Durham County

Will Rod Broadway’s retirement change the Eagle-Aggie rivalry?

North Carolina A&T football coach Rod Broadway (right) accepts the trophy for winning the Celebration Bowl in 2015.
North Carolina A&T football coach Rod Broadway (right) accepts the trophy for winning the Celebration Bowl in 2015.

Rod Broadway saw the rivalry between N.C. Central and North Carolina A&T from both sides.

Now the rivalry between Eagles and the Aggies will have a new look next season when the teams square off in Durham – both teams will have first-year coaches.

On Monday, N.C. A&T’s Broadway announced his retirement from coaching after posting a perfect 12-0 season and a victory in the Celebration Bowl for the Aggies. His retirement announcement came after NCCU lost coach Jerry Mack in December. Mack left NCCU after four seasons to become the offensive coordinator at Rice, while Broadway, who coached the Aggies for seven seasons, will serve as a special assistant to the athletics director at N.C. A&T for the next six months.

Broadway coached NCCU from 2003-06, posting a 33-11 mark over four seasons. His .750 winning percentage remains the best in NCCU history. He left NCCU for Grambling State before moving on to A&T.

When the Eagles and Aggies meet next fall, it will mark the sixth time in the history of the series that both sides have new coaches. NCCU will be coached by Granville Eastman, while the Aggies will be led by Sam Washington, who was elevated to the position upon Broadway’s announcement. Washington had been the Aggies’ defensive coordinator under Broadway.

Mack led the Eagles to a 31-15 record and three consecutive MEAC championships his first three years at the helm, twice as co-champions. During the 2016 season, N.C. Central cracked the Football Championship Subdivision Top 25 poll for the first time since making the jump to Division I. The Eagles also earned a trip to the 2016 Celebration Bowl.

N.C. A&T holds the advantage in these first-year coaching matchups, winning the last four in a row. The last two actually involved Broadway, who coached at both schools. In 2003, Broadway and the Eagles lost 25-0 in a game played in Raleigh. But in 2011, Broadway left Grambling for N.C. A&T and the Aggies prevailed 31-21 against NCCU rookie head coach Henry Frazier. Broadway, who played at North Carolina (1974-77) also had stints as an assistant at Duke (1981-94) and with the Tar Heels (2001-02).

The teams first met in 1924, a game that ended in a 13-13 tie. N.C. A&T leads the all-time series 51-34-5.

NCCU’s longest winning streak in the series is five games, 1970-74. The Aggies’ best winning streak happened from 1989-2001 when they won 12 in a row under Bill Hayes.

It should be noted that that N.C. A&T record stretch occurred when the Eagles had dropped back to the lower classification NCAA Division II while A&T remained in the FCS Division I MEAC. Division II allows a maximum of 36 full scholarships per football program, Division I FCS allows 63.

The last 15 games have seen N.C. A&T hold a slim 8-7 advantage after winning 24-10 in the 2017 regular-season finale. That stopped a three-game winning streak by the Eagles.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews