Talladega College considering reviving football program

Dr. Billy C. Hawkins

Sports EditorJoseph G. Phillips

2021 marks 100-year anniversary of back-to-back championship wins

Known as the oldest HBCU in the state of Alabama, Talladega College and its Board of Trustees recently announced college President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins will employ a consultant to help determine the feasibility of reviving the school’s football program.

The group made the big announcement in April as the trustees of the school voted in favor of conducting a feasibility study during the institution’s spring board meeting.

“The year 2021 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of our historic back-to-back championship win,” said Hawkins in a press release.

“Given the success of our academic and athletic programs, the recent growth and transformation of the college, and the myriad benefits of having a football program, now may be the time to revive our team. This could be great for the college, the community, and central Alabama. However, our decision will be based upon the findings of a formal feasibility study.”

According to the school’s historical records, Talladega seized the Black College Football National Championship in both 1920 and 1921.

While the institution’s illustrious football program was canceled 80 years ago during World War II, the upcoming study may help usher in a new era of football for Alabama’s first private historically Black college.

Hawkins has extensive experience in bringing back a college football program. During his tenure as president of Texas College, where he served prior to beginning his presidency at Talladega, he successfully restarted the institution’s football program that had been shut down for 40 years. Texas’s football program is still thriving today.

Talladega’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin Jr., recently spearheaded a preliminary investigation to determine the feasibility of adding a football program. His committee surveyed employees and found that an overwhelming majority of Talladega’s faculty and staff are in favor of having a football program. Most employees believe a football team will increase student enrollment and retention, attract donations and sponsorships, and increase institutional pride.

“We are now moving forward with a true feasibility study. Adding a football program will affect community members so we want to hear their opinions. We also want to gauge the opinions of our alumni and other stakeholders,” Burgin stated.

Talladega College Athletic Director Kevin Herod added, “The possibility of adding football would only enhance our athletic program and bring new opportunities to the campus, the community, and the overall collegiate experience for our students.”

In addition to enhancing its football program, the school recently launch- ed its first-ever graduate program and constructed three new facilities, a 45,000-square-foot residence hall; the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center; and the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses Hale Woodruff’s renowned Amistad Murals.

The 2020-2021 academic year was Talladega’s third consecutive year for record enrollment increases.As the school continues to build, it has consistently been ranked among the best colleges in the Southeast and one of the top HBCUs in the nation.



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