Basketball teams head home for reunion

Saturday marks the return of both Rattler basketball teams to Gaither Gymnasium after non-conference wins against Savannah State Monday.

The men faced the Tigers on the road in their final game of the season and pulled off a 49-44 victory in a game that garnered national attention for a final 0-28 Tiger season record.

The Lady Rattlers finished off the Savannah State sweep with a 74-48 home win.

Jumping back into MEAC play against Coppin State, FAMU will celebrate its Second Annual FAMU Basketball Reunion, generally referred to as Homecoming.

The Lady Rattlers will tip-off at 2 p.m. followed by the men at 4 p.m.

A reception to kick off the weekend and reunite alumni and former basketball players will take place at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select at 310 W. Tennessee St.

One milestone sure to be recognized is the 50th career victory for Rattler Head Coach Mike Gillespie at FAMU.

“I love this place and I certainly love the kids that I coach,” Gillespie said.

“It’s nice to have 50 wins, but I certainly want to be more successful. I hope I have 500. We’re going to keep working to do that.”

Gillespie said a great turnout would add fuel to the fire in a much-needed game against Coppin State, who is in first place in the MEAC.

“The sixth man will be to our advantage – the home crowd,” Gillespie said.

“We need all the help we can get, so the more support and students we can get out there would obviously go a long way in helping us to another victory.”

Because the game is being advertised as the Homecoming game, some students are taking this opportunity to be a part of the festivities.

Void of the weeklong activities common with the football homecoming, the basketball program still has plans to offer fans a chance to celebrate a basketball homecoming.

The tentative schedule of reunion ceremonies includes a group photo of basketball alumni and a formal introduction of them to the fans following the women’s game.

“This homecoming is more focused on welcoming back former players to watch us play and enjoy an atmosphere of getting together with old friends,” Gillespie said.

One ceremony the Rattlers were looking forward to, but will have to wait on, was the presentation of their championship rings, which they won last year against Coppin State in the MEAC Tournament.

“We were hoping to get some of the players from the past two championship teams to come back and introduce those people along with the rings, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Gillespie said.

Just what is the reason the Rattlers have had to wait a almost a year for their hard earned jewelry?

“They’re not here yet,” said Assistant Sports Information Director Ronnie Johnson.

The rings will not be present at Senior’s Night on Monday either.

“The four seniors were very instrumental in bringing the championship to us,” Gillespie said, “so we’ll still have some awards to present to them then.”

Contact LeMont Calloway at