East Tennessee State Buccaneers football
|East Tennessee State Buccaneers|
|Athletic director||Richard Sander|
|Head coach||Carl Torbush
3rd season, 7–15 (.318)
|Field surface||Field Turf|
|Location||Johnson City, Tennessee|
|NCAA division||Division I FCS|
|All-time record||335–406–27 (.454)|
|Bowl record||4–2 (.667)|
|Colors||Navy Blue and Gold
- For information on all East Tennessee State University sports, see East Tennessee State Buccaneers.
The East Tennessee State Buccaneers football program is the intercollegiate American football team for East Tennessee State University (ETSU) located in Johnson City, Tennessee. The team was dormant from the end of the 2003 season until being reinstated for the 2015 season. They played all of their 2015 home games, and will play all but one of their 2016 home games, at Kermit Tipton Stadium until their new stadium is built in 2017. The remaining 2016 home game, against Western Carolina on September 17, will be played at nearby Bristol Motor Speedway. Before ETSU dropped football, it competed in NCAA Division I as a Southern Conference (SoCon) football program. The revived program played as an independent in 2015 before returning to the SoCon in 2016. The school's first football team was fielded in 1920, and last fielded in 2003 with a revival coming in 2015.
East Tennessee State Normal School fielded its first football team in 1920. Navy blue and old gold, chosen in 1911, were the school colors. The team only played five games that year including two against local high school teams. W.R. Windes was the head coach for the first two seasons. In 1925, the school's name was changed to East Tennessee State Teachers College. The athletic teams were named "The Teachers". John Robinson was the head coach for the next 5 years.
In 1930, the school's name changed again to State Teachers College, Johnson City. In 1932, Gene McMurray was named the head coach. He coached for 10 straight seasons until the school stopped playing due to World War II. He came back to coach the team in 1946. His winning percentage during his 11 seasons was the highest in the history of Buc football. During his tenure, the team won the Smoky Mountain Conference championship in 1938 and the team's name changed to the "Buccaneers" (1935).
In 1943, the school's name changed to East Tennessee State College. In 1952, Star Wood became head coach. He led the team for 13 seasons; 1952 to 1953 and then 1955 to 1965. Coach Wood tops the list of total wins with 64. From 1952 to 1956, the team made five consecutive appearances in the Burley Bowl, compiling a 3–2 record. East Tennessee State College joined the Ohio Valley Conference in 1957.
In 1963, the college gained university status to become East Tennessee State University. Coach John Robert Bell led the team to a 10-0-1 record in 1969. They won the Ohio Valley Conference Championship and defeated Louisiana Tech, led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw, in the Grantland Rice Bowl. The Memorial Center opened in 1977 and was nicknamed the "Mini-Dome". The football team played their homes games indoors until the program was discontinued. In 1978, ETSU joined the Southern Conference.
In 2003, ETSU decided to discontinue the football team due to financial reasons. The last game was played at home on Nov. 22, 2003 against The Citadel. ETSU won the game 16-13 with a last second field goal. The school further left the Southern Conference. 
On January 29, 2013, the Student Government Association voted 22-5 to a $125 per semester fee increase that would fund the re-instatement of the football program. University President Dr. Brian Noland, who was in attendance for the vote, said that fee would be sufficient to support football and Title IX requirements that support additional women’s athletics. Noland crafted a football proposal to submit to the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). The Regents passed it in March 2013.
On March 29, 2013, the TBR approved a $125 fee increase to reinstate football at ETSU. It had also become widely known across the campus that the Mini-Dome would not host home games. ETSU is building a brand new football stadium to play host to all of its home games. On May 30, 2013, ETSU accepted an invitation to rejoin the Southern Conference in 2014 and reinstated football, with operations beginning shortly thereafter and the first class signed in 2014 in preparation for the first game in the 2015 season.
The Carl Torbush Era
Veteran coach Carl Torbush was chosen to helm the rebuilding of the program, and signed the first class in 2014 in preparation for the 2015 season debut. Since the Bucs' revival, they have played home games at Kermit Tipton Stadium/Steve Spurrier Field located on the campus of Science Hill High School in Johnson City. It was announced on February 6, 2015 that ETSU would play Tennessee at Neyland Stadium on September 8, 2018, the first meeting between the two schools. ETSU will receive a $500,000 payment for the game. The Carl Torbush era began on September 3, 2015 as the Bucs took on the Kennesaw State Owls. On July 15, 2015, it was announced that the first game against Kennesaw State and the homecoming game against Emory & Henry had sold out, and that standing-only tickets were then available. Torbush and the fledgling Bucs finished the 2015 season with a 2-9 record, with the wins over Warner and Kentucky Wesleyan.
- 1952–1956: NAIA
- 1957–1972: NCAA College Division
- 1973–1976: NCAA Division II
- 1978–2003: NCAA Division I–AA (now FCS)
- 2004–2014: No team
- 2015–present: NCAA Division I FCS
- 1920–1929: Independent
- 1930–1951: Smoky Mountain Conference
- 1949–1957: Volunteer State Athletic Conference
- 1957–1978: Ohio Valley Conference
- 1979–2003: Southern Conference
- 2004–2014: No team
- 2015: FCS independent
- 2016–present: Southern Conference
Note: ETSU was a full member of the Southern Conference in the 2015–16 school year, but played the 2015 football season as an FCS independent.
Division I-AA/FCS Playoffs results
The Buccaneers have appeared in the I-AA/FCS playoffs one time with an overall record of 1–1.
Notable former players
Notable alumni include:
- Donnie Abraham
- Sam Streiter
- Jorge Cimadevilla
- Earl Ferrell
- Thane Gash
- Maurice Kelly
- Steve Parker
- Gerald Sensabaugh
- Mike Smith
|1932||J. Gene McMurray||3||3||1||.500||74||56||18|
|1933||J. Gene McMurray||6||1||2||.778||131||45||86|
|1934||J. Gene McMurray||4||3||1||.562||56||47||9|
|1935||J. Gene McMurray||5||3||0||.625||80||68||12|
|1936||J. Gene McMurray||5||3||0||.625||82||32||50|
|1937||J. Gene McMurray||5||5||0||.500||77||107||-30|
|1938||J. Gene McMurray||6||2||0||.750||112||75||37|
|1939||J. Gene McMurray||5||3||0||.625||61||83||-22|
|1940||J. Gene McMurray||4||4||0||.500||65||61||4|
|1941||J. Gene McMurray||2||5||0||.285||21||85||-64|
|1946||J. Gene McMurray||7||1||0||.875||125||56||69|
|1947||Lloyd T. Roberts||5||4||0||.555||148||130||18|
|1948||Lloyd T. Roberts||6||2||1||.722||98||73||25|
|1949||Lloyd T. Roberts||5||4||0||.555||125||135||-10|
|1950||Lloyd T. Roberts||3||5||1||.389||126||125||1|
|1951||Lloyd T. Roberts||4||5||0||.444||115||148||-33|
|1966||John Robert Bell||3||6||0||.333||112||119||-7|
|1967||John Robert Bell||3||6||1||.350||133||145||-12|
|1968||John Robert Bell||5||5||0||.500||151||170||-19|
|1969||John Robert Bell||10||0||1||.954||219||114||105|
|1970||John Robert Bell||7||1||2||.800||161||81||80|
|1971||John Robert Bell||0||9||1||.050||108||242||-134|
|1972||John Robert Bell||3||7||0||.300||203||221||-18|
Future non-conference opponents
|Robert Morris||at Tennessee||at Appalachian State||at Vanderbilt||at Appalachian State|
|at James Madison||at Vanderbilt|
- "Athletics - Identity East Tennessee State University". Retrieved April 8, 2016.
- "ETSU looks to Science Hill for home field advantage over next 2 seasons".
- "ETSU, WCU to Play at Bristol Motor Speedway" (Press release). Southern Conference. January 29, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
- "College Football Data Warehouse". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- Kingsport Times. Kingsport, Tennessee. AP. November 20, 1938. Retrieved March 26, 2017 – via newspapers.com..
- "Johnson City Press: News".
- "ETSU among three invited to join Southern Conference in 2014". Hilton Head, SC. June 1, 2013.
- "ETSU football to face Tennessee during 2018 season". Johnson City, TN. February 6, 2015.
- "ETSU football opener, Homecoming sellout in minutes". Johnson City, TN. July 15, 2015.