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Groce thankful for his N.C. State roots

ST. LOUIS — Raleigh holds a special place in Ohio coach John Groce's heart, and not just because it's where he got his first break into major college basketball. Groce met his wife, Allison, when he was an assistant at N.C. State under Herb Sendek in the late 1990s.

"Obviously, that's a big part of it," Groce said. "I really enjoyed my time there. I learned a lot there at a very young age."

Groce, 40, in his third season as the head coach of the Bobcats, who face North Carolina tonight in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

Remembering Chris Hondros

I didn't know Chris Hondros until yesterday, when I wrote about his death.

I came away impressed.

Hondros, 41, was a war photographer who won some of his industry's top honors for his incredible work covering the world's diciest battles.

A graduate of N.C. State, Hondros was drawn to war, to its stories, its relevance and its victims.

He studied English literature at NCSU. One of his early bosses, Johnny Horne of the Fayetteville Observer, told me that area of study grounded Hondros and gave him a unique world view. It helped him related to people, no matter their race, nationality, background.

Hondros died Wednesday, caught up in the bloodshed in Libya.

Here's today's story.

And here's a link to a tribute posted on an NCSU website.

Saving the black male college student

N.C. Central Univeristy has joined a resource-sharing consortium with eight other universities aimed in part at improving the academic performance of African-American male college students.

The project is called Interlink Alliance and joins eight historically black institutions with Ohio University to share ideas and resources and will include faculty and student-exchange programs.

Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte is the other member from North Carolina.

More information is available here.

Historically black institutions have long struggled to improve the academic performance of black, male students, a challenge the leaders of this new initiative acknowledge.

"We felt that the African-American male was an endangered species and that we needed to do something that would allow the matriculation and graduation of more African-American males throughout our institutions as well as others," said Roderick McDavis, Ohio University's president, speaking to Diverse, a higher education publication.

Less than 34 percent of black, male freshmen at North Carolina's public historically black colleges who enrolled in 2000 graduated after six years, according to UNC system data.

At NCCU, 34.7 percent of black, male students graduated in that time frame, according to the data.

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