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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard University men’s basketball is set for a historic visit to Morehouse College in its season opener when the two teams meet at McAfee Court at Forbes Arena in Atlanta on Monday, Nov. 7 at 5:00 p.m. as the Crimson visits the Maroon Tigers for the first time.

The contest continues a hallmark of the Crimson program of creating memorable moments beyond the basketball court under Tommy AmakerThe Thomas G. Stemberg ’71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men’s Basketball, that has included playing Historically Black Colleges and Universities in both home and away venues and taking part in opportunities to engage in Civil Rights history.

“With Morehouse, it’s meaningful,” Amaker said. “We’ve tried to find different moments in our schedule and program to create meaningful moments. We have an opportunity to return the game down in Atlanta at Morehouse and do things around that game and historic institution as an HBCU. That has been a part of our plan forever to have a vision of participating in games like this with HBCUs. Not only to play them but to play them on their respective campuses in their environments and to bring Harvard there, which is something that we are proud to do.”

Harvard last traveled to Atlanta to play Mercer during the 2018-19 season. As part of that trip, the Crimson toured historic Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. landmarks and attended a service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King was a pastor in the 1960s. At the church, the team had the opportunity to meet the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. After meeting President Carter and taking in a service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the team visited the King Center and ate at Paschal’s – a famous soul food restaurant where Dr. King met with his colleagues during the Civil Rights movement.

“I have always seen myself as more than a coach and I have always known that Harvard is more than a school,” Amaker said. “When I joined the Harvard community, I did so with the vision of building a championship program and of developing young men who are multifaceted in their talents: ‘Scholars & Ballers.’ The accomplishment that I am proudest of in my tenure here is that I feel we have been able to educate on and off the court. Our program goes beyond the 94×50.”

In alignment with the Morehouse game, Harvard has created a similar connection with its series with Howard University. The Crimson and Bison have met six times since the 2013-14 season, including contests in Washington, D.C. in the 2015-16, 2018-19, and 2019-20 seasons. As part of those trips to the nation’s capital, the Crimson has learned about the culture and impact of Howard, spent time at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and visited the United States Supreme Court.

“We’re going to use it as an opportunity to bring Harvard and Morehouse alums together to collaborate and create,” Amaker said. “Hopefully that will spur other ideas on between the two institutions, which we’ve done with the Howard game. Now we see more Harvard-Howard contests. We’ve learned about the history of both institutions through that way. It’s very meaningful.”

Coach Amaker’s “Teach. Lead. Serve.” mantra and “Beyond the 94×50” philosophy have influenced all aspects of the program, including the team’s monthly meetings of The Breakfast Club, the program’s “Campus VIP” partnership, and attendance at a variety of campus events that promote the positive social impact of industry leaders. As part of these events, the Crimson has met with such figures as President Barack Obama, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Raphael Warnock.

Coach Amaker has also worked to play a role in achieving greater equality in our society, including as a founding member of the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative and as the co-chair of the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Racial Reconciliation Committee.

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