Coach Lloyd Carter (far right) with the Hampton University Pirates team, the first HBCU team to play NCAA Division I lacrosse.

Courtesy Hampton University

Today, the Hampton University Pirates will make history as the first HBCU to compete in Division I lacrosse. They will face the Roberts Wesleyan College Redhawks at 12:30 p.m. EST.

As part Black History Month, ESPN’s SportsCenter on the Road will originate from Hampton’s campus from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and provide pre-game coverage, but the game itself will not be televised.

Coach Lloyd Carter, the men’s lacrosse coach at Hampton, played Division II lacrosse at Morgan State, which dropped the sport in 1981.

A Baltimore Sun profile on Carter reports that the Morgan Bears team had beaten Notre Dame, Villanova, Michigan State and Georgetown during a five-day span.

“These guys, they don’t see it yet,” said Carter, 57, a retired Baltimore fire chief. “The reason I see it is because I was there … When I got older, I had a better appreciation of history. And that’s what I am selling these guys now. This is special because we are part of history again.”

Most of the Hampton students have never picked up a lacrosse stick until college, and Carter admits that “only four or five are any good.”

“Slowly but surely, we’re going to move this program along,” Marshall promises. “We want to get to the point where we are competitive, become affiliated with a conference, win the conference championship and compete for a [national] championship. It takes time, but we’re glad to be one of the 70 elite lacrosse programs in the country.”

The Sun reports that as of last week, Carter was operating out of a dorm room in James Hall, in an office without windows. The Pirates have just one assistant coach but recently received confirmation of more funding from athletic director Eugene Marshall and university president Dr. William Harvey.

But Coach Carter has big plans. He says he will be getting two of the sport’s greatest and best-known African-American players, Kyle Harrison and Chazz Woodson, involved in Hampton’s recruiting.

He adds: “From the publicity we’re getting and that fact that we are a HBCU, we’re getting a lot of interest,” Carter said. “I’ve already gotten a commitment from a player in Texas and Ohio. I’m getting emails from kids in Virginia, Minnesota, Georgia, so it’s exciting.”

Read more at The Baltimore Sun.

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