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Sports

Broadway living the high life in retirement
 
Published Thursday, January 24, 2019
by Bonitta Best

Rod Broadway was never the most animated coach in an interview – football sideline was another matter. And now that he’s been officially retired from coaching for over a year, he sounds more laid back than ever. And happy.

I was shocked he answered the phone on a Wednesday afternoon to answer another question about another honor coming his way since retirement.

This time it’s an induction into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Broadway will join the class of Ernie Barnes, Willie Bradshaw, Eddie Bridges, Gene Corrigan, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Gabriel, Dee Kantner, Davis Love III, Paul Miller, Neill McGeachy and Thell Overman.

Honored? “Yes.”

Surprised? “Yes!”

Don’t know why. Broadway, an Oakboro native, coached for almost 40 years, the last 15 as a head coach at North Carolina Central in the CIAA, Grambling State in the SWAC and North Carolina A&T in the MEAC. He compiled a 125-45 record in those 15 seasons and is the only coach to win a black college national championship at three different institutions. He has five total titles: one at Grambling and two each at NCCU and A&T. So, what’s there to be surprised about?

“You know, it’s never about what you do but the people you surround yourself with,” Broadway said. “I’ve been blessed. I had a lot of good people and a lot of good players, and they made my job easier.”

Broadway retired after the 2017 season after leading the Aggies to an 11-0 record, a Celebration Bowl victory and a black college national title. Since then he’s moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he “don’t do anything except walk on the beach when it’s warm.”

He also was honored, along with several other former HBCU football coaches, by ESPN for their contributions to college football. An accolade that was long, long overdue.

Broadway has pretty much stayed away from his former team, although he still cheers for their success. He attended only two games this past season: at Savannah State since it was near his residence and the Celebration Bowl. That was plenty.

“I’m always going to pull for them, all the players I recruited,” he said. “But it’s a different feeling now.

“You can have it (coaching). There are some things that I miss, but, overall, I’m done. I enjoyed it while it lasted for 40 years.”

The induction banquet is May 3 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

• Bradshaw was an outstanding athlete and coach at Hillside and Lincoln high schools. He was the first black athletics director for the merged Durham City School System until his retirement in 1992. The scoreboard at Durham County Memorial Stadium is named in his honor. He died on March 23, 2015.

“He was very knowledgeable about what was going on in the state, and he shared that knowledge with the other coaches,” said coach T.C. Marshall, who coached under Bradshaw at Hillside. “I learned a lot from him, and that’s probably why I’m still coaching after 50 years.”

• Barnes was a star football player at Hillside High and N.C. Central. He quit professional football after five years to devote full time as an artist. His exhibit, on display at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, is a must-see event.

• Bridges created the “lifetime” hunting and fishing licenses in the state.

• Corrigan served as athletics director at several institutions, as well as ACC commissioner from 1987-97.

• Earnhardt Jr. earned 26 Cup victories and two Daytona 500 titles during his stock car racing career.

• Gabriel started the wrestling program at Appalachian High and led the program to a 140-0 record over 13 seasons. He later coached at Appalachian State University.

• Kanter has officiated in every NCAA Tournament since 1992, including 22 Final Four, eight semifinal and 14 national championship games.

• Love III was a three-time All-American golfer at UNC Chapel Hill. He recorded 21 wins on the PGA tour.

• Miller was a starting quarterback under UNC coach Bill Dooley. He led the ACC in total offense in 1971.

• McGeachy was a player, coach and administrator at Lenoir-Rhyne College.

• Overman was a three-sport athlete at Guilford College, but he made his mark as a high school coach over a 40-year span. His football career record is 278-73-6 and baseball is 541-118.        

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