MLB Youth Academy Helps Facilitate Xavier of Lousiana’s Return To Baseball 

    The New Orleans MLB Youth Academy, which is operated by Major League Baseball, and Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA), a Historically Black College & University (HBCU) in New Orleans, have partnered to help launch the university’s 2021 baseball and softball seasons in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

    This season marks the first-time baseball will be offered at Xavier (the only Catholic HBCU) since 1960, and the first-ever softball program in school history.

    As part of the agreement, both programs will receive full access for games and practices to the facilities at the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy, including Wesley Barrow Stadium, the artificial turf softball field, indoor/outdoor bullpens and batting cages, and the 200-square-foot climate-controlled press box.

    The teams are scheduled to play their first home games at the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy on Tuesday, February 23rd (baseball) and Saturday, February 27th (softball), respectively.

    As a further connection between the school and their new home facility, the baseball team will feature 10 alumni of the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy suiting up for the Gold.

    “Xavier University of Louisiana is grateful for this partnership with Major League Baseball and the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy to provide our teams full access to Wesley Barrow Stadium,” said Jason Horn, XULA assistant vice president for student affairs/director of athletics & recreation.

    “This facility access is critical and beneficial to Xavier’s relaunch of baseball and our debut softball season. Like the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy, Xavier is committed to increased participation in baseball and softball.”

    “Since opening in 2012, our Youth Academy in New Orleans has been a beacon for baseball and softball for the city and throughout Southern Louisiana,” said Tony Reagins, Chief Baseball Development Officer at Major League Baseball. “Our partnership with XULA is a signal of progress and indicative of how the sports have been rejuvenated in a big way within this region. The New Orleans MLB Youth Academy is proud to be the home of Xavier University baseball and softball, and we wish them well this season.”

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    Prior to the suspension of all sports programs at Xavier in 1960, the baseball program featured notable players, including RHP Earl McCree who became a member of the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro American League.

    His manager and teammate was Negro Leagues Legend Buck O’Neil. XULA athletic teams have a rich tradition, winning nearly 150 team championships at regional, conference and district levels and producing many All-America athletes.

    Xavier was founded by Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and opened its doors in 1925. XULA’s ultimate purpose is to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society.

    Adrian Holloway Named Head Coach

    Said Holloway: “It is an honor and privilege to be given this opportunity to bring baseball back to Xavier University of Louisiana. Together we will build a program that will leave a legacy for years to come with an emphasis on the development of young men on and off the field. My goal is to build a program that the Xavier family and the city of New Orleans will be proud of. We will hit the ground running in recruiting top talent to revitalize baseball at Xavier.”

    Holloway was the head coach at Selma University in Selma, Alabama (2014-19) for the past six seasons. During that time the Bulldogs’ accomplishments include:

    • A 117-59 (.665) record.

    • Six consecutive national tournament appearances.

    • World Series appearances in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association in 2019, 2018 and 2014.

    • No. 1 power rankings in the USCAA in 2019 and 2018, plus a No. 1 ranking in the USCAA in 2014.

    • Top-10 rankings in the National Christian College Athletic Association: No. 6 in 2015 and No. 10 in 2016.

    • Individuals selected for 11 HBCU All-America awards.

    MLB Youth Academy Provides Facilities

    The New Orleans MLB Youth Academy provides free or low-cost baseball and softball instruction as well as programming to youth from New Orleans and throughout Southern Louisiana. Programs like Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and development experiences – such as the Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series, Hank Aaron Invitational and Elite Development Invitational – are all available to Academy members.

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    The Youth Academy also provides vocational opportunities for its youth participants, notably a Sports Law program with Tulane University as well as a robust Jr. Broadcasting program. The Academy has hosted a number of special events over the years, including the Andre Dawson Classic, PLAY BALL events, Pitch, Hit & Run competitions, and the annual SWAC Baseball Tournament.

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    The New Orleans MLB Youth Academy is part of a network of Youth Academies located throughout the U.S. and in Puerto Rico.  All facilities provide similar baseball, softball, educational and sports-related vocational programming.

    The 11 operational facilities in the MLB Youth Academy network across the United States and Puerto Rico include the Bronx (N.Y.), Chicago, Cincinnati, Compton, Dallas, Gurabo (Puerto Rico), Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.