Spring Practice Schedule Announced (and other news and notes)

Spring Practice

It’s good to have stability once again. A year ago at this time Chad Lunsford was still scrambling to fill out his coaching staff and salvage a respectable recruiting class. Under tremendous pressure, he did a masterful job at both tasks. The results speak for themselves.
This year the demands are quite different. The coaching staff is firmly entrenched and bulk of the recruiting class has already been signed. The Eagles can hit the ground running this offseason. The focus this time around is maintaining, or even building on the momentum from 2018.
With that in mind, Georgia Southern will start spring practice early this year. The first practice is slated for February 13 and the Blue and White game will be on March 9. That’s as early as I have ever seen it. Here is the schedule:

Wed., Feb. 13; 5:45-8 PM
Fri., Feb. 15; 4:30-7:15 PM
Sat., Feb. 16; 10:15 AM-12:30 PM (Eagle Creek)
Tues., Feb. 19; 5:45-8 PM
Wed., Feb. 20; 5:45-8 PM
Fri., Feb. 22; 4:30-7:15 PM
Sat., Feb. 23; 10:15 AM-12:30 PM (Scrimmage #1)
Tues., Feb. 26; 5:45-8 PM
Wed., Feb. 27; 5:45-8 PM
Fri., March 1; 4:30-7:15 PM
Sat., March 2; 10:15 AM-12:30 PM (Scrimmage #2)
Tues., March 5; 5:30-7:30 PM
Wed., March 6; 5:30-7:30 PM
Fri., March 8; 4:30-7:15 PM
Sat., March 9; 11 a.m. (SPRING GAME)

Only one practice will take place at Beautiful Eagle Creek (no lights), the rest will be at Paulson Stadium. It was smart of the athletic department to schedule a triple-header of sporting events for March 9: Blue/White Game at 11 am, Baseball vs UNC-Asheville at 2 pm, and Men’s Basketball season finale vs. rival Georgia State at 5 pm.
The storylines surrounding this spring game are less dramatic than last year, for good reason. Less question marks then last year. This spring is all about building continuity and striking while the iron is still hot. As we get closer expect a more in depth preview of spring ball.

Lunsford and Staff Extended

On January 17th it was announced that Chad Lunsford and his staff would get much deserved raises and extensions. Lunsford’s contract stretches until 2023. Five years constitutes a full recruiting cycle including redshirts. Being able to not only attract coaching talent, but retain it, is the number one priority if Georgia Southern wants to sustain its winning ways. In order to do this, contributing to the Coaches’ Continuity Fund is paramount.

Under this agreement, the contracts of Lunsford, the 10 assistant coaches and several support staff members were re-worked to increase the salaries and restructure the incentive packages. In addition, a one-year extension was added to Lunsford’s deal. The funds for these raises and bonuses come from external sources, mainly the contributions from donors to the Coaches’ Continuity Fund set up through the Georgia Southern Athletic Foundation.

Athletic departments have to be creative in order to get the fans to open their wallets. Georgia Southern is no exception. They are currently auctioning off all the metal-folding chairs that Chad Lunsford elbowed this past season. The prices range from $500 on the low end to $4,200 for the full set. Go ahead and make your mancave a little more awesome than your neighbors.

Kyle Marrero Named President

On January 17th the Georgia Board of Regents named Dr. Kyle Marrero president of Georgia Southern University. Marrero held the same position at the University of West Georgia, a position he’s held since 2013. Under his leadership, UWG has achieved record enrollment, record graduation rates, and record fundraising. Additionally…

Also under Dr. Marrero’s leadership, the institution was honored to be selected as the University System of Georgia 2015 Institution and President of the Year for the Chancellor’s Service Excellence Awards. As one of Georgia Trend’s 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 “100 Most Influential Georgians,”

I am an alum of both Georgia Southern and West Georgia so I could not be more happy about this move. West Georgia reminds me of Georgia Southern 10-20 years ago. UWG is growing rapidly and Marrero did a good job managing that growth. Marrero will take over from Interim President Shelley Nickel on April 1.
One of Dr. Marrero most challenging tasks will be figuring out how to fuse the Statesboro and Savannah campuses up into one cohesive unit. It has proven to be a great challenge. Some conjecture that the consolidation was one of the main reasons Marrero’s predecessor Dr. Jaimie Herbert left. Speaking of…

Graduation Changes

This week Georgia Southern announced that it would be adjusting how spring graduation would take place:

Individual ceremonies for the College of Education, the Waters College of Health Professions and the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health are scheduled for Savannah. The ceremonies for the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Parker College of Business, the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing and the College of Science and Mathematics will be held in Statesboro.
The university-wide ceremony is set for Saturday, May 11 at 9 a.m in Paulson Stadium and the individual ceremonies will be May 10 and 11 across both Statesboro and Armstrong campuses.

This announcement sent the student body and much of Eagle nation into a tizzy. The debates at SGA meetings on both campuses have been heated. The Armstrong SGA has already approved a resolution asking the University to reverse these changes.
Naturally, the Armstrong/Liberty consolidation presents new opportunities for Georgia Southern as an institution, there are still going to be growing pains in the near term. No one knows for sure how this is going to work. It’s up to Dr. Marrero to figure it out.

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