added new seating and refurbished the press box.
“When I sit back and think about my son playing in this very gym at age 9, I never thought I’d be here this day. I remember the many years I brought my sons here to play, sitting up in the bleachers and hollering at the referees. I never thought it would come to this,” said Durant’s mother, Wanda Durant. “I’m grateful that he realized that it’s important for him to give back to an HBCU, and maybe he can be a catalyst for other athletes throughout the country to give back to HBCUs.”
Bowie State President Aminta Breaux highlighted the importance for Bowie State to build relationships with individuals and organizations to provide top-of-the-line resources to student-athletes.
State dollars can’t go to athletic programs. Students are often charged athletic fees in addition to tuition to maintain athletic programs, a prohibitive cost for students. By funding this donation, Bowie State will not have the same need for raising athletic fees that other Maryland universities have implemented over the past decade.
“Bowie State’s partnership with the Durant Family Foundation has made our vision of an upgraded gymnasium a reality with improvements to the court and seating,” said Dr. Breaux.
“This half-million-dollar gift by the Durant Family Foundation to Bowie State’s athletic department transformed basketball, and it will energize the students behind me to get some wins.”
Bowling Benefit for Bowie’s Softball Program
Dwayne Sims, founder of the Negro League Legends Hall of Fame (NLLHOF), hosted a bowling benefit on Sept. 17 at the AMF in Landover for the CIAA champion Bowie State softball team.
The softball team, friends, family and supporters of Bowie State came out for free lanes and an opportunity to flex their bowling abilities.
Retired Texas Rangers shortstop and center fielder Dale Davis, who attended the bowling benefit, used to live in the DMV area and attended Prince George’s Community College.
“My first contract was a seven-year contract. Usually the first is seven years. It helps when you have signing bonuses in place. The minimum wage is pennies for minor league play. To help with getting more Black players, we can push baseball more in schools and rec leagues and spread word of the history to the community,” Davis told The Informer. “We don’t have too many players from the DMV area, so we can better spread the word around here. Recreational leagues often aren’t funded, you have to buy your cleats and equipment. Some teams have those things, but there’s nothing better than your own.”
Some of his mentors in the game have been Albert Cartwright, Jeron Sands, Greg Gordon, Jeff Francis and former Yankees player Antoan Richardson, who was the last player batted in by Yankees legend Derek Jeter.
“I learned a lot from PG Community College, and I used Cartwright’s motions and tactics to improve my game,” he said.
Prior to the 1987 season, the Bowie State Bulldogs were perennial losers in college football– with a 32-game losing streak. Coach Dave Dolch, formerly an Assistant for Western Maryland College’s football team, inherited a two-season winless streak that eventually grew to 32 games.
Yet in 1988, the team went 9-1-1 and was one of just 16 teams to make the Division II playoffs. Coach Dolch was widely credited with the turnaround, including improved recruitment efforts and a strong running game.
Dolch left Bowie State in 1988, ending his tenure at Bowie State with a record of 12-17-2. He was hired to coach the Morningside Chiefs, a team that had a 15-game losing streak when he was hired.
The coach was recently honored by half a dozen of his former players, including linebackers David Grogan and Mike Werking.
Grogan is now a member of Bowie State’s Alumni Committee.
Werking, a Bowie native, led the team with 96 tackles during their best season.