FLORENCE, Ala. -- The University of North Alabama will honor its 1994 NCAA Division II Football National Championship team on Saturday (Oct.4) in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the second of three consecutive national titles by the Lions.
The 1994 UNA Lions posted a 13-1 record, with the only loss coming to eventual NCAA Division I-AA National Champion Youngstown State 17-14 on a fourth quarter field goal.
That UNA squad outscored its opponents 458-165 and defeated Texas A&M-Kingsville 16-10 in the championship game at Braly Stadium.
Returning players, coaches and staff members will lead the 2014 UNA team through the Lion Walk on Spirit Hill at 4 p.m.. The 1994 team will then be recognized on the field between the third and fourth quarters of UNA's game against Western Oregon.
“After winning the national championship in 1993 we lost a lot of key players but we also had a lot of people coming back in ‘94,” Wallace said. “In the pre-season we were picked to win it again and we were able to go through the season and not lose a Division II game, which was quite a feat considering the pressure. We did lose to Youngstown State who had a tremendous program but I think that game helped us. It showed that we could compete at a higher level and we were able bounce right back and do what we had to do the rest of the season.”
“The championship game itself showed a lot of guts,” Wallace said of UNA's 16-10 win. “Texas A&M-Kingsville had a great team and they really took it to us. We had to have two late interceptions to put the game away.”
Wallace said all three of the Lions' football national championship were different.
“The first one in 1993 was just an unbelievable experience,” he said. “The third one was history. The second one was more routine, but really you can't call it that. We were expected to win it and we did but it was because the team was phenomenal. The 1993 team had a great offense. The 1995 team had a great defense. The 1994 team was really good on both sides of the ball and was a team that found ways to win.”
Wallace said reunions like this one are not only a chance to celebrate the success the teams had on the field but to also celebrate the success the players have achieved after football.
“This team was made up of character kids,” Wallace said. ‘We knew it at the time and you can really see that looking back now at the lives they have had after college. As a coach, that's what makes you feel good. That's really the ultimate satisfaction in coaching is to see people go on and be successful in their lives.”