Leading N.C. Central to last December’s Celebration Bowl resulted in a national honor for Eagles football coach Jerry Mack.
On Friday night at the seventh annual HBCU Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., Mack was named the HBCU male coach of the year for all sports.
Mack beat out five other finalists, including Xavier (La.) men’s and women’s tennis coach Alan Green, Alcorn State men’s basketball coach Montez Robinson, Dillard (La.) men’s basketball coach Mike Newell, Virginia State football coach Reggie Barlow and Hampton women’s basketball coach David Six.
In his third season at NCCU, Mack led the Eagles to a 9-3 record -- their highest number of wins in a single season since they moved to Division I. NCCU went undefeated in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, defeating nationally ranked N.C. A&T 42-21 on Nov. 19 to complete an 8-0 league season to win the MEAC championship. It was the third consecutive season NCCU had won at least a share of the MEAC football title under Mack’s guidance.
The 2016 league title sent NCCU to the Celebration Bowl where Grambling State beat the Eagles, 10-9.
Also last season, the Eagles received their first national ranking as a Division I-FCS program on Nov. 7, when the FCS Coaches Poll announced NCCU at No. 25. By the end of the regular season, the Eagles jumped to No. 18 and finished at No. 19 in the final poll.
The Eagles succeeded thanks to a record-setting offense. NCCU established a single-season record with 4,614 yards of total offense, averaging 384.5 total yards per game. The Eagles were also the second-highest scoring team in school history with 347 points.
The HBCU Digest Male Coach of the Year award is latest award Mack has received for last season’s success. He was also honored as Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Football Coach of the Year, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Regional Coach of the Year, Black College Sports Page "Baad Team" Coach of the Year, The Pigskin Club in Washington, D.C. HBCU Football Coach of the Year, BOXTOROW HBCU Football co-Coach of the Year, and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award as the FCS Coach of the Year.
Taking over a program that posted a losing record prior to his arrival in Durham, Mack has led the Eagles to an overall record of 24-11, including a 21-3 mark against conference opponents. His 24 victories are more than any NCCU football coach has collected in his first three seasons.