Parade and pep rally celebrate NCCU's HBCU football national championship

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Saturday, January 21, 2023 11:55PM
NCCU parade, pep rally celebrates HBCU national championship
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There was a big celebration at North Carolina Central University's campus today to honor the 2022 HBCU National Football Champions, the NCCU Eagles.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- There was a big celebration at North Carolina Central University's campus today to honor the 2022 HBCU National Football Champions, the NCCU Eagles.

ABC11 was there for the whole thing, streaming it live on the ABC11 North Carolina streaming app.

"I'm class of 1976 and I love the Eagles and I support them all the time. It was fantastic, think about it we beat Deion Sanders," Brenda Anderson said.

NCCU's football team defeated Deion Sanders coached Jackson State University, 41-34 in the Cricket Celebration Bowl at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Dec. 17.

The parade began at Cecil Street and ran from Fayetteville Street to the entrance of O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium from Lawson Street. It included the team, cheerleaders and marching band.

"We are here to celebrate our team, and to make sure we support them and everything this year," Erica Taylor said. Taylor brought her son to the celebration, making it a family affair. "Husband and I both graduated from Central, and we thought it was important for him to come out and see what's going on and this is part of history."

WATCH: Parade for NCCU's football team

Following the parade a pep rally was held in the stadium with a recognition ceremony of the team and coaching staff by Durham Mayor Elaine O'Neal and Chancellor Johnson Akinleye.

The reigning MEAC Coach of the Year, Trei Oliver, also spoke at the pep rally.

"I'm so proud of these guys. They know I love them to death and it means the world to me as an alumni to bring this back not just to the nest but to the Bull City," he said.

Players said they were so thankful for all the love and support fans showed them throughout the year.

"That's something we always appreciated is you all coming out and supporting no matter what; that's what got us through the season," player Khalil Baker said.

"From the band, to the fans to the support staff, to everyone that had a part in the championship, you are appreciated," player Davius Richard said.

Attendees also had an opportunity to meet and receive signed posters from the championship-winning team and take photos with the Cricket Celebration Bowl and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championship trophies.

Participants at the event included NCCU Head Football Coach Trei Oliver and members of the NCCU football program; the Sound Machine; NCCU cheerleaders and Eddie the Eagle mascot; NCCU student leaders; Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye; and City of Durham Mayor Elaine O'Neal '84, L '91.