Well, unfortunately it happened. The football program here at Georgia Southern has slipped from its traditional winning ways in the past few seasons.
With last year’s season off to a historically horrendous start, the Eagles had no choice but to part ways with head coach Tyson Summers and set out to find a new coach that could help revitalize the entire program.
They claim to have found the right guy for the job - former assistant coach Chad Lunsford - who was given the head coaching job in November after his brief splint as interim head coach following the midseason firing of Summers.
Lunsford brings feelings of excitement, adrenaline and hopefulness along with him, but do Eagle fans truly believe he’s the right guy to bring back the spark in Eagle football? It’s safe to say no one is thinking the opposite.
To get a real feel for what Eagle Nation was thinking, I sat down with 8-year season ticket holder Kaye Williams to get her opinion on the hire.
“I think they needed to give him a chance,” Williams said.
Williams said that while she thinks this year is going to be more of a rebuilding year for the Eagles, she thinks Lunsford is indeed the right fit for the program and will definitely return it to its winning tradition.
The fire and intensity Lunsford possesses won over his players before he was even named head coach. From his inspiring speeches to the iconic slamming of a metal chair post-game in the locker room, he undoubtedly had the team's support.
The hashtag “#WeWantLunsford” that was started by players and spread like wildfire throughout the rest of Eagle Nation made the choice clear for Georgia Southern’s athletic department, but it remains to be seen if the clear and popular choice among the players and fans is indeed the right one for the long haul.
As we all know, the student body's opinion on a coach can make a big impact with the program, so Carter Baldwin, sophomore at Georgia Southern, gave his thoughts on the hiring of Lunsford.
“I think the hire was respectable because all the players like him and he’s a really good guy,” Baldwin said.
He added that he personally thinks keeping Lunsford was the right move and feels that the team will be successful again within the next two years.
Of course, Eagle Nation wants the football team to get back on its usual track of success immediately, but the rational fans know it might take a little bit of time. No one is expecting a complete turnaround, “worst-to-first,” for the Eagles in the upcoming season, but it would help Lunsford’s cause if the team delivers on a much higher level and wins more games than last year.
We'll see if Lunsford can meet, or exceed, the expectations placed on him when the 2018 season, his first full season as head coach, kicks off from Paulson Stadium on the first of September.
Ryan Pye, The George-Anne Sports Reporter, firstname.lastname@example.org