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After 45 years, baseball is back at Philander Smith College



Little Rock, Arkansas – Several college baseball teams across the nation began to play on Friday.

For Philander Smith College, the 2023 season is particularly significant because it is the school’s first with a baseball program in 45 years.

Coach Noah Suarez of the Panthers, who compete in the NAIA’s Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC), is enthusiastic about the prospects.

“I’ve had guys that played on the team in the ’60s come up to me and just tell me congratulations,” Suarez said. “And how proud they are that Philander Smith has a baseball team again.”

Charlie McAdoo, a former player, is one of them. He recalled going across the nation with his colleagues and playing ball with ardor.

McAdoo acknowledged that the trip had been everything from simple for him and the university.

“It was back in the ’60s [and] it was also part of the transition,” McAdoo said. “A lot of HBCUs did not have all the resources.”

Officials from Philander Smith College informed us that the college had to eliminate the baseball program due to severe budget cuts made in the past.

The HBCU felt it was time for the game to continue decades later, but the school first needed to hire a head coach.

“We weren’t even supposed to have a team this year,” Suarez said.

Suarez claims that the GCAC informed him he couldn’t wait, despite the fact that the initial plan called for re-launching the initiative in 2024.

Suarez set to work right away, signing 21 baseball players in just 14 days.

“I got guys from all over the world,” Suarez said. “I have guys from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, and Utah.”

The freshly constituted club prepared for its fourth game of the season on Saturday morning.

The lengthy history of the team is what drew junior Mitchell Brown to it. He wants to play in the major leagues and is an aspiring baseball player.

“It’s just like a breath of fresh new air,” Brown said. “Getting back into baseball and kind of being the setting stone for years to come.”

The Philander Smith Panthers’ return to the baseball field excites McAdoo.

“We’re back where we need to be,” McAdoo said.


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