|« NCCU fans ponder Frazier-less future||No play no pay: Birmingham Council members consider ending cash for SWAC in 2014 budget »|
GSU breaks ground on Paulson expansion
Georgia Southern University broke ground for a $10 million football operations center and the construction of an additional 6,200 seats in Allen E. Paulson Stadium on Wednesday.
The projects come as the Eagles move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2014 and begin playing in the Sun Belt Conference.
“If you look at the Sun Belt Conference and the teams we are going to play, we need a facility like this to be able to compete with them and in recruiting, retaining and developing the players that we need at Georgia Southern,” said Eagles football coach Jeff Monken. “This is going to put us ahead of a lot of those schools immediately.”
The 50,000-square-foot football operations center, which is privately funded, will have state-of-the-art features and facilities including offices for the football coaches, locker rooms, workout facilities, meeting space and a Hall of Fame exhibit to showcase the history of the Eagles and the team’s legendary players.
“We are here today to witness the beginning of a new era in the history and tradition of Eagle football,” said Georgia Southern President Brooks Keel. “This journey started more than 30 years go with a wild idea and fearless expectations. It continues today as we break ground and begin a new chapter in the storied history of Georgia Southern football and move to the national stage.”
Last year, Georgia Southern students voted to pay a $75 fee to fund the move to FBS and a $25 fee for stadium expansion. The 1,100 seats to be added to the lower level of Paulson Stadium could be available this season, and more than 4,000 seats in an upper deck will be added to the north stands by 2014.
“Today marks a new timeline in the journey for Georgia Southern athletics,” said athletics director Tom Kleinlein. “The football operations center will house everything we need for our football program to be successful. The impact of these projects will be tremendous, and it’s happening because of the kind gifts of Eagle fans and the votes of our students.”
The Eagles, six-time national champions in the Football Championship Subdivision, will play the 2013 season in the Southern Conference but will not be eligible for the conference championship or the FSC playoffs.
In 2014, GSU will join the Sun Belt Conference but will not be eligible for a bowl game its first season.
GSU brings back Lunsford
In another move looking forward to the move up to the FBS, GSU announced the hiring of a new receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Chad Lunsford, who coached the slotbacks from 2003-06, is returning to the school. Lunsford spent the previous four years in an administrative position with the Auburn football program, serving as the director of scouting from May 2009 through December 2012, and most recently as the director of player personnel. Assisting with the day-to-day operations of Auburn football, with an emphasis on recruiting, organizing and overseeing the evaluation process fell under his purview.
“We are so excited to have Chad Lunsford return to Georgia Southern as a part of our staff,” Monken said. “Chad was a part of an era of Eagle Football that experienced great success, and we are confident that he will be instrumental in our success this season and in our move to FBS. He brings with him extensive experience in recruiting at Auburn the past few seasons, including the 2010 national championship season. He will certainly be an asset in our expanded recruiting efforts as we transition.”
By Savannah Morning News