This year’s NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award recognized the impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) throughout college football’s nearly 150-year history Thursday at The Home Depot College Football Awards.
ESPN college football analyst Jay Walker, a former quarterback for Howard University and member of the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame, presented the award during tonight’s show. Accepting the award on behalf of the HBCU community were:
- Rod Broadway: Most recently, Broadway was the head coach at North Carolina A&T State before retiring in 2017. He is the only coach to win a Black College National Championship at three different schools—North Carolina A&T, Grambling State and North Carolina Central.
- Marino Casem: Known as “The Godfather,” Casem won seven SWAC Championships as head coach at Alcorn State. He is a four-time Black College National Champion (’68, ’69,’74, ’84) and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
- Archie Cooley: Known as “The Gunslinger,” Cooley served as head football coach at Mississippi Valley State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Norfolk State, and Paul Quinn College. He was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 2007.
- Bill Hayes: Hayes is the winningest coach ever at both Winston-Salem Sate and NC A&T, compiling nearly 200 wins over 27 seasons, and winning the Black College National Championship in 1990 and ’99. He was named the 1997 National Small College Coach of the Year and inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
- Willie Jeffries: Jeffries served as head football coach at South Carolina State (1943-78, 1989-01), Wichita State (1973-83), and Howard University (1984-88). His tenure at Wichita State made Jeffries the first African American head coach of a Division I-A program at a predominately white school. He lead three South Carolina State teams to Black College National Championships (’76, ’77, ’94) and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
The presentation of the award also included a feature that showcased interviews with prominent coaches, athletes and writers as they reflect on the impact of HBCU schools as well as an appearance by the Florida A&M University marching band. Interviewees include:
- Tarik Cohen: Chicago Bears running back and North Carolina A&T alumnus
- Roscoe Nance: Current chairman of the Black College Football Hall of Fame selection committee and former writer for USA Today
- Jay Walker: ESPN football analyst and former quarterback for Howard University.
- John X. Miller: Senior editor of ESPN’s The Undefeated, the premier platform for exploring the intersection of race, sports and culture
- Doug Williams: Senior vice president of player personnel, and Super Bowl XXII MVP, for the Washington Redskins; former Grambling State quarterback.
ESPN’s The Undefeated will be live on the Red Capet covering The Home Depot College Football Awards. Follow along – and join the conversation – on their social platforms on Facebook and Instagram (@undefeatedespn), and all related HBCU content will be available on The Undefeated, ESPN’s platform focusing on the intersections of sports, race and culture.