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NC A&T won’t be a CAA football dormat, chancellor tells alumni

NC A&T Harold L Martin

HBCU Gameday – GREENSBORO, NC — NC A&T launched a new era of football on Monday when it introduced new head coach Vincent Brown Sr. on Monday.

The press conference for the new head coach was open to both the public as well as the media, and many seasoned Aggies took time out to show up to meet the new man in charge.

After the media had engaged Brown, the opportunity was given for alumni to ask a question or make a comment (a positive one was the request). Only one gentleman got the opportunity, however, and he took his time to say all that he wanted to say.

The Aggie alumnus spent several minutes on the microphone addressing the two men who brought Brown Sr. to A&T — Chancellor Dr. Harold L. Martin and Director of Athletics Earl Hilton. His question-turned-commentary lasted for several minutes, comparing A&T’s football budget with the rest of the CAA and even North Carolina Central. He eventually asked for the program’s football budget, which Hilton answered said repeatedly was around $3.1 to $3.2 million currently.

While the rambling nature of his question left much of the audience a combination of dazed, confused and flustered — his point was not lost on Hilton or Martin. The overall concern is whether or North Carolina A&T is prepared to be competitive in the CAA?

Hilton answered first.

Martin, who didn’t do much of the talking during the event, made it a point to address the concerns that alumni may have about the future of NC A&T athletics in the CAA.

“We didn’t make the transition to Big South, and now, subsequently to the Colonial Athletic Conference (Association) without being smart enough to recognize the investments needed…not just in athletics. Our university has been thriving in a very aggressive way, building on the great history and traditions of this institution. The growth in our academic programs, new programs, enrollment growth excellence in our students, and the partnership to advance this institution.”

NC A&T Harold Martin Vincent Brown
North Carolina A&T Chancellor Dr. Harold L. Martin talks with new head football coach Vincent Brown Sr.

Martin recogized athletics as the ‘front door’ to the institution as a whole. And he says the goal as an institution is to compete for the very best people across the board.

“You have students in general, top faculty, administrative leaders and the investments and athletics — student-athletes, outstanding coaches like Coach Brown requires we make investments.

Martin, a North Carolina A&T alumnus himself, said keeping alumni engaged is key for pushing forward.

“Our university, like many in the MEAC and other conferences, have relied far too long on the backs of students and student fees and other related advancements to enhance growth of our institution and the advancement of athletics.

We can no longer continue to do that. Still, we also cannot limit our aspirations to be the very best institution we can be by allowing our constituency — our alums, friends of the institution, and our corporate partners — to be transactional relationships. You have to invest — as we’re challenging our corporate partners and our foundation friends — to make very substantial investments in the business aspect of this institution in a very significant way. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Martin shrugged off the notion that A&T would become a doormat in the tough, and expensive, CAA.

As for the future, Martin promised transparency for alumni. He also made it clear that things are changing at NC A&T, and athletics is a big part of it.

“We will provide the answers to those questions because we have to be very transparent here in defining the very best that’s important for us to ensure that we’re continuing to be not just the number one HBCU in the land — of which we’re very proud of — but to be the most outstanding institution we can seem to be if we can’t compromise in that space as we move this institution to very strategic and significant areas of opportunity for the future.”

So we appreciate your being here. It’s easy to ask the tough questions — it’s much more difficult to provide substantive and sustainable answers and solutions as we look to the future. So we ask you all to join us on this journey because we think this is an exciting journey for the future of this institution and the role we will play for enhancing the competitiveness of Greensboro, Guilford County, Triangle Region, North Carolina — and beyond.

And I assure you, we are more than able and ready to meet those expectations.


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