Celebrating Black Marauders past and present
Photo C/O Kyle West
In the McMaster Athletics Hall of Fame, there are seven Black athletes, trainers and coaches who have made significant contributions to Marauder history over the years. Whether it was on the field or court or giving support to their team, the Black history of McMaster Athletics is undeniable.
Fast forward to today and there are a number of Black athletes at McMaster today who are also contributing to McMaster history. Although there is not yet an official Marauder Black History Month celebration, this article is the first step in celebrating the Black athletes who have given so much to this organization.
PAST: Kojo Aidoo
Running back Aidoo started playing for McMaster in 1998 and found immediate success after his first season, when he was named the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Rookie of the Year. Throughout his career, he continued to make Ontario University Athletics history for rushing and scoring. Helping McMaster get to their first-ever OUA Yates Cup Championship in 2000, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the OUA and the MVP of the championship game.
His outstanding talent made him a recipient of a number of awards including the Hec Crighton Award as the most outstanding player in Canada, the Howard Mackie Award as the Male Athlete of the Year in the CIS, the Ivor Wynne Award as McMaster’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2001 and being named a First-Team All-Canadian. Aidoo went on to be drafted into the Canadian Football League by Edmonton, playing for the Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argos over the course of his professional career.
PRESENT: Justice Allin
The second-year running back has been an explosive player for the Marauders since arrival in 2017. When an injury cut his rookie year short just after week eight, he had already posted consecutive performances of over 100 yards receiving, and even had 225 all-purpose yards against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues the week before.
Even though his season was cut short, Allin was still named to the OUA All-Rookie Team for his contributions to the team. After recovering from his ACL injury, his return to the field in the 2018 season may not have been reminiscent of his rookie season, but his contributions did play a part in helping the Marauders secure a spot in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons on and off the field, Allin and Mac’s playoff run ended after the first round. With a new head coach for the 2019 season, and the possibility of Allin’s predecessor Jordan Lyons leaving for the CFL, the possibilities of what Allin can do for the Marauders in the next few years is something many are excited to see.
PAST: Titus Channer
It only took one year for Titus Channer to make an impact on the McMaster men’s basketball team. The 1993-1994 OUA Rookie of the Year went on to have a successful Marauder career, full of nation-wide recognition. He was named Second Team All-Canadian in 1994-95 and 1995-96 and received Ontario University Athletics Association Player of the Year, a First Team All-Canadian selection, and the McMaster Athlete of the Year Award twice (1996-1997 and 1997-1998).
The accolades for Channer did not end there, as in his senior year he won the Mike Moser Award as the Canadian University Basketball Player of the Year and the Howard Mackie Award. It did not end there for Channer, as he went on to play professional basketball in Europe and represented the Canadian men’s national basketball team.
PRESENT: David McCulloch
David McCulloch, a Hamilton local and Cardinal Newman star, chose to stay home and come to McMaster instead of a number of other offers. Deciding to come to a school who already had a star point guard, Adam Presutti, and wanting to learn from him speaks volumes about McCulloch’s character early on.
Today, the fifth-year senior has turned into the team's leader and star, surpassing 1000 points during his time at McMaster. For the 2017-2018 season he was named OUA Third-Team All-Star and in the summer, he joined Team Toronto with Team Canada’s head coach Roy Rana. A consistent leader on and off the court, McCulloch’s departure this year as he graduates will no doubt be seen in the 2018-2019 season.
With a team mainly comprised of first years and transfer, hopefully, not only his talent but the way he carried himself on and off the court will be the blueprint for the young team. As for McCulloch’s future, whether it is basketball-related or not it, it sure looks bright from here.
PAST: Lawrence Holmes
Lawrence Holmes found great success during his time here as a Marauder. Winning the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union 61kg three times, it is no surprise that he was also a two-time recipient of the Ivor Wynne Trophy. Holmes was also an international wrestler while attending McMaster, participating in the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the 1984 Olympics, and a two-time World Team member. Holmes was also a three-time Canadian Open Champion winning in 1982, 1983 and 1984. But it did not end there. Following graduation, Holmes continued to compete globally and made another Olympic appearance in 1988.
PRESENT: Simi Jayeoba
A newcomer on the scene, Simi Jayeoba is a second-year wrestler. As one of two Black female wrestlers on the team, Jayeoba is in the process of making a name for herself. Jayeoba ranked in the top 10 in Ontario’s 67kg category last year and won silver early on this year at the York University Open. As a Black woman wrestler, her just being able to compete at this level is something worth celebrating. The level I engineering student still has a way to go to for her wrestling career at McMaster but is an exciting prospect to watch along the way. Although there are no Black women in the Marauder Hall of Fame as of yet, it's not too late for Jayeoba to be the first.