My experiences at North Carolina Central University has taught me a lot of things about my university. In fact I would even argue that my university has disappointed me so many times that I tend to lose optimism when it comes to challenges. Last night was an exception that I sincerely hope continues to trend at my alma mater. Honestly I have never been more proud of my university than I am today. That crowd last night was amazing.
The fact that the game was on national television was enough to get me hype but I was not going into this big game without issuing a challenge to NCCU fans, alums, and current students about attendance to the game on Thursday. I put the word out on social media and many people shot back with the usual reasons why they couldn't come and I just spun it on them. To my surprise the efforts worked like a charm.
It's a good thing too as ESPNU was showcasing a university that has gone through lots of change. If you attended NCCU before the year 2000 and you walked on campus today, you wouldn't recognize the place. Unfortunately for the football team you can say some of the same things. Honestly since the Eagles shined as Black College National Champions in 2006, there hasn't been a lot to cheer about for the Marroon and Grey.
Things are changing at NCCU. Crowds that used to boo are now cheering. A team that used to finds ways to give away games are now finding ways to steal them. A university that was comfortable in its shell is now finding a way to expand and "spread it's wings".
Last night was a culmination of the fight that has to take place in order for a team to get respect and be successful. In front of a national televised crowd, NCCU took all of the punches that Hampton could throw at them and turned it into a ceremonial victory that the team could be proud of. There were instances where you felt like the Eagles were sputtering and returning to their old ways of normalcy but there is definitely something different about this NCCU Eagles football team.
It all starts at the top as Coach Henry Frazier has sold these guys something and they are buying in to what he was selling. Watching him around the guys, it's easy to see why they respond to him. He is fair and he calls it like he see's it.
He has surrounded himself with some very talented young coaches on both sides of the ball. These guys are hungry and they are all working in hopes of obtaining the gratification of winning week in and week out.
It's easy to congratulate people when they are winning. In fact most people prefer that method. I however can tell a lot about a person when they lose. Watching these guys handle failure just led me to believe that they were going to obtain success sooner rather than later.
Watching the Eagles handle the national television pressure was gratifying. I have never gotten so many phone calls of approval for where the program is headed. I think it's safe to say we are in good hands and that the team is headed in the right direction.
One thing is for sure, ESPNU hasn't had a game like that on Thursday night in the two years they have been doing HBCU games on television and I think it is safe to say they will be longing to get back to the land where EAGLES FLY HIGH!