North Carolina A&T Aggies football
|North Carolina A&T|
|Athletic director||Earl M. Hilton III|
|Head coach||Rod Broadway
3rd year, 12–10 (.545)
|Home stadium||Aggie Stadium (North Carolina A&T)|
|Stadium surface||Natural grass|
|Location||Greensboro, North Carolina|
|All-time record||461–414–46 (.526)|
|Postseason bowl record||1–0–0 (1.000)|
|Claimed national titles||3|
Aggie Blue and Gold
|Fight song||Old Aggie Spirit|
|Marching band||Blue & Gold Marching Machine|
The North Carolina A&T Aggies are the college football team representing the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The Aggies play in NCAA Division I Football Championship as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The Aggies play home football games at Aggie Stadium which opened in 1981. Before the construction of Aggie Stadium, North Carolina A&T Aggies played their home football games at Greensboro’s War Memorial Stadium, which was home to the nearby minor league baseball franchise. The university saw a great need to have an on campus stadium that could hold the growing number of fans attending home football games.
Aggie Stadium was designed by architect W. Edward Jenkins, a North Carolina A&T alumnus, and opened in 1981. The first game played there was on September 12, 1981 against local rival Winston Salem State University to an overflow crowd of more than 23,000 fans.
To date, the largest single game attendance at Aggie Stadium was set in 2001 when 34,769 people were in attendance for a football game against the rattlers of Florida A&M University
The Aggie Football Team is supported by The North Carolina A&T State University Blue & Gold Marching Machine, the university's marching band. Started in 1918, the band program has grown from a 50 piece ensemble, to the 260 member band of today. In the mid 1960s the band introduced the concept of majorettes and flag twirlers. In the late 1970s to early 80's, the marching band was renamed to the current “Blue & Gold Marching Machine” moniker.
The band consists of all volunteer students, and perform the pre-game ceremonies, which includes the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, Lift Every Voice and Sing, a halftime performance, and a post game concert known as "The Fifth Quarter."
The Blue & Gold Marching Machine utilizes a variation of the high step marching style. This involves the lifting of the knee with legs directly in front, thighs parallel to the ground, and toes pointed downward. When the leg is elevated, there should be a 90-degree angle with the body and the thigh, and a 90-degree angle with the thigh and the shin. The leg is then lowered, and this is repeated with the other leg. This is informally referred to as the "chair step". This is also the style commonly found in many HBCU marching bands.
The Blue and Gold Marching Machine has performed in many major performances including the 2009 & 2013 Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta, Georgia and also performing in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The Blue and Gold Marching Machine was recently invited to perform in the Macy's Day Parade in New York City in 2012.
"Aggie" is the mascot for North Carolina A&T. The term "Aggie" has long been used to refer to students who attend agricultural schools. Hence the reason North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University adopted the nickname "Aggies" when the school was founded in 1891.
According to oral history, The origin of the Aggie Bulldog mascot stems from a tale of a shepherd dog, a bulldog, that was kept on the North Carolina A&T farm to assist in herding the cattle and other animals into shelter. During a football game the Aggies had become despondent. In the last few minutes of the game, an Aggie fullback broke through the opposition's defense and scored a touchdown, but was deemed no good by a referee. It is said that at that moment, an unidentified person untied the bulldog which then attacked the referee. The incident was said to almost cost the then College membership in the CIAA, but it vindicated the Aggies. It is said that from that day on, the mascot for the football team has been a bulldog.
North Carolina Central
The main rivalry of the Aggies is against its in-state rival, North Carolina University. Commonly referred to as the "Aggie–Eagle rivalry", this particular rivalry dates back to the first Aggie Football game in 1924; in which the game ended in a 13-13 tie. Fans of both Universities tend to place great emphasis on this rivalry and the intensity of it causes splits among many families, marriages, and other groups over their respective teams.
The intensity of the rivalry is driven by the proximity of the two schools, as both are only 55 miles apart via U.S. Interstate 85, the size of the two schools, as North Carolina A&T is the largest Historically Black College and University in the state with North Carolina Central being the second, and the fact that both schools are competing for many of the same students and athletes.
Arguably, the second most important rival of the Aggies is Winston-Salem State University. This particular rivalry dates back to the first meeting between the two in 1952, where the Aggies defeated the Rams 44-0. Although a less intense and bitter rivalry than that shared with North Carolina Central, Fans of both Universities tend to place great emphasis on this rivalry.
The intensity of this rivalry is driven by the close proximity of the two schools, as both are approximately 30 miles apart via U.S. Interstate 40, coaching personnel and the fact that both schools are competing for many of the same students and athletes. Since the decision to discontinue the transition to Division I citing financial reasons, this rivalry has been placed on hold for the foreseeable future.
Alumni in the NFL
Over 30 North Carolina A&T alumni have played in the NFL, including:
- Blue Death Valley: The History of Aggie Stadium
- Dr. Albert W. Spruill. "Origins of The Aggie Bulldog". Bluedeathvalley.com. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "With Deficits Mounting, Winston-Salem State Steps Back From Division I". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved August 22, 2013.