30 year reunion set for UNA National Championship team

Lions to host 30-year reunion at Braly Stadium
Bobby Wallace and the 1993 UNA Lions celebrate winning the NCAA Division II National...
Bobby Wallace and the 1993 UNA Lions celebrate winning the NCAA Division II National Championship. (MATT MCKEAN | UNA Athletics)
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 10:52 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Thirty years ago, a dynasty began.

The 1993 football season is one that will live in the minds of University of North Alabama fans forever. That season marked the school’s first No. 1 national ranking, broke or tied 85 school and conference records, produced a Gulf South Conference and NCAA South Region Championship and, of course, the first NCAA Division II National Championship in program history with a perfect 14-0 record.

The 1993 team will be honored at this weekend’s football game as the Lions host UT Martin at 6 p.m. inside Braly Stadium — the same location where UNA won all three of its national championships. A post-game firework show sponsored by TNT Fireworks will take place after the contest.

A number of players, coaches, staff and support personnel from that team will be attendance for the reunion, including head coach Bobby Wallace.

“I hope we’re all wearing name tags because you probably won’t recognize half of us — and I know they won’t recognize me” Wallace said jokingly. “I’m looking so much forward to it. A good example, I talked to Tyrone Rush on the phone — he’s lived in Los Angeles for a long time — and I haven’t seen him in so long, but he’s like a son. So, it’s like coming to see family that you haven’t seen in a long, long time.”

Rush, who is UNA’s all-time record holder for career carries and rushing yards, also set the single season record for rush attempts in the 1993 season.

A number of other players from that team still hold records from that historic season — most of whom will be attending the championship reunion on Saturday. Fourteen members of the UNA Hall of Fame are also on the RSVP list.

Below is a list of confirmed attendees from the 1993 team:

  • Phil Abston
  • Brad Alsup
  • Anthony Brooks
  • Kevin Brown
  • Spencer Butler
  • Bobby Chitwood
  • Michael Edwards *
  • Eddie Evans
  • Patrick Freeman
  • Richard Garris
  • Jimmy Gay
  • Nate George
  • Sam Graham
  • Cody * & Karin Gross
  • Jarius Hayes *
  • Robert Haynes
  • Jeff Hodges *
  • Charles Hogan
  • Bill Hunt
  • Ashley Ingram
  • Tony Johnson
  • Willie Jones
  • Kenyatta Jones *
  • Johnny Long *
  • David Martin
  • Jerrod McCord
  • Thomas Moore
  • Israel Raybon *
  • Jeff Redcross *
  • Tyrone Rush *
  • Gerald Smith *
  • Heath Springer
  • Jamie Stoddard *
  • Jeff Surbaugh *
  • Kin Taylor
  • Bobby Wallace *
  • Michael Williams *
  • Quintin Woods

*denotes UNA Hall of Famer

The Lions went 14-0 in the 1993 season with wins over seven ranked opponents. On Oct. 4, 1993, UNA achieved its first-ever No. 1 ranking and would hold the top spot until 1996.

After a perfect regular season that ended with a 41-14 win over West Georgia, the Lions knocked off Carson-Newman, Hampton, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Indiana-Pennsylvania en route to the first national championship in school history. All four playoff games were hosted in Florence.

The 1993 national championship game — a thriller for the ages where UNA defeated Indiana, Pa. on the final drive for a 41-34 victory — remains the highest-attended game in Braly Stadium history with an overflow of 15,631 fans in attendance.

UNA went on to become the first school in the history of NCAA scholarship football to win three consecutive national championships from 1993-95, and UNA is still the only NCAA Division II institution to have won three straight crowns.

From 1993-95 the Lions went 41-1 and set a Division II record by ranking No. 1 in the nation in 27 straight polls. UNA also tied a Division II record by winning 28 consecutive home games at Braly Stadium.

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