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JCSU luncheon honors legendary football coach
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WBTV Sports Director Delano Little speaks at the annual Eddie C. McGirt Kickoff Classic. (Photo: Jordan Stutts)

Speaking at an annual kickoff luncheon at Johnson C. Smith University, WBTV Sports Director Delano Little challenged students to raise the bar for personal achievement.

Little, who played college football at Georgia Southern University, used his own experience as a student-athlete to offer encouragement.

“I got a college education, and that was the most important thing I’ve done,” he told the students, who represented a cross-section of the JCSU campus.

The luncheon is held each year to honor former JCSU hall of fame coach Eddie “Cut” McGirt, who in 20 seasons at the west Charlotte school racked up more victories than any JCSU coach before or since. The luncheon also is meant to generate campus excitement before the school’s home opener, scheduled for Saturday against Bowie State University.

With 118 wins and 73 losses, McGirt led the Golden Bulls to one championship season and two divisional titles. He was named 1969 CIAA Coach of the Year and won NAIA Coach of the Year on two occasions.

He retired in 1978 and died in 1999.

More important than McGirt’s success on the field was his success in molding lives, Little said.

“Coaches like Eddie McGirt devote their lives to changing people’s lives, raising the bar for student-athletes all the time to exact the best out of them,” he said. “When you think about legendary coaches, you think about character, you think about dedication, you think about community.”

Legendary coaches become like “second father” to their players, Little said.

Steven Aycock, JCSU’s current coach, said after the luncheon that he tries to live up to McGirt’s legacy.

“To me, greatness is measured over time,” he said. “And I’m not even in that category yet, but what I do drive myself is to make a change in the young men the way Coach McGirt did.”

Continuing the Legacy

JCSU’s athletic director and men’s basketball coach Stephen Joyner said McGirt’s memory is alive “through the people” who continue his legacy.

Joyner said the people who knew McGirt best -- his student-athletes -- “are in the community of Charlotte and around the world, doing well because of the encouragement and teachings of Eddie McGirt.”

JCSU currently has an endowed scholarship fund in McGirt’s name. All three recipients of this year’s scholarship -- Louis McGee, Emilio Parks and Deanna Downer -- attended the luncheon. Each received a $5,000 scholarship for the academic year.

“Great coaches win ball games; legendary coaches change lives,” Little said.

The Golden Bulls will go into Saturday’s contest with a five-game winning streak that dates back to last season. The team won its season opener last week against Livingstone College in the Commemorative Classic.

Kickoff for Saturday's game is against Bowie State is at 2 p.m. at the on-campus Irwin Belk Complex

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October 6, 2015
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