NCAAF Georgia Southern Eagles

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Sun Belt
Past Conferences:

City: Statesboro, Georgia 

Stadium: Paulson Stadium 

National Championships: 6 

Conference Titles: 11

Divisional Championships: 


Team History

Football at Georgia Southern University began in the early 1900s. However, in 1941 football was suspended for the University and it didn’t return until 1981. 


The team was brought back officially in 1982 under the head coach for University of Georgia, defensive coordinator Erk Russell. Russell has been the most successful person to ever coach at Georgia Southern. On the Eagles’ return, they finished with a 7-3-1 record. The years 1983 and 1984 also ended with winning records. However, from 1985-1989, the Eagles made the playoffs every single year. The Eagles made history in both 1985 and 1986 when they won the National Championship in both years. The Eagles were donating, going 13-2 in each season. In 1988, they returned to the championship but ultimately fell to Furman. However, in Russell’s last season the Eagles finished with a perfect 15-0 record and won the National Championship again. Russell’s stint ended with an 83–22–1 overall record and three championships. 


Former Georgia Southern offensive coordinator Tim Stowers became head coach from 1990-1995. In his first season, the Eagles picked up where they left off by going 12-3 and winning another National Championship against Nevada. In his second and third seasons, the Eagles posted identical 7-4 records. In 1993, the Eagles moved to the Southern Conference. They went 10-3 and won the SoCon in their first season. Stowers led the Eagles to a winning season each year during his tenure. Unfortunately, he was let go at the end of the 1995 season. 


5-Season SoCon Championships

Legendary coach Paul Johnson became head coach of the Eagles in 1997. Johnson was ultra-successful at the helm, and he led the team to a SoCon championship in each of his five seasons. In 1998, the Eagles finished 14-1 in his second season, with their only loss coming in the National Championship. Additionally, running back Adrian Peterson began to attend Georgia Southern. Peterson is one of the most decorated players in FCS history. He’s the all-time leading rusher in Georgia Southern and had 95 career touchdowns. In 1999 and 2000, the Eagles finished 13-2 and won back-to-back National Championships behind Johnson and Peterson. In 2001, the Eagles finished 12-2 and lost in the semifinals. Johnson decided to take the Navy job and Peterson was drafted by the Chicago Bears. 


Mike Sewak coached the Eagles from 2002-2005. He won two SoCon championships. However, due to his lack of postseason wins, he was let go. 


After a few average seasons, the Eagles hired Jeff Monken in 2010. In his first season, the Eagles finished 10-5 but fell in the semi-finals of the playoffs. The 2011-2012 seasons were Monken’s best. They finished 11-3 in 2011 and 10-4 in 2012. They lost in the semifinals of the playoffs each year but won the SoCon both times. After the 2012 season, Monkey left to coach Army. During his tenure, Kansas City Chiefs’ running back Jerick McKinnon put up nearly 4,000 rushing yards. He’s the third all-time leading rusher in Eagles’ history. 


Up and Down Seasons

Before the 2015 season, the Eagles made the move to the FBS. Willie Fritz coached the Eagles in 2014 and 2015.The Eagles took things by storm in 2014. They finished undefeated with a perfect 8-0 conference record. In 2015, the Eagles went 8-4 and clinched a berth for their first bowl game. They went on to beat Bowling Green 58-27 in the GoDaddy bowl. At the end of the 2015 season, Fritz took the head coaching job at Tulane. 


After a couple of underwhelming seasons, Chad Lunsford was named head coach in 2017. After a lackluster finish to the 2017 season, Lunsford put up winning seasons from 2018-2020. They had a combined 35-14 overall record during that time. They also went 2-1 in bowl games under Lunsford. However, after a slow start to the 2021 season Lunsford was fired. 


Clay Helton is the current coach at Georgia Southern. 

All-Time Records (CFB)

  • Passing yards

    • Tracy Ham: 5,757

    • Kyle Vantrease: 3,897

    • Raymond Gross: 3,806

    • Shai Werts: 3,777

    • Greg Hill: 3,369


  • Rushing yards

    • Adrian Peterson: 6,559

    • Jermaine Austin: 5,411

    • Jerick McKinnon: 3,899

    • Joe Ross: 3,876

    • Jayson Foster: 3,835

  • Receiving yards

    •  Monty Sharpe: 1,854

    •  Khaleb Hood: 1,711

    •  Raja Andrews: 1,538

    •  Tony Belser: 1,472

    •  B. J. Johnson III: 1,377

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