GREENSBORO (July 22, 2018) – North Carolina A&T’s quest for a second straight capture of the Big Four starts Monday. The Aggies will hold
The Aggies will hold several practices at Smith while N.C. A&T hosts the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympics Track and Field meet at Irwin Belk Track for the week of July 23.
N.C. A&T accomplished four difficult goals in 2017. They finished 12-0 to become the first Division I historically black college or university ever to finish undefeated or untied. The Aggies were also the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school to go undefeated. Their undefeated season allowed the Aggies to also secure the school’s third
The quest to collect the Big Four accomplishments again will have to happen despite significant change within the program. After seven years in which he incredibly turned around a dormant program, Rod Broadway walked away from coaching for good on Jan. 8, 2018 when he announced his retirement as the Aggies head coach. In the seven years before his arrival, the Aggies were 15-66. They were also under NCAA penalty with fewer practice hours, no spring practice and reduced scholarships.
In seven seasons, Broadway was 59-22, won three Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships, two Celebrations Bowls, two HBCU titles, had two players drafted and several others received NFL opportunities. He walked away with the best winning percentage (.728) in school history and he finished with an overall coaching record of 127-45 after spending four seasons apiece at N.C. Central and Grambling State.
Broadway turned the keys to the program over to his longtime assistant Sam Washington, the
In June, offensive coordinator Chip Hester accepted the head coaching position at Barton College, a fledgling Division II football program in Wilson, N.C. In each of the three seasons, Hester served as the
Raynard, who is 25-0 as the Aggies starting quarterback, is the reigning player of the year in the MEAC. Cartwright, who was tasked with replacing Cohen at running back last season, did it beautifully by racking up 1,190 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, earning a spot on the all-conference first team, being named Celebration Bowl Offensive MVP and landing on a few All-American teams. Bell was 47 yards shy of 1,000 yards receiving, caught a school-record 11 touchdown passes and he is seven touchdown receptions away from breaking the school’s career mark with two years of eligibility remaining.
In addition to those three stalwarts on offense, the Aggies have eight starters returning on defense including three first-team all-conference selections. That is excellent news considering Washington’s reputation for building stifling e defenses is what helped him earn the head coaching position at N.C. A&T.
“A lot of people would like to have what we have coming back,” said Washington. “Lamar, Bell
The Aggies have been the MEAC’s No. 1 total defense and scoring defense four times in the past seven years. They have had the No. 1 total defense in the conference three straight seasons. N.C. A&T has also had the No. 1 rush defense in the conference six times in seven years. Nationally, the Aggies defense has never ranked lower than 20th under Washington including a No. 4 ranking in 2017. The Aggies had the nation’s
The return of three offensive superstars and a stingy defense could have the Aggies back in contention for another run at going undefeated and winning the MEAC, Celebration Bowl
But the 2018 season opens with the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff as the Aggies will take on perennial top-10 FCS program Jacksonville State 6 p.m. EST, Aug. 25 in Montgomery, Ala. They will then travel to Greenville, N.C., to face FBS school East Carolina before playing their home opener against the Big South’s Gardner-Webb Bulldogs.
N.C. A&T will have an additional non-conference game this season due to Hampton’s departure from the MEAC. Their game against Morgan State on Sept. 22 will be considered a non-conference contest. There will then be a Thursday night affair at home against S.C. State on Sept. 27. That game will be followed by contests at Delaware State (Oct. 6), at home against Florida A&M (Oct. 13), at Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 20), at home against Norfolk State (Nov. 3), at Savannah State (Nov. 10) and at NCCU (Nov. 17).