Now that the dust has settled on the Celebration Bowl, where North Carolina A&T thoroughly dominated Alcorn State 64-44 in a very entertaining game, there is so much that the HBCU Report was able to see. Broadcasting live on Radio Row, we were able to witness how meaningful the game was to spectators who travelled from extraordinary distances who exemplified their pride well. Along with seeing the fans, we were able many of the dignitaries that represented each conference, including both commissioners of the SWAC and the MEAC.
Talking to Dr. Charles McClelland, Commissioner of the SWAC, it was evident that he loved where the conference was headed. Taking over during the summer of 2018, the first thing that he said he had to do was get the conference on “solid financial footing”. He said that it was not easy and a great deal of people had to make some tough decisions but the conference is the better for it. When asked if there could be future expansion into the Atlanta Area, he only said possibly, if it made “financial sense” to do so. Dr. McClelland is boastful about the progress the conference has made in this short of a time period and he will continue to grow the SWAC at a pace that is sustainable.
We also talked to Dr. Dennis Thomas, Commissioner of the MEAC, who is in his 18th year in this capacity. Dr. Thomas talked extensively about the success of the conference, but not necessarily all sports. He expressed in great detail about the academic successes that each university within the MEAC was having. He also talked about the technological advances that the conference uses to get the best and brightest within the academic and athletic arena. Both conference leaders gave great insight into their current and future endeavors.
We were able to get a bonus interview with Alabama A&M Head Football Coach Connell Maynor. Coach Maynor gave us some great insight into the X’s and O’s of what he thought the game would be. He thought the team that controlled the line of scrimmage would win. He also talked about his program and how he thought it was “a year ahead of schedule” and he was looking forward to seeing what he could do this upcoming season.
Overall, the Celebration Bowl experience was tremendous and the pride in which the game continues to attract so many people just demonstrates its status as one of the premiere bowl games in the country. Attracting over 32,000 people, it has been the most attended early on within bowl season and will continue to leave its impact for years to come.