Rocky Mount, N.C. – The American Basketball Association has officially introduced an expansion franchise named the “Carolina Cougars” in the Rocky Mount area, and in collaboration with North Carolina Wesleyan College, the Cougars will utilize NCWC’s Everett Gymnasium as its home court.
In an announcement made at Everett Gym on April 25, Dr. Levonder Brinkley, owner of the franchise and “Carolina Cats Sports & Entertainment”, formally introduced the Cougars to the Rocky Mount community. Brinkley, a 1982 alumna of NCWC, praised Wesleyan for the quality in education she received and the opportunity the institution provided her.
“I have attended 8 universities, but NC Wesleyan excelled the others in terms of a quality education and preparing me for public service,” Brinkley said. “As a result of my education and preparedness at this institution, I am able to return and impact our community by bringing in economic and personal development opportunities.”
Brinkley plans to use that education in public service to benefit the Rocky Mount area. Her Cougars franchise will call Wesleyan’s Don Scalf Court home this coming season, and will provide both opportunity and entertainment in the local community.
“We are aligned with the mission of the ABA League to provide the realization of the dream to play professional basketball for local athletes; wholesome, fun, affordable family entertainment in the form of basketball games, concerts and other forms of entertainment; and opportunities for personal development and economic empowerment for the betterment of the lives of the families and children in the communities we serve,” Brinkley stated. “We envision communities in the Twin-County and Halifax County area, where dreams do become reality and all people live, work, and play in harmony with the absence of poverty, violence, and juvenile delinquency as families and children enjoy and participate in the fun, friendly, and affordable entertainment provided by our Carolina Cats professional basketball teams.”
Coach Johnny Tyson, former coach of the highly-ranked ABA Texas FUEL, is slated to be the head coach while the squad will be managed by former Air Force player and Coach as well as “Carolina Cats Sports & Entertainment” Vice President of Operations Tommy Stevenson.
“We’re very excited about adding this third team to our organization,” added Stevenson. “There are a lot of tremendous players in North Carolina and we will have a wonderful division with some excellent competition.”
Along with the Cougars, Brinkley’s “Carolina Cats Sports & Entertainment” franchise includes two other teams. The Carolina Jaguars from the Raleigh-Durham area and the Trefour Cheetahs from Greensboro. All three teams are set to begin play this December.
ABA CEO Joe Newman noted, “Dr. Brinkley and her two daughters, LoveN’der Avent Alston and Lexandria Avent are putting together quite an organization with the Jaguars and Trefour Cheetahs. The Carolina Cougars should be a tremendous addition to the league.”
Mayor of Rocky Mount, David W. Combs spoke at the event and noted how excited he was about the addition of the professional franchise to the city. “I can’t stress enough how excited I am about the opportunity this will provide for local talent to continue doing something they love in the game of basketball.”
Brinkley also noted her excitement for the opportunity of those athletes, but also stressed what she feels is the larger picture; “I’m not here for the game of basketball, I’m here for what the game of basketball can do for our community.”
Among those media members present at the event was Time Warner Cable’s “Carolina News 14” which can be turned to for full coverage of the event.