On March 25, 1989, in the NCAA Division II men’s basketball national championship game in Springfield, Mass., North Carolina Central University defeated Southeast Missouri State, 73-46, to capture the school’s first NCAA team national championship.
The 27-point margin of victory set a new NCAA championship game record.
After defeating Norfolk State (67-64) and Virginia Union (60-55) to win the regional title, the Eagles edged Sacred Heart, 58-57, in the national quarterfinals when Dominique Stephens made the first of two free throws with no time remaining. In the semifinals, NCCU cruised past Jacksonville State, 90-70.
Three Eagles, Miles Clarke, Antoine Sifford and Dominique Stephens, were selected to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team, while Clarke earned Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.
Head coach Michael Bernard was named Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association.
As a team, NCCU led the nation (NCAA Division II) in scoring defense (56.0 points allowed per game) and field goal percentage defense (38.9 percent). The Eagles finished the season with a record of 28 wins, 4 losses. The team was also inducted into the NCCU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.
Members of the 1989 national championship team were Charles Alston, Fred “Pop” Bennett, Henry Canty, Miles Clarke, Jeffrey Hayes, Joel Hopkins, Eric Jackson, Derrick Johnson, Derrick Leak, Adrian McKinnon, Marvin “Rat” Reed, Antoine Sifford, Dominique Stephens, Kelrick Thompson, Curtis Watkins, Head Coach Michael Bernard, Assistant Coach Gregory Jackson and Assistant Coach Ron Woodard.