N.C. A&T To Honor Four Former Coaches

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: September 18, 2007

NCAT Aggies GREENSBORO, N.C. – The North Carolina A&T Aggie Club, Inc. is sponsoring an Athletics Scholarship Banquet Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Alumni Foundation Event Center.

The keynote speaker for the event will be A&T graduate and Hall of Famer, Elvin Bethea. Four former N.C. A&T coaches — Bill Hayes, Hornsby Howell, Cal Irvin, and Don Corbett — will be honored at the banquet.

Bethea became the first Aggie to join the National Football League Hall of Famers on August 3, 2003. At N.C. A&T, Bethea was versatile on the football field having the ability to play multiple positions — guard and tackle, defensive end and linebacker.

Also during his time as a student-athlete, he participated in track and field. Bethea was selected as a football All-American twice and track and field All-American.

In 1968, Bethea was drafted by the Houston Oilers where he had an outstanding career with the team for 16 seasons. Bethea retired from Anheuser-Busch’s Houston office where he served as director of government affairs and is now a traveling ambassador for the NFL Hall of Fame.

Hayes coached N.C. A&T’s football program for 15 seasons where he became the most accomplished head coach in the history of Aggies football. He won three conference championships, made two playoff appearances and led the Aggies to their first and only NCAA playoff victory in 1999. He is the Aggies all-time leader in wins, posting a 106-64-1 record.

Howell not only produced wins as North Carolina A&T’s head football coach from 1968-77, he also produced outstanding young men into society. Among those men is NFL Hall of Famer Elvin Bethea, successful business man Joe Crosby, current N.C. A&T running backs coach and Aggie Hall of Famer George Ragsdale, former Aggies head coach George Small and current Associate Athletics Director Wheeler Brown.

Howell is credited for being the Alpha and the Omega coach during his nine-year stint at N.C. A&T. He is credited with leading the N.C. A&T football program to its first MEAC Championship in 1975.

He is also the coach who led the Aggies to their last CIAA Championship in 1968. During his coaching career at N.C. A&T, Howell went 55-34-4. He had six winning seasons and three 8-win seasons.

Irvin came to N.C. A&T in 1954 and in 18 seasons his teams never finished below .500. Irvin’s success would carry the Aggies over into the MEAC, where he won the school’s first league championship in 1972.

His name is listed on the N.C. A&T, MEAC, CIAA, and the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fames. 18 players under his tenure played professionally, including Al Attles, the only HBCU graduate to coach an NBA championship team.

Hugh Evans, another star in the Irvin system, has served in the NBA as an official for more than 35 years. Irvin finished with a career record of 401-132, including a 308-105 record at N.C. A&T.

His first CIAA championship came in 1958. Irvin’s teams also won CIAA titles in 1959, 1962, 1964, and 1967. The record 26 wins the Aggies totaled in 1958 was tied by Corbett’s 1988 team.

Corbett started his career at N.C. A&T in 1979. When it concluded in 1993, he had esta blished himself as one of the best coaches in the country. His 408 career wins and .659 winning percentage over a 22-year career speak for themselves. Corbett quickly rebuilt the North Carolina A&T men’s basketball program following an 8-19 season in 1979-80.

His first recruiting class began a run that has been unparalleled in MEAC history. In that class was the first of three All-MEAC players to come out of Rochester, N.Y. in Joe Binion.

Binion would go on to finish his career as the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in scho ol history in leading the Aggies to four MEAC championships. His scoring and rebounding records still stand today.