NORMAL – The Alabama A&M family was saddened today when they learn that defensive line coach Benjamin Blacknall passed away.
Coach Blacknall had been a part of the Bulldog football coaching staff for six seasons and served as the recruiting coordinator. Blacknall spent four seasons as the head coach at Delaware State from 2000-2003.
He was no stranger to head coach Anthony Jones. Jones and Blacknall have shared numerous other coaching destinations. Blacknall's coaching stops include North Carolina A&T (1972-76), South Carolina State (1977-78; 1989-98), Wichita State (1979-83), Howard (1984-88), and Morehouse (1999).
While the head coach at Delaware State, he led the Hornets to a 20-25 record before leaving coaching for the business world. In 2000, he was named MEAC Coach of the Year.
"My condolences go out to his family, the team and the coaching staff," said head coach Anthony Jones. "I lost a good friend today and the university lost a good man. His services at the university were greatly appreciated. He will be missed."
In 2007, under Blacknall's direction, defensive end Jeremy Maddox continued A&M's strong tradition leading the SWAC in sacks. In Blacknall's first season with the Bulldogs, Christopher Traylor completed the same feat. Maddox finished second in the SWAC in sacks in 2008 and earned all-conference honors. In 2009 he led the conference with 12. Junior Willie Fuller looks to carry the torch as he finished 2009 second on the team with six sacks. Fuller added to his career total with another six sacks this time leading the team and finishing 14th in the conference.
Blacknall earned a Bachelor's degree from North Carolina A&T in 1975 and is a member of the school's Hall of Fame.
Blacknall had a natural ability to communicate and easily carry a conversation, whether that is with a top-notch recruit and his family, at an alumni event, or coordinating the annual golf tournament. This ability made Blacknall a perfect fit as the Bulldogs' recruiting coach.