General Assembly honors Trojans
By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on June 10, 2008 2:19 PM
The State General Assembly made it official -- the state of North Carolina is proud of the Mount Olive College baseball team.
A joint resolution was passed by the North Carolina House of Representatives and the State Senate honoring the Mount Olive baseball team for winning the 2008 NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship. The resolution was adopted Mount Olive College evening by both branches of the legislature.
The resolution was co-sponsored by Wayne County Representatives Louis M. Pate, Jr., Larry M. Bell and R. Van Braxton.
After the resolution was introduced, head coach Carl Lancaster was brought into the House chamber, along with assistant coaches Aaron Akin and Rob Watt, Director of Athletics Jeff Eisen and President Dr. J. William Byrd. The Mount Olive contingent, with the team's National Championship in tow, was greeted with a standing ovation.
"I've been President of Mount Olive College for 13 years and this is my first opportunity to speak on the house floor," said Dr. Byrd. "I owe this honor to you and to the Trojan baseball team."
All of the Trojan players were named in the resolution and were invited to the proceedings, but none were able to attend. Team members had either left for summer vacation or joined their summer ball teams or for a few, moved onto playing baseball at the professional level.
"The guys are very honored and they all wanted to be here," Lancaster said on the House floor. "I wish the team could have been here so you can meet the boys in person and see for yourselves what a fine group of young men they are."
The resolution noted the team's accomplishments in 2008: a No. 1 ranking during most of the regular season, a Conference Carolinas Championship, a South Atlantic Regional Championship and a National Championship. Representative Pate also requested an addendum to the resolution.
"We'd also like to recognize that Mount Olive had five players selected in this year's Major League Baseball Draft," said Representative Pate. The draft took place Friday, after the original resolution had been drafted.
The resolution also honored two individuals who played a significant role in the growth of the college and the Trojan baseball program. The late Ray Scarborough was honored for spearheading the reinstatement of baseball at Mount Olive College in 1980. The late James B. Hunt, Sr., was honored for his 40 years of service as a member of the Board of Trustees and his role in Mount Olive's transition from a two-year to a four-year college during the mid-1980's.
Members of both the Scarborough and Hunt families watched from the gallery. Also in attendance were Mount Olive College Vice-President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ellen Jordan, Vice-President for Business and Finance Bam Alling and Director of Human Resources Steve Sweet, as well as Dr. Byrd's wife, Marcy Byrd.
The Trojan entourage exited the House chamber to another standing ovation, then walked across the rotunda to the Senate chamber. State Senator Harry Brown, father of Mount Olive alum and current assistant men's soccer coach Ryan Brown, expressed gratitude to Dr. Byrd.
"I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for getting my son through college," said Senator Brown, who represents Onslow County.
Addressing the State Senate, Dr. Byrd again spoke more of the players' character than on the wins and the trophies.
"At the National Finals, when the hotel staff and the NCAA Tournament staff realized I was from Mount Olive College, they made it a point to tell me what an outstanding, well-behaved group the team is," said Dr. Byrd. "As President, hearing that does my heart good."
Upon Senator Brown's request, Coach Akin stood and displayed the National Championship trophy to both sides of the Senate floor.
The resolution passed in the House by a margin of 110-0, then passed in the Senate by a margin of 38-0. The Mount Olive group entered and exited the Senate chamber to standing ovations.
"We're very honored to be invited here," said Lancaster. "This is definitely a humbling experience."
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