In preparation for the upcoming football season, Johnson C. Smith University laid down a brand new turf field to replace the grass field at Eddie McGirt Field. After months of utilizing a field from a local high school in Charlotte, NC the Golden Bulls can finally return home to their brand new field.
HBCU Gameday caught up with head coach Maurice Flowers after the Golden Bulls’ first practice on the new turf. During the conversation, Flowers says Johnson C. Smith might just have the best field in the CIAA.
“We can pretty much say that the best field in the CIAA and we’re excited about it,” says Flowers “But what our young men know is a new field does not guarantee wins, execution guarantees wins.”
Flowers continues to explain that the football team utilized the spring season to lay down the foundation and establish the needed habits for a successful season. After countless workouts and walk-throughs during the winter, spring allowed for the team to become accumulated to the system.
John C Smith and the Carolina Panthers came together for a special spring practice
During the reconstruction, the team had the chance to practice on a much bigger field when the Carolina Panthers welcomed John C Smith inside Bank of America Stadium. Flowers simply says it’s a dream come true to indulge in that practice.
“I’m a Charlotteans and to be able to be the head coach at Johnson C Smith University, my alma mater and to be able to lead our football team, not just our team, but to help community relations. And to have our young men get an opportunity to practice in the NFL stadium,” said Flowers. “You know, so often in our program, we say there are only certain things that can happen in the city of Charlotte and you know what, this is one of them to be able to practice at an NFL stadium and just really just live out some dreams.”
In the process of coordinating the practice with the Panthers, Flowers said he never expected them to deny his request. The Panthers saw the opportunity as a privilege; having the resources to provide to JCSU.
Riley Fields, Director of Community Relations for the Panthers, said the moment emphasized the support the NFL team’s mission to support the “health of the sport, the growth of the sport, and experiences for those who participate.” For JCSU, the players were able to practice on the exact turf that’s being installed at McGirth Field.
This year the Golden Bulls are starting strong and fresh. The football program brought over 50 freshmen and 12 transfers for this year’s rosters. Flowers says the expectations for this young squad is very high but he can clearly see the growth and hunger in this group of young men. Ultimately, JCSU has its eyes set on bringing home the first CIAA championship title since 1969; not only to the university but to the entire city of Charlotte.
Johnson C. Smith will kick off its 2023 football season Sept.2, on the road, against West Virginia Wesleyan College. The team will return the next weekend for its first home game the brand new turf field against Walsh University (Ohio).