UNC Pembroke Braves football

The UNC Pembroke Braves football team represents the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in college football, competing as an NCAA Division II independent. Pembroke plays its home games at the 4,000 seat Grace P. Johnson Stadium at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Field, which is located on-campus in Pembroke, North Carolina. Although only fielding a modern team since the 2007 season, Pembroke previously fielded teams between the 1946 and 1950 seasons as Pembroke State.[2]

UNC Pembroke Braves
UNC Pembroke Braves alternate logo.svg
First season2007
Athletic directorDick Christy
Head coachShane Richardson
6th season, 26–37 (.413)
StadiumGrace P. Johnson Stadium
(Capacity: 4,000)
Field surfaceGrass
LocationPembroke, North Carolina
ConferenceDivision II Independent
All-time record76–61 (.555)
ColorsBlack and Gold[1]
WebsiteUNC Pembroke Braves Football


Pembroke State fielded their first team in 1946.[3] Having played only five games in the inaugural season, James Sampson served as head coach.[3] Sampson served as head coach through the termination of the football program following the 1950 season.

Without sanctioned football since the 1950 season, on December 1, 2004, the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees voted unanimously to proceed with the development of a football program to begin play by the 2007 season.[4] With stadium expansion complete by summer 2005, Pembroke announced the hiring of Pete Shinnick as the reinstated program's head coach on December 13, 2005.[5] With the team in place, the Braves lost their inaugural game on the road to the Davidson Wildcats 31–21 on September 1,[6] and notched their first win in their first home game after they defeated Greensboro College 26–20 on September 8 en route to completing the 2007 campaign with a 4–7 record.[7]

Pembroke improved upon their 2007 record through and finished the 2008 season with a record of 9–1. The 2008 squad featured a defense that lead all of Division II in scoring defense that only allowed 11.20 points per game; was second in total defense with 226.60 yards per game; and was fourth in rushing defense with 71.60 yards per game.[8]

In 2017, Pembroke entered into a scheduling alliance with the South Atlantic Conference. The agreement was originally set to run through the 2020 season,[9] but Pembroke will end the agreement a year early after reaching a larger agreement on associate membership with the Mountain East Conference (MEC). Under the MEC agreement, Pembroke will become an associate member in all five of the school's varsity sports that are not sponsored by its full-time home of the Peach Belt Conference, including football.[10]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
UNC Pembroke Braves (Independent) (2007–present)
2007 Pete Shinnick 4–7
2008 Pete Shinnick 9–1
2009 Pete Shinnick 9–2 L 41–13 vs. Arkansas Tech (Division II First Round)
2010 Pete Shinnick 5–5
2011 Pete Shinnick 8–3
2012 Pete Shinnick 6–4
2013 Pete Shinnick 9–2 L 37–13 vs. North Alabama (Division II Second Round)
2014 Shane Richardson 2–8
2015 Shane Richardson 6–4
2016 Shane Richardson 10–2 L 41–17 vs. North Alabama (Division II Second Round)
2017 Shane Richardson 2–8
2018 Shane Richardson 2–8
2019 Shane Richardson 4-7
Total: 76–61
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


While Pembroke is not a football member of a particular conference, they do share a rivalry with geographically close schools, such as the Fayetteville State University and Wingate University.

Fayetteville State and Pembroke are separated by only 47 miles, with the rivalry named for the Lumber River near Pembroke and the Cape Fear River near Fayetteville, NC. Both schools square off for bragging rights, as many of the players on both teams come from the surrounding Robeson, Cumberland, Richmond, Scotland, Hoke and Moore counties.[11]

One of Pembroke's first games in 2007 was against Wingate, and they have played every year since. With both schools located just off of US-74, and a little over 80 miles apart, these two schools have experienced a close rivalry over the past years.

Primary UNCP Football Rivalries: All-Time Records
Name of rivalry Rival Games played First meeting Last meeting UNCP Won UNCP Lost Ties Streak Latest win
Two Rivers Classic Fayetteville State Broncos 4 2009 2012 4 0 0 4 wins 2012, 31-21
Battle for 74 Wingate Bulldogs 6 2007 2012 2 4 0 1 win 2012, 49-35
Totals 10 6 4 0


  1. ^ UNC Pembroke Style Guide (PDF). February 18, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  2. ^ McGhee, Khary K. (January 22, 2005). "Revitalization project". The Fayetteville Observer.
  3. ^ a b The Indianhead. Digital North Carolina Library. 1947. pp. 39–40. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  4. ^ McGhee, Khary K. (December 2, 2004). "Football returns to UNCP". The Fayetteville Observer.
  5. ^ Pope, Tomas (December 14, 2005). "Braves hire Shinnick as coach". The Fayetteville Observer.
  6. ^ Friedlander, Brett (September 6, 2007). "Time to celebrate at UNCP". The Fayetteville Observer.
  7. ^ Graff, Michael N. (September 9, 2007). "Home, sweet home: Braves win". The Fayetteville Observer.
  8. ^ NCAA. "UNC Pembroke Football Ranking Summary". Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  9. ^ "South Atlantic Conference announces football schedule with UNCP" (Press release). University of North Carolina at Pembroke. May 17, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "Davis & Elkins To Join MEC; UNC Pembroke To Be Associate Member" (Press release). Mountain East Conference. August 30, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  11. ^ http://robesonian.com/view/full_story/20063709/article-Braves-gear-up-for-fourth--Classic--against-Broncos

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