Stillman Set to Host League Tourneys
Big things are happening at Stillman College.
Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes, commissioner of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, visited Tuscaloosa from New Orleans to promote the upcoming GCAC 2024 Hope Credit Union Women's & Men's Basketball Championships and HBCU Admissions Fair. The college basketball conference tournament will be hosted by Visit Tuscaloosa at Stillman College's Birthright Alumni Hall from February 28 - March 3.
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Thursday, Dr. Barnes took a few minutes to talk one-on-one to the Tuscaloosa Thread/Townsquare Media about the upcoming event and how it fell into the place.
We asked Barnes about how Stillman landed in her conference.
"It's been a long time coming," she said. "We spent some time talking about the value of joining the NAIA's only HBCU conference. After looking at what the synergy could look like, it just made sense. We were really excited to receive their application."
How Did Stillman land the honor of hosting this event?
"They worked hard," Barnes noted. "They worked with Visit Tuscaloosa and said, 'I think we would be interested in having the opportunity to do the championship.
"They worked hard to put it a great bid and they did a good job with that bid. We thought it would be a great opportunity for us to be here and see what we could do together.
"There was a commitment from the community, the city of Tuscaloosa and Stillman. Clear support."
Barnes also credited the advice of former CEO and president of Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Don Staley for pointing her to Tuscaloosa as a host site.
And what's impressed Barnes in her trips to Tuscaloosa so far?
"The food. I went to Urban Bar & Kitchen. Best salmon I've ever had and I would call myself a connoisseur of salmon. Unbelievable.
"Got a chance to go to Archibald's today. Whew!
"Let me tell you: those two places -- Oh my God! Just amazing."
Hard to argue!
The tournament will be one of five college basketball conference tournaments happening in Alabama this year: GCAC (Tuscaloosa), Southern States Athletic Conference (Montgomery), Gulf South Conference (Homewood), Conference USA (Huntsville) and SWAC (Birmingham).