“show up, ’cause we’re gonna show out.”
Who is Chad Lunsford?
Who is this tight end coach/special teams coordinator tasked with steering the S.S. GATA back to safe waters, after it has hit an iceberg, lost its captain, and sprung a few leaks? That’s what inquiring minds wanted to know while listening to his introductory press conference Monday. I gotta say, I came away impressed. He speaks with a confidence and swagger that is a nice change of pace.
The Sun Belt media, however, just did not care one way or the other. They got what they wanted out of Lunsford’s introductory press conference, I suppose. But his weekly teleconference was a grand total of 2:33 long. Aside from some introductory remarks, he wasn’t asked a single question. Has Georgia Southern become that irrelevant?
Such disrespect for the 12th head coach in Georgia Southern history. Chad Lunsford is the longest-tenured coach on the staff. There’s a reason he’s lasted this long. In 2016, Lunsford was named as a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award for college football’s top assistant coach.
He can coach and recruit like hell. He’s been an assistant coach at Georgia Southern under Mike Sewak, Jeff Monken, Willie Fritz, and Tyson Summers. Lunsford has had stops at Auburn, Appalachian State, Georgia Military, among other places as well. He’s a swiss army knife.
This is a good choice. If Tom Kleinlein had made it in December instead (hypothetically) I would’ve been even happier. Heck, after the New Hampshire loss, when the Eagles still had two bye weeks ahead of them, was ideal for a midseason move. Why was UMass the breaking point and losing to an FCS team not? Better late than never?
The timing, halfway through the season, and the prorated nature of Summers’ contract made the timing ideal for the financially cautious Tom Kleinlein. Georgia Southern makes up the difference if Tyson Summers gets hired elsewhere.
I am glad Chad Lunsford was named the interim head coach. I think Eagle nation should give him their complete and total support. The 2018 season starts now, for all intents and purposes. Here is Lunsford’s CV.
1997-99: Georgia Military Academy (TE/RB/defensive assistant)
2000-01: Appalachian State (TE)
2003-05: Georgia Southern (slotbacks)
2006: Griffin High School (OLB)
2007-10: Georgia Military Academy (linebackers)
2010-13: Auburn (Director of Scouting and Director of Player Personnel)
2013: Georgia Southern (WR)
2014-15: Georgia Southern (TE/Recruiting Coordinator)
2016: Georgia Southern (TE/Special Teams Coordinator)
2017: Georgia Southern (TE/Special Teams Coordinator/asst. head coach)
Afterward, Lunsford was asked by a reporter if he viewed this as an interview for the permanent job.
“Dang straight I do,” Lunsford said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at a school that I love, a school that I believe in. I’m going to do the best job I can do to try to get it.”
You could see why he has become known as one of the best recruiters in the Sun Belt. When the man speaks you can tell that he bleeds blue. You can tell he 100% believes in Georgia Southern University as an institution and loves living in Statesboro. That’s why he’s survived so long, he’s good, and he loves it here. After all,
“It’s about our players in this building, but obviously recruiting is the lifeblood of what we do, and we have to spend time at it,” he said.
“This place is easy to sell. I’ve raised my kids here, I live here in Statesboro, and this is the place where I want to be. When I actually feel that way, it’s very easy to sell that to kids. When we’re recruiting them, I’m telling them the truth, and they come here and experience it.”
Statesboro has a way of luring people in. He’s right. It’s not a hard place to sell. It’s refreshing to hear a guy that speaks my language. I’m sure many Eagle fans would agree. the late great Erk Russell once said that:
“Do what your momma tells you to do, go to sunday school, go to church, and when you die, you’ll go to Statesboro.”
Lunsford is sort of a dark horse for the head coaching job if you ask me. Eagle fans don’t want to hear it right now. Dreaming about Mike Houston or Brian Bohannon or whoever is much too fun. But Lunsford has a six-game audition to turn around this disaster.
I don’t expect much vs. Troy. Like Coach Lunsford said in the introductory presser, the last few days have been a whirlwind. A road game against one of the toughest teams in the conference, Troy, is not the ideal start to Lunsford’s head coaching career. But hey, the spread is +23.5, if the Eagles cover that and I’d call that progress. Whether it is with or without Shai Werts at QB? We will find out.
The next three weeks are crucial for Georgia Southern. Not for bowl eligibility or anything tangible this season, but for pride, bragging rights, and recruiting. Ya know, the stuff fans beat each other over the head with all day, every day. It’s the best and worst part about college sports at the same time.
vs. Georgia State
Those are Georgia Southern’s three biggest in-conference rivals. If you are a Southern alum like me and live in the Atlanta metropolitan area, chances are you work with a colleague that went to one of those three schools. You’ve probably been hearing trash talk or worse, outright pity, for the past couple years during the Eagles’ plight under Tyson Summers. Beating Georgia State is priority #1.
If Lunsford wants to keep his job beyond this season, winning one (or more) of the next three would be a great start. Troy, Georgia State, and App State are heavy favorites to beat the Eagles in all three games. We haven’t beaten App State or Georgia State since 2014. Don’t ask me how, but if anyone on the staff can figure it out, it’s Chad Lunsford.
I believe in the guy. You should too.
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