When the CIAA Basketball tournament makes its presence in Charm City Tuesday, February 22 through Saturday, February 26, 2022, at Royal Farms Arena, the annual affair will serve as the first competitive basketball tournament to appear in Baltimore since 1952. 

It will also serve as the CIAA Tourney’s first site-change since 2005.

   For the past 16 years, the CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament has been held in the Queen City of Charlotte, North Carolina, headquarters for the Central Interscholastic Athletic Association (CIAA).

   Livingstone College head basketball coach, James Stinson, recently stated that he and several of his CIAA head-coaching colleagues are eager to make the relocation to Baltimore.

   “It was fine staying at home, in North Carolina, since our college is based in Salisbury, N.C. – only 45-minutes from Charlotte, but I have faith in our CIAA leadership. They are focused on spreading the good news and the wealth of our conference to other parts of the country. It’s our way of establishing a foot-print for our northern schools, such as Lincoln University and Bowie State – while maintaining the rich heritage of the CIAA.

   “It also offers other fans a chance to not have to travel so far, and for the more southern fans a chance to travel and see a different landscape in the culturally-rich, urban setting known as Bmore,” said the well-spoken head coach.

   Stinson, 56, is a Charlotte native and has served as Livingstone’s top man since 2004. Prior to that, he worked in assistant roles at Barber-Scotia College (Concorde, N.C,) and on the high school and junior high school levels. Stinson played high school hoops at North Mecklenburg High School and was a key player during his college years at Barber-Scotia College.

   The Blue Bears hoops program was fledgling before Stinson took over the helm. Once a perennial doormat in the CIAA’s Southern Division, Stinson immediately had impact upon being named head coach – leading the men’s basketball team to its first-ever appearance in the CIAA’s final four during his first year.

   In recent tourneys, Livingstone won back-to-back CIAA Tourney titles (2013, 2014) and was defeated in the 2015 title game by Virginia State in a three-peat title attempt.

   In 2020, Stinson won his 500th game, during his 30-year career. The team’s current record is 12-8 and 9-5 in the CIAA’s Southern Division. Winston-Salem State leads the division, followed by Fayetteville State. Stinson said his team is in third place, en route to the tournament. Stinson also acknowledged that Livingstone’s football program is also on the come-up, and is now headed by former LA Rams defensive stalwart Sean Gilbert, an Aliquippa, Pennsylvania native— also the hometown to Mike Ditka; Tony Dorsett; Ty Law; and Darrelle Revis.

   ”Recruiting is on the upswing,” he added.

   Stinson says his coaching influences include the late John Thompson (Georgetown); the late John Cheyney (Temple); and the late Clarence “Big House” Gaines (Winston-Salem State University). 

   “All those men stood for helping and mentoring young African-American men. In addition to teaching basketball brilliance, they also focused on academic success— I take that legacy from them. And even further, to me, basketball is a ministry and I’m here to help,” said Stinson, who takes pride in a Catholic primary school foundation, coupled with a Sunday-based Southern Baptist doctrine – both supported by his parents. 

Timothy Cox
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