The NFL 101 Awards’ NFC Coach of the Year honor is not unique for Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera, who will be handed the plaque for the third time on March 6. But few of his predecessors can say they achieved that title while battling cancer.

Rivera turned around a team that won only 17 games during the last three seasons to an NFC East title in 2020 and did so while battling cancer.

“Thank you, everyone, for your prayers, letters, texts & notes of encouragement & support,” Rivera said on Twitter after officially announcing that he is cancer-free on Jan. 28. “It truly made a difference in my treatment & recovery!”

After each NFL season, the civic organization called “The Committee of 101” hosts the 101 Awards.

Each year, 101 members of the national media select the Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year in the American Football Conference and National Football Conference.

Rivera is the third Washington coach to win the award, joining two Burgundy and Gold legends, George Allen (1971 and 1976) and Joe Gibbs (1983).

CIAA Football to Resume

The Bowie State University Department of Athletics department has recently released its 10-game football schedule for the 2021 season after no football occurred in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bulldogs finished the 2019 season on top, going 11-1, being undefeated in conference play (7-0), and repeated as conference champions.

“I’m excited about our 2021 schedule as we start with a very tough non-conference schedule”, said Bowie State head football coach Damon Wilson.

“We will have several challenges even before we start conference play,” he said, noting that the Bulldogs will open the season with games against Football Championship Subdivision foes before turning to other Division II opponents.

“As a staff, we have worked extremely hard to put a roster together that we feel will represent the university well. Our schedule will provide the program to compete against three different respected conferences,” Wilson said.

The Bulldogs will kick off their season on the road against Division I Delaware State University on Sept. 4 then face Saginaw Valley State University (Mich.) for the first time in school history on Sept. 11. Bowie State will take on the University of New Haven on the road before opening conference play.

The Bulldogs will open conference play in week four and face Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. on Sept. 25.

Bowie State will round out the rest of the season playing Johnson C. Smith University (Home), Chowan University (Away), Virginia State University (Home), Virginia Union University (Away), Lincoln University (Away) and end the regular season against Elizabeth State University (Home).

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Conference Championship will occur on Nov. 13, with a game-time yet to be determined.

Howard Women Keep It Going

Howard University’s women’s basketball team is riding high on a three-game win streak after blowing past Delaware State University, 71-60 on Jan. 30.

Howard guard Jayla Thornton knocked down a season-high seven 3-pointers while guard Iyanna Warren distributed eight assists, a career-high, to come out on top.

The next game was postponed in anticipation of bad weather, but the Bison will resume play against Morgan State University (7-2) at home on Feb. 6-7 in a two-game slate. Howard has split the series 1-1 this season.

D.C. United Announces 2021 Season, Retains Talent

Major League Soccer (MLS) announced on Jan. 25 that the 2021 regular season is slated to begin on April 3, featuring 34 matches from 27 clubs, and the preseason will start on Feb. 22.

United will represent the Eastern Conference in the league’s 26th season. COVID-19 testing protocols will again play an essential role in the MLS competition structure.

MLS noted that they continue to work closely with the league and MLSPA’s infectious disease advisors on health and safety protocols, including testing.

Players will be required to quarantine and have individual training when reporting back to their respective clubs during the season.

In other news, United has resigned defender Chris Odoi-Atsem through 2022 and midfielder Felipe Martins through 2021.

Odoi-Atsem appeared in 15 games last season, totaled 769 minutes, and scored his first goal on a 78th-minute game-winner in the 2-1 victory against FC Cincinnati on Oct. 18, 2020.

“Chris has really grown as a player since he joined the club, and he had his best season last year, consistently performing well for us at outside back,” said Dave Kasper, general manager and vice president of soccer operations for D.C. United.

Martins played in 16 games for United last season and recorded three assists.

“We know Felipe will return stronger than ever next season, and we look forward to him continuing to play a leadership role for us,” Kasper said of Martins.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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