Alcornites support Braves football team at Celebration of Champions
Students, faculty, staff and faithful alumni gathered on the yard Saturday, March 6 to cheer the Alcorn State University Braves football team for another historic season during the “Celebration of Champions” events.
The day started with the Campus Parade. Alcornites watched, cheered and took pictures as the team boarded the University fire truck and traveled from Bowls Hall to the Davey L. Whitney HPER Complex. The Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite band helped boost morale as they followed the team and played various musical selections.
Alcorn President Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. expressed his pride in the team’s efforts.
“I’m so proud of this team,” said Rankins. “I’m proud of the season and what this team has done to showcase our great university.”
Rankins took time to applaud the team for their commitment to their studies.
“I’m proud of what you have done on the field, but I am also proud of what you all have done in the classroom. Your football team had the highest APR increase than any other football program in the conference. Your football team, along with the other athletic programs here, had the highest graduation success rate than any other athletic program in the conference. Not only do you win championships at Alcorn, but you will graduate as well.”
Some of the players took center stage and gave thanks to the fans for their dedication. Offensive lineman and graduate student Iskeli Ongosia was appreciative of the fans for being there for the team.
“We appreciate you all for your support,” said Iskeli. “We ask that you all continue to pack the Jack next year and travel with the team to support them on their away games.”
Linebacker and senior Damon Watkins credited the fans’ enthusiasm for their success.
“On behalf of the team, I want to say thank you,” said Damon. “We couldn’t have done it without you guys’ support. One thing I’ll miss is hearing you guys cheer us on as we come out of the tunnel on game day. Our accomplishments are still surreal to me because we have come a long way.”
Alcorn Intercollegiate Athletics Director Derek Horne not only praised the team for their success, but he also praised the fans for encouraging the team.
“It feels great to be in the position to thank these young men for what they have done,” said Horne. “We also want to thank our fans and alumni for traveling to Houston, Texas twice and Atlanta to support the team in the inaugural Celebration Bowl. We need your continual support. It is so great to be here to represent the Braves.”
New Braves Head Coach Fred McNair also thanked the fans for contributing to the Braves’ magical run.
“It means a lot to me to be here with these guys today,” said McNair. “We have a bunch of fine young men coming back for the 2016 football season. The biggest thing that draws my attention during football games is looking into the stands and seeing a sea of purple and gold. Thanks to the fans for what you do to motivate this team to play their best on Saturdays. Your cheers help these guys to play even harder.”