Georgia Southern Eagles

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Georgia Southern Eagles
Logo
University Georgia Southern University
Conference Sun Belt Conference
NCAA Division I (FBS)
Athletic director Tom Kleinlein
Location Statesboro, GA
Varsity teams 15
Football stadium Paulson Stadium
Basketball arena Hanner Fieldhouse
Baseball stadium J.I. Clements Stadium
Mascot Freedom (live); GUS (costume)
Nickname Eagles
Fight song Georgia Southern Fight Song
Colors
     Navy blue       White
Website www.georgiasoutherneagles.com

The Georgia Southern Eagles are the athletic teams of Georgia Southern University. The Eagles compete in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) (formerly I-A) and are members of the NCAA Division I Sun Belt Conference. Prior to joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014, the Eagles were members of the Trans America Athletic Conference (presently known as the Atlantic Sun Conference) and the Southern Conference. During their time at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS/1-AA) level, the Eagles won an unprecedented six national championships.

Traditions[edit]

Mascot Gus the Eagle

Nickname[edit]

Eagles is the third nickname of Georgia Southern University. From 1924 to 1941, the nickname was the Blue Tide. After World War II, athletic teams were referred to as the Professors, as the school was a teachers college. However, in 1959, when the school was renamed Georgia Southern College, a student vote was held to determine the new mascot. Eagles was chosen over Colonels by a narrow margin.[1]

Plain uniforms[edit]

When the program was revived in 1982, the school did not have a large budget and coach Erk Russell ordered solid blue helmets and asked the players to put a white strip of tape down the middle. The uniforms consisted of plain white pants and blue jerseys without names.[2] With the subsequent success of the Eagles, the basic simple design of the uniforms has remained the same.

Kickoff Chant[edit]

Prior to every kickoff, it is expected all in attendance in unison yell "GO" and when the ball is kicked yell "Blue! One More Time!" The phrase 'one more time' was coined by legendary coach Erk Russell.

Yellow School Buses[edit]

When the football team was started again in 1981, money was tight. In fact, there wasn't enough money to furnish transportation. The Bulloch County school system sold two buses for a dollar each to the team. The buses have been used by the team ever since as transportation to the Allen E. Paulson Stadium. It has become a rich tradition and many gather before the game to watch the arrival of the yellow school buses and the "Eagle Walk" procession by the team and coaches into the stadium.

Freedom's Flight[edit]

As part of the pregame ceremonies, Georgia Southern's living mascot, Freedom, a bald eagle, makes a flight from the top of the press box down to the field. It has been described as "the most exciting 30 seconds of college football."

One More Time![edit]

This is the motto of Georgia Southern. It was coined by Coach Erk Russell after the team's 1986 National Championship when he said, "Hey ladies, hey fellas, hey gentlemen, hey everybody, one more time for the greatest team in America!" The phrase 'one more time' was forever immortalized and to this day is used often.

Georgia...! Southern...![edit]

This is the most well known chant of Georgia Southern. It starts by one person, or side of the crowd, yelling "Georgia!" and the other side or person responding "Southern!"

Whose house...? Our house...![edit]

This chant is done in the same fashion as the "Georgia... Southern..." chant. It used in the same way as the "Georgia... Southern..." chant to make the Allen E. Paulson Stadium the toughest place for Georgia Southern's opposition to play in.

Fight Song[edit]

Listen to the Fight Song -[3]

Wave the blue, wave the white
Hold the banner high
The Eagles are on the wing.
Sound a cry to the sky,
As we look for glory.
Victory now we sing.
Hail the blue, hail the white
Hail the team that's soaring
Upward to bring us fame;
Georgia Southern Eagles
Fight on to victory and
Win this game!

Blue and white-fight, fight!
Blue and white-fight, fight!
Georgia Southern-Eagles!
Fight, fight, fight!

Football[edit]

The head coach of the Eagles is Willie Fritz. The Eagles have won an unprecedented six NCAA FCS (I-AA) National Championships (1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999, and 2000) and ten Southern Conference championships (1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004,2011, and 2012). Home football games are played at Allen E. Paulson Stadium, known as "The Prettiest Little Stadium in America." Georgia Southern fielded its first football team in 1910; however, the sport was suspended for World War II and was not restarted until 1982.[4]

Erk Russell[edit]

Main article: Erk Russell

In 1981, former University of Georgia Defensive Coordinator Erksine "Erk" Russell was hired to restart the football program at Georgia Southern College (as the university was called at the time), a program that had not competed in forty years. Erk Russell became America's winningest coach, leading to the Eagles to three national championships. The Eagles extended Division I's longest home win streak from 26 to 37 games, gaining distinction as the only 15-0 college team of the twentieth century. Russell's final record at Georgia Southern, after his retirement in 1989, was 83-22-1 (.788).[5]

Erk Russell addressed the team the night before his shocking and sudden death on September 8, 2006. Georgia Southern University and thousands of friends, family, and fans gathered at Paulson Stadium to mourn the passing of Erk Russell, one of America's most exciting and successful college football coaches.[6]

Since Russell's departure, football has continued to be prominent at Georgia Southern. Head coach Tim Stowers succeeded Russell and won the 1990 national title, while Paul Johnson added two more in 1999 and 2000 with teams led by all-time Division I rushing leader Adrian Peterson. Former coach of the Eagles, Chris Hatcher, was previously the head coach at Valdosta State University, where he had an all time record of 76-12. In his first season as head coach, Hatcher led the Eagles to a record of 7-4.[7]

Beautiful Eagle Creek[edit]

Beautiful Eagle Creek

When Georgia Southern resurrected football in 1981, it lacked tradition. A drainage ditch that the team had to cross several times a day during football practice came to be called Beautiful Eagle Creek by legendary Head Football Coach Erk Russell. When the Eagles traveled to Northern Iowa during the 1985 playoffs, Coach Russell brought along a jug of Eagle Creek water to sprinkle on the field. The Eagles were victorious and went on to win many national championships with the help of that magical water. Today, the jug is on display at Georgia Southern University and signs have been erected along the creek.

The Hugo Bowl[edit]

In 1989, ESPN was to broadcast a Thursday Night Football game between the Georgia Southern Eagles and the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. However, Hugo, a category 4 hurricane, was headed straight towards the coast of Georgia. At the time of landfall, Hugo ranked as the eleventh most intense hurricane to strike U.S. this century, and it delivered the highest ever recorded storm surge on the East Coast. Nevertheless, the decision was made to continue with the game. For safety purposes, an open line was kept between the press box at Paulson Stadium and the National Hurricane Center in Florida. The Eagles went on to defeat MTSU by a score of 26-0 in a game known as the Hugo Bowl.

Baseball[edit]

The baseball team is led by head coach Rodney Hennon, who is in his eighth year at Georgia Southern. Georgia Southern played its first year of baseball in 1933.[8] The team went to the College World Series in 1973 and 1990 and has appeared in 11 NCAA regionals. The team was also crowned the NAIA National Champions in 1962, sweeping Portland State.[9] The team won the Southern Conference Tournament for the 2009 season with a 7 to 3 victory over top seeded Elon and clinch its first SoCon title since 2002. They also won the 2011 SoCon Tournament after Chris Beck pitched a complete game shutout against Samford University. They went on to lose two hard fought games against future national champion South Carolina, losing a 2-1 decision, and NC State, coming short by three runs in a 5-2 game.

Men's basketball[edit]

The head coach of the Georgia Southern men's basketball squad is Mark Byington.[10] The team participated in the NCAA Division I Tournament in 1983, 1987 and 1992, and the NIT in 1988, 1989 and 2006.[11] The first year of men's basketball at Georgia Southern was 1926, and the first year the school played in Division I was 1971.[12] Georgia Southern basketball player Roger Moore was the first African-American athlete to receive a scholarship in the University System of Georgia.[13]

Women's volleyball[edit]

Women's soccer[edit]

Georgia Southern has typically had a rather weak women's soccer team until the 2012 season where second-year Head Coach, Lindsey Vanderspiegel, led the team to a 10-8-5 mark and also led the team to their first Southern Conference Championship. However, Vanderspiegel would depart for the VCU Rams women's soccer team. The Eagles would fail to defend their SoCon title in the 2013 season under new head coach, Brian Dunleavy, as they would fail to even make the SoCon Tournament.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Darius Eubanks 2013 Linebacker - Cleveland Browns
Adrian N. Peterson Running Back - Chicago Bears
J.J. Wilcox 2013 Safety - Dallas Cowboys (Second Round Draft Pick in 2013)
Jerick McKinnon 2014 Running Back - Minnesota Vikings (Third Round Draft Pick in 2014)
Laron Scott Defensive Back - New York Giants
Tracy Ham member of the College Football Hall of Fame, 1995 CFL Most Outstanding Player
Michael Curry Former head coach of the Detroit Pistons, former NBA player and president of the NBA Players Association
Sorden Davis Assistant Women's Basketball Coach at San Francisco State University
Rob Bironas Attended, but did not graduate from GSU NFL kicker, holds record most field goals in a game (8)
Victor Roache MLB Outfielder, NCAA Homerun Derby Participant, Led NCAA Div.I Baseball in HR
Jeff Sanders NBA player, first round draft pick
Todd Greene MLB Catcher
Joey Hamilton MLB Pitcher
Fred Stokes Former NFL Player
Kiwaukee Thomas Former NFL player
Earthwind Moreland Former NFL Player

References[edit]

  1. ^ Georgia Southern Football Media Guide, 2004. 188
  2. ^ Delma Eugene Presley, The Southern Century. Statesboro: Georgia Southern University, 2006. 230.
  3. ^ http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/traditions/audiofiles/fightsong.mp3
  4. ^ Delma Eugene Presley, The Southern Century. Statesboro: Georgia Southern University, 2006. 50.
  5. ^ http://www.tscsports.com/news/publish/article_6785.shtml
  6. ^ http://www.uga.edu/columns/060918/news-obits.html
  7. ^ http://www.ncaafootball.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=36&url_article_id=12720&change_well_id=2
  8. ^ http://www.georgiasoutherneagles.com/pdf5/96489.pdf?ATCLID=1312642&SPSID=99579&SPID=10900&DB_OEM_ID=18700
  9. ^ Delma Eugene Presley, The Southern Century. Statesboro: Georgia Southern University, 2006. 179.
  10. ^ Georgia Southern hires Charlton Young as coach - ESPN
  11. ^ Georgia Southern Eagles Basketball 2005-06 Schedule - Eagles Home and Away - ESPN
  12. ^ http://www.georgiasoutherneagles.com/downloads1/26529.pdf?ATCLID=1283216&SPSID=97230&SPID=10903&DB_OEM_ID=18700
  13. ^ Delma Eugene Presley, The Southern Century. Statesboro: Georgia Southern University, 2006. 190.

External links[edit]