PITTSBURG — Legendary Kansas City Chief and NFL Hall-of-Famer Bobby Bell’s words of encouragement capped off the NJCAA Championship Banquet on Wednesday at the Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center in Pittsburg.
President’s of both teams competing in the championship game on Thursday, Lackawanna and Mississippi Gulf Coast, exchanged gifts, and the NJCAA presented both head coaches with game balls ahead of the clash between the two teams.
Before the Banquet got off and running, a news conference was held where both teams got to answer questions from the media prior to banquet.
Lackawanna Head Coach Mark Duda closed the conference with remarks on how football allows student-athletes to be able to travel and see areas of the country they have never seen before.
Following the news conference, both teams got the opportunity to watch a highlight video of their season at the Championship Banquet.
Following dinner and the videos, the president of both schools took the podium to deliver short speeches, as well as coach Duda and MGC Head Coach Jack Wright.
Born in North Carolina, Bell spent his time on the podium sharing his experiences growing up during the segregation era, how that molded him into a hard-working young adult, and how he carried that blue-collar mindset to the University of Minnesota.
During his time with the Gophers, Bell helped the team win a national championship in 1960, and the Rose Bowl in 1962.
Bell remarked on the importance of staying disciplined, noting that the Chiefs linebacking group only committed five penalties in 12 years.
This year, Bell was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Bell closed his Keynote Speech by displaying the lightning-quick reflexes that led him to a hall-of-fame career, playing a game with players from both teams where he would snatch a quarter out the palm of their hand before they could close it.