UMES Athletics loses two distinguished Hawks

PRINCESS ANNE — Two great alumni of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore passed away earlier this month, and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics remembers their lives by the great contributions they made on the fields in Princess Anne and beyond.


Willie Wyatt, a quarterback for the Maryland State Hawks football team and pitcher on the baseball team, passed away in Tennessee at the age of 78 earlier this month. Wyatt excelled in both sports early on, but after injuries derailed his football career, he focused on baseball and upon graduation in 1963 was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies. He played a brief minor league career before injuries once again caught up with him.


His professional career over, Wyatt returned home to Maury County, Tennessee where he became a school teacher and high school coach. During his tenure there, he was an integral part in building good race relations during the tenuous time of integrating the state’s schools. In addition to coaching in high school, Wyatt coached football and basketball at Whitthorne Middle, where he taught. The school’s gymnasium was named after him for his efforts.

UMES recognized Wyatt’s accomplishments in Princess Anne by inducting him to the school’s athletics Hall of Fame in 1984.


Nicknamed “The Rolls Royce”, Benedict Cayenne, a track superstar for the Hawks in the 1960s, also passed away from cancer in New York earlier this month at the age of 70. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Benedict came to Maryland State in the 1960s and made outstanding contributions to the track & field team.


However, Cayenne is most remembered for achievements made outside of Princess Anne. He competed in six international games, most notably the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. There he became the first man from Trinidad & Tobago to make the 800 meter finals. While finishing eighth in those finals, he managed a silver medal in the same race at the 1970 Commonwealth Games.


When he wasn’t running in big time events, he served his native Trinidad & Tobago as a policeman. He was inducted in the UMES Hall of Fame in 1984, along with Wyatt.

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