|« Opinion: Gimme a w-a-s-t-e! That Spells (UNCC) Football!||Penn Alum Hynoski Elected to PA State Hall Of Fame »|
BFFF's Attention on Getting Right New President at ETSU
JOHNSON CITY – The Buc Football and Friends Foundation held its annual strategy session Saturday morning at the Best Western Motel in Johnson City and came to one conclusion regarding bringing football back to the school: All efforts need to be focused on getting a football-friendly future president.
President Paul Stanton, Jr., has announced his retirement effective March 1, 2009 and a president to replace him is expected to be chosen sometime in the next six to seven months.
“Our biggest job is working to get a president who wants football back,” said Troy DeCastro, a former player who is active in the group. “We have three or four months to get it done. If the wrong person gets in, the chances of bringing football back will be long.”
The group has already made strides. It has gotten a non-binding resolution through the Tennessee House and Senate that has been signed by the Governor, calling for return of the sport at the school.
Virtually all area legislators are on record in support and currently area mayors are being asked to also offer their support.
Despite the favorable public support, former ETSU running back and current Tennessee High head coach Greg Stubbs said a lot of hard work needs to be done to make it happen.
“It’s not going to be easy,” said Stubbs. “A lot of the group responsible for disbanding football is still there (in the administration) and will be working toward getting their person in.”
Nothing influences the decision more than who the president is, said Stubbs.
“Austin Peay had disbanded football, but when a new president came in she wanted football back and set about making it happen. And they didn’t have a group pushing it like we do.”
Another push will be made to increase the numbers of the group.
“There is strength in numbers,” said former Buc Adam Walton, “and we need to boost our numbers so when we meet the news president in April, we can say we have a lot of people behind us.”
Cost of membership is only $25 and supporters can go onto the BFFF website (accessable through TriCitiesSports.com’s ETSU page) and print out a membership form, complete it and mail it in with a check.
It was noted that South Alabama, UNC-Charlotte and Georgia State are the latest schools to begin developing football programs. All are going Division I-A. ETSU is looking to return to Division I-AA.
Alumnus Kim Reece noted that Appalachian State – where she has a degree in addition to her degree at ETSU – has won the last three NCAA Division I-AA titles and this year has turned away 5,000 students who had applied.
Pointing out the positive reasons for bringing the sport back is part of the process the group wants to use to influence a choice of a pro-football president.
“We can worry about building field house and stadium once we get the right person in place,” said DeCastro.
The group revealed that former Buc football player and current Atlanta Falcon head coach Mike Smith will be the guest speaker at next year’s BFFF reunion June 5-6, 2009.
BFFF’s Attention on Getting Right New President at ETSU
By Ron Bliss, Tri Cities Sports
Photo Credit: Ron Bliss, Tri Cities Sports