Cheyney's Richard Coleman to Compete in 9th Annual Black College Quiz Bowl

November 10, 2014

Cheyney University Senior Richard Coleman will represent CU at the 9th Annual Black College Quiz Bowl in Atlanta, GA November 18 - November 23 -- Photo Credit: Matthew Howard

Cheyney University Senior Richard Coleman will represent CU at the 9th Annual Black College Quiz Bowl in Atlanta, GA November 18 - November 23 -- Photo Credit: Matthew Howard

Richard Coleman is in, what he calls, "the knowledge acquisition phase."  The Cheyney University senior is gearing up for the taping of the 9th Annual Black College Quiz Bowl which will take place November 18 - November 23 in Atlanta, Georgia and air on television early next year. The Quiz Bowl features HBCU (Historically Black College and University) students from around the country showcasing their knowledge of African American history. Coleman was selected to represent Cheyney at the competition. 

"I saw Travonya (Kenly) do it last year and it seemed like she had fun. My main reason for doing it, though, was to try to strengthen my performance in different categories for the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) Competition and to be a stronger competitor for Honda."

Kenly, also a senior, wound up taking second place and winning $3500 in last year's Black College Quiz Bowl. She and Coleman have competed on Cheyney's Varsity HCASC team in the past. Just this month, Coleman's team took first place in the university-wide tournament which helps organizers choose which four players will compete on this year's varsity HCASC team in Torrance, CA in March 2015. The HCASC Competition engages some of the best and brightest students at America's HBCUs.

"I'm very competitive. I like being good at something and learning is what has to happen to facilitate that," Coleman says. To make sure that he's prepared for this month's entertaining quiz show, he's read the 150 page study guide from front to back and read another, more specific version.  He carries around more than 300 handmade note cards full of black history, and facts on HBCUs, pop culture, social media, celebrities and more.  He's learning a lot. For example, he had no idea one of his favorite basketball players of all-time, Shaquille O'Neal, received a doctorate degree in Leadership and Education with a specialization in Human Resource Development, from Barry University School of Education in Miami, FL. 

Coleman has a great coach drilling him and helping him--Dr. Hazel Spears, Assistant Professor in Cheyney's Social & Behavioral Sciences Department. Just last year, she won $15,300 on the ABC television game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.

"I get the biggest thrill every time I watch our Cheyney students compete in these events," shares Dr. Spears. "We may not always win, but we always make a good showing. Last year, Travonya earned herself a nice bit of money, and she was terrific. Rich Coleman is another sharp competitor, and I know he'll do well."

Grateful for the vote of confidence, the 22-year-old is trying to strategize. "My memory is good, but I don't want to crack under pressure. If I can just get rid of my initial nerves and showcase what I've been studying, I really think I can be good."

The General Science major plans to go to graduate school after getting his undergraduate diploma in May and, eventually, go into the computer science field or become a chemistry teacher.  He's come a long way since freshman year.  The football recruit couldn't decide which of five schools to attend until he got a call from Keystone Honors Academy Dean Tara Kent who told him he was a scholarship recipient. "The vibes were so welcoming.  She said, 'we want to see you here. We want to see you succeed.'  This is a very family oriented university," Coleman acknowledges, "and I'm glad I came here."

Always excited to travel and see new places, Coleman hopes to see more of Atlanta than he did years ago when his family made a gas station stop there on their way to Walt Disney World. This time, he'll have an energetic, encouraging coach by his side, cheering him on every step of the way, and helping him prepare for the grueling competition.

"Just having the confidence, or faking it, to get in the game and do one's best is a character building feat," Spears smiles. "I love these events, and our Cheyney students always make us proud. It is very rewarding to be their coach."

To learn more about the Black College Quiz Bowl, click on