First Bank gift supports UNCP football


When UNC Pembroke’s new football team takes the field in 2007, Chancellor Allen C. Meadors will take his place in the stadium in the First Bank Chancellor’s Box.


From left: Chancellor Allen C. Meadors and representing First Bank: President Jerry Ocheltree, Area Executive Susie Jones, Chief Operating Officer Anna Hollers, Pembroke Manager Lucille Locklear and Region Executive Mike Hardin.

First Bank, with headquarters in Troy, N.C., announced a $50,000 gift to the University at a Friday, March 10 luncheon. First Bank executives may soon get a view of Braves’ football from the First Bank Chancellor’s Box, as bank President Jerry Ocheltree noted.

“I have a soft place in my heart for small college football,” Ocheltree said. “I was part of a very good team at a small college in West Virginia.”

“The values and discipline instilled by playing football stay with you for life,” he said. “I am excited that we can be a part of football in Pembroke.”

First Bank has four offices in Robeson County, including one in Pembroke and 17 branches within a 50-mile radius of UNCP. With $1.8 billion in assets, the bank has deep roots in their communities, said Anna Hollers, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“We have a saying: ‘We have roots where others only have branches,’” Hollers said. “We love giving back to our communities, and we’re all about education in all our communities.”

“We are huge supporters of UNCP,” she said. “Go Braves!”

Chancellor Meadors, who has spearheaded the football program at UNCP, thanked the bank representatives.

“We thank you for your commitment to the University,” Chancellor Meadors said. “If you can come, we promise a fun Saturday afternoon in Pembroke.”

In fall 2007, football will return to Pembroke after a more than 50-year absence. Chancellor Meadors discussed the meaning of football for a rapidly growing regional university, its students and the surrounding community.

“This is football country, and we’ll have a large number of players from the region,” he said. “With their families in the stands, this will be a big thing, a social event.”

“Pembroke is becoming a really neat college town, and football will help,” Chancellor Meadors said. “This will be a big thing on Saturday afternoons.”

Assistant football coach Shane Richardson said the excitement is growing in the region.

“Our recruiting has concentrated on this region, and we’ve visited every high school.” Richardson said. “We have 30 recruits identified and ready to come to UNCP to play football.”

UNCP hired head football coach Peter Shinnick in December 2005 and two key assistant coaches in 2006. The “First and Ten Campaign for Football and Athletic Excellence” is in its first phase with more than $1 million in gifts committed and a goal of $4 million.

Representing First Bank at Friday’s luncheon were Pembroke Advisory Board members Bill Oxendine, Eddie Mac Locklear, Dr. Diane Jones and Ron Brown. Also in attendance were Area Executive Susie Jones, Region Executive Mike Hardin, Pembroke Manager Lucille Locklear, St. Pauls Branch Manager Andy Canady, Fairmont Manager Vayda Taylor and Pembroke staff Peggy Hunt and Gary Strickland.

* * *

For more information about the First and Ten Campaign, please call UNCP’s Office for Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email To learn more about football at UNCP, please call the Athletic Department at 910.521.6227.