Rod Broadway enters his fourth season as the head football coach at North Carolina A&T. The Aggies football program has made tremendous strides under Broadway’s first three years of stewardship. A year before Broadway’s arrival, the Aggies were 1-10. In his first season, they improved four games to 5-6. The past two seasons the Aggies have put together consecutive 7-4 seasons. He is 19-14 (.576) over his first three years as the Aggies head man.
The back-to-back winning seasons were the programs first since posting winning seasons in 2000 and 2001. The Aggies were even able to get off to a 3-0 start in 2013, including an upset win over three-time FCS national champion Appalachian State in Boone, N.C. It was the first time the Mountaineers had lost to an in-state opponent at home since 1984. The Aggies also finished the season with the No. 1 rush defense in the nation and No. 4 overall defense in the country.
Broadway has turned the Aggies into a winner despite numerous obstacles he inherited when he arrived on campus in February of 2011. Broadway took over a program mired in NCAA sanctions stemming from a low graduation rate. As a result, Broadway has taken on the task of building a winner despite having reduced practice hours, fewer scholarships and little to no spring practice. Instead of making excuses, Broadway changed the football culture at A&T. He revitalized A&T’s program with a stingy defense and a stringent focus on accountability on the football field and in the classroom.
One of his first initiatives was to make his players proud of the A&T legacy. Before each home game, they visit the statue (on campus) of four men and former A&T students (David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Joseph A. McNeil and Jibreel Khazan formerly known as Ezell Blair, Jr.) largely credited with ushering in the modern day civil rights movement with their famous Feb. 1, 1960 sit-in at a Greensboro F.W. Woolworth’s lunch counter.
His focus on academic excellence resulted in 34 football players earning a 3.0 grade point average or better during the 2012 fall semester. Twenty-one players were named A&T scholar athletes in 2013.
In addition, A&T’s annual academic progress rate score, the score that measures progress toward degree, improved to 944 in single year 2011-12, releasing the Aggies from NCAA sanctions. The single-year score improved to 948 the following year.
The foundation for the Aggies’ resurgence on the field has been defense. In three years, the Aggies overall defense has ranked no lower than eighth nationally. A&T’s run defense has never finished lower than seventh nationally. The Aggies held six different opponents to under 100 yards rushing in 2013. Overall, nine players earned either first, second or third-team All-MEAC and Tarik Cohen was named MEAC Rookie of the Year. Cohen was also a Jerry Rice finalist for best FCS freshman in the nation and two of his teammates – Nathan Isles and Ayodeji Olatoye – signed free agent contracts with NFL teams.
The prior year opponents went an amazing 17 straight quarters without scoring an offensive touchdown against the Aggies defense. The Aggies were also No. 1 nationally in pass defense efficiency in 2012. The second year under Broadway also produced two first-team All-MEAC performers in cornerback D’Vonte Graham and left tackle William Ray Robinson III. Three more defensive players earned second-team honors in defensive tackle Chris Neal, linebacker D’Vonte Grant and safety Travis Crosby.
In his first year, Broadway became the first Aggie head coach in school history to produce a 2,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver.
Mike Mayhew, the Aggies 1,000-yard back in 2011, was named MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Wallace Miles, the 1,000-yard receiver, signed an NFL free agent contract with the Detroit Lions. Defensively, Grant became a Jerry Rice Finalist for best freshman in the Division I-FCS after he led the Aggies in tackles.
Broadway came to A&T with an impressive history of winning championships with a brand of football that is exciting offensively and punishing defensively. In his last two head coaching positions – N.C. Central and Grambling State – each school came away with a Black College National Championship.
Broadway has compiled an 87-37 (.702) record over 11years as a head coach. Before taking over the difficult task of rebuilding an Aggies program with just 14 wins in the previous seven seasons before his arrival, Broadway spent four seasons (2007-10) at Grambling State. The Tigers went 35-12 under his leadership.
The year before he arrived at GSU, the Tigers went 3-8. During his first season there in 2008, the Tigers finished second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and made an appearance in the SWAC Championship Game. Five players received either All-American or All-SWAC honors, and Broadway was a finalist for the nationally-recognized Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
The impact of Broadway’s arrival was seen on both sides of the football. Grambling went from an average defense to one of the fiercest in the country. The Tigers ranked 12th nationally in total defense, eighth in rushing defense and 11th in scoring defense.
Grambling held three of their opponents to fewer than 30 yards, and 10 of their opponents committed three or more turnovers. Offensively, wide receiver Clyde Edwards earned FCS Fabulous 50 All-American honors and running back Frank Warren was named SWAC Freshman of the Year.
Year two led to even more improvements for the GSU program. The Tigers ascended to the top of the SWAC with a 9-0 record and a 41-9 win over Jackson State in the SWAC Championship Game. GSU’s 2008 season also produced an 11-2 overall mark, a No. 24 national ranking in the Sports Network Division I-FCS poll and a Black College National Championship.
Defense was the catalyst for the Tigers’ success as they finished the season ranked No. 1 nationally in turnover margin, pass efficiency defense and had a No. 7 ranking in rush defense. In addition, three players earned All-American honors, nine were named All-SWAC and five players earned Louisiana Sports Writers Association recognition. Accolades for Broadway included being named SWAC Coach of the Year and The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C., Coach of the Year.
In 2009, GSU continued to play well. The Tigers finished 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the SWAC. The Tigers led the nation in punt return yardage and they had the ninth-best scoring offense. The next season resulted in a 9-2 mark that was complemented by an 8-1 SWAC record. The Tigers’ rushing attack produced more than 200 yards per game, which ranked 15th nationally.
During his career at GSU, Broadway also showed he had a hankering for winning rivalry games. He went 3-1 against archrival Southern. He also owns the best winning percentage in program history, even better than legendary GSU head coach Eddie Robinson.
Before his stint at GSU, Broadway turned N.C. Central into a Division II national power. His four-year stint (2003-06) at N.C. Central produced a 33-11 record, back-to-back CIAA titles for the first time in 50 years and the Eagles made two consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division II Playoffs. The 2006 season was the highlight of Broadway’s tenure at NCCU.
Broadway led the Eagles to an 11-1 season and the top seed in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region. After fielding the No. 1 rated offense in the CIAA and the 15th ranked defense nationally, individual honors included two players being named Associated Press Little All-Americans.
There were also 12 players named All-CIAA, 10 Eagles earned Daktronics All-Southeast Region recognition and four members from the 2006 team were named SBN All-Americans, including freshman quarterback Stadford Brown, who was also named SBN Player of the Year. During his stint at NCCU, Broadway also put together a 16-game regular-season winning streak and led the Eagles to their first-ever victory over a SWAC opponent with a win over Southern in 2006.
Broadway began his collegiate coaching career at East Carolina University in 1979. His other coaching positions included stays at Duke University (1981-94), the University of Florida (1995-00) and the University of North Carolina (2001-02). As an assistant at UNC, Broadway helped the Tar Heels to a No. 15 national ranking in total defense and an appearance in the Peach Bowl.
At Florida, he served as a member of the Steve Spurrier’s staff. In 1996, he helped the Gators win an NCAA National Championship. Broadway’s stay also included four SEC Championships and six bowl appearances. The Gators defense led the SEC in sacks four straight seasons (1996-99), and the team set a school record for fewest rushing yards allowed, as offenses produced just 70.7 yards per game.
A 1977 graduate of UNC, Broadway played on the Tar Heels defensive line from 1974-77. He earned the team’s Outstanding Freshman award in 1974 as he helped the Tar Heels earn a Sun Bowl berth. In 1977, he earned All-ACC honors along with the team’s Most Outstanding Senior honor.
Broadway and his wife LaTonia live in Greensboro. They have three sons and four grandchildren.