The North Carolina General Assembly House floor in downtown Raleigh was full of ‘Eagle Pride’ on Feb. 15 as the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Football team strolled down center aisle to be honored for their 2022 HBCU National Football Championship title.
Led by university chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., head football coach Trei Oliver and athletics director Louis Perkins, Ph.D., the team was met with a round of applause and verbal declaration praising the team’s accomplishments.
The celebration continued in the afternoon at N.C. Governor Roy Cooper’s executive mansion where he proclaimed Feb. 15 as a day in recognition of the 2022 NCCU Football team.
“The NC Central Eagles showed amazing determination and passion in winning the 2022 National Championship at the Cricket Celebration Bowl and they made all North Carolina Carolinians proud,” said Governor Cooper. “Coach Oliver and his team deserve high praise for this accomplishment, and I’m glad to honor them here today.”
During the ceremony, Oliver and Akinleye also expressed their excitement regarding the football team’s performance – on and off the field.
“We are appreciative of Governor Cooper and his staff for the invitation to recognize our program for winning the 2022 HBCU National Football Championship. Our student-athletes, coaches and support staff have worked extremely hard to get us here,” said Oliver. “Their hard work and commitment to the process is what allowed us to make history. We are so proud to have been able to represent North Carolina Central University, the state of North Carolina and our community. Thank you, Governor Cooper for this special opportunity to be honored at the governor’s mansion.”
“The NCCU community is thrilled with the great performance of our football team this season,” said Akinleye. “From the first pre-season kickoff to the final Celebration Bowl whistle, they believed in each other, bought into their coaches’ program and delivered what we knew they could – a national championship. Beyond that, our student-athletes excelled in the classroom and we are so proud of them.”
On Dec. 17, 2022, NCCU Football defeated Jackson State University, 41-34, in the Cricket Celebration Bowl overtime thriller at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The university’s 2022 HBCU national title will join the company of those won in 1954, 2005 and 2006.