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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

IT’Z all about UNCP football

UNC Pembroke Chancellor Allen C. Meadors and Athletic Director Dan Kenney got their first taste of “The Press Box” Monday, July 11.

Friedlander, Smothers, Kenney and Meadors

From left: talk show hosts Brett Friedlander and Allen Smothers, UNCP Athletic Director Dan Kenney and Chancellor Allen C. Meadors.

The buzz was UNCP football on WFNC AM 640 live radio talk show hosted by the Fayetteville Observer’s Brett Friedlander and radio personality Allen Smothers. After more than 50 years, football will return to UNCP in fall 2007.

For nearly and hour and a half Chancellor Meadors, Kenney and other UNCP supporters talked football and what it means to the University and the surrounding community.

“Our survey showed that 91 percent of our students said they wanted a football team,” Chancellor Meadors said. “I’ve never seen anything in my experience in higher education that has more support from students, faculty, alumni and a community.”

UNCP will advertise for a head coach in August and there is a lot of work to do to prepare the University for football, Kenney said, but the campus is already buzzing with excitement.

“The prospect of having football again on our campus has energized our alumni and virtually everyone connected to UNCP has experienced the buzz of anticipation,” the athletic director said.

Trustees Becky Bullard and Dick Taylor were on hand with a gathering of friends and alumni from the Fayetteville and Lumberton areas. Both were interviewed.

"When the idea of football at UNCP came before the Board, we embraced the concept right away,” Bullard said. “Before we came to a unanimous decision to support it, we did take some time to talk to some unbiased experts who confirmed that it was the right direction for us to go.”

"UNCP is the fastest growing university in the UNC system,” she said, “and Pembroke is a growing small town -- and all these things make football the next step."

Taylor said he is personally excited about the future of UNCP, and football will improve every aspect of campus life.

Taylor, an All-American track performer at UNC, said, "Athletics helps academics at any university."

He predicted that football would be an asset "to the university, the county, the entire southeastern section of the state".

Radio host Allen Smothers said football helped him “discover” UNCP.

"We've talked to a lot of people in the community and came to the conclusion that UNCP is the best kept secret in North Carolina," Smothers said.

And that’s how football will take UNCP to the next level.

Also interviewed was Ron Miller, a long time coach at Southview High School and recent inductee into the 2005 UNCP Hall of Fame Award.

“The Press Box” can be heard on Monday evenings live from IT’Z over WFNC radio 640 AM and in Robeson County on 102.3 FM.

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