Naperville to celebrate North Central's college football championship
Naperville will celebrate the North Central College Cardinals' recent Division III National Championship in football with a procession and rally Friday, Jan. 31, at the school's Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium.
The city's police and fire departments will lead players and coaches in a 3:30 p.m. processional from Fire Station 7, 1380 Aurora Ave., to the 4 p.m. rally at the stadium at 455 S. Brainard St.
The Cardinals won the championship Dec. 20 with a 41-14 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Shenandoah, Texas. Although it was the school's first national title in football, North Central has now won 40 national titles, including women's basketball, men's cross country, men's indoor and outdoor track and field, and women's triathlon.
The college's first national championship was a men's swimming and diving title in 1958.
"The City of Naperville is thrilled to recognize our hometown college, North Central College, for its incredible football season and National Championship win," Mayor Steve Chirico said in a statement.
The rally will feature performances from North Central's Cardinal Marching Band and cheerleaders. Speakers will include head coach Jeff Thorne, college President Troy D. Hammond; Athletic Director Jim Miller; and one or more members of the team.
"The Cardinal football team's national championship was the culmination of an astounding decade for North Central College and our athletics programs," Hammond said. "Over the past 10 years, the Cardinals have brought 17 team national titles back to Naperville, which puts the college in rare company across all divisions of NCAA athletics ...
"And while we celebrate success on the playing field, the record that we're most proud of is North Central's long history of helping students exceed their personal best inside and outside of the classroom and go on to become winners in life."
The processional route, which begins at Fire Station 7, will continue along Aurora Avenue, turn left on Washington Street, right on Benton Avenue, right on S. Brainard Street, cross Chicago Avenue and continue to the stadium.
Parking for the rally is available at the Central Parking Facility, 75 E. Chicago Ave.; the Municipal Center Parking Facility, 400 S. Eagle St.; and the Water Street Parking Facility, 120 Water St.