History will be made this morning.
Around 8 o’clock some 70 football wannabes will show up at Georgia State. And with their arrival the Panthers will, for the first time in the school’s history, have an actual football team on campus (sort of).
The players will spend the first few hours of Tuesday checking into the University Commons dormitories on Piedmont Road. About 11 a.m., Georgia State’s first coach, Bill Curry (you may have heard of him), will hold a brief news conference in the school’s football offices. A few of the 27 scholarship players signed so far will also be available for interviews. I’ll be there to check out the scene.
After three days of orientation — “We’re going to teach them our rules, our systems, what we expect on and off the field,” Curry said — Georgia State will hold its first practice on Friday.
So much about the Panthers’ new program is makeshift. The football offices are in a suite in Citizens Trust Building. They will hold their practices at MLK Middle School on campus. They’ll also get the use of the 70-yard artificial turf field next door at the Boys & Girls Club.
“It’s only 1.2 miles away from campus,” the eternally optimistic Curry points out.
When they finally get on the field it will have been 14 months since Curry was hired as coach. They won’t play their first game for another 13 months. There is much work to be done between now and then. Curry has spent more time trying to raise funds for facilities than he has on actual football. Now comes the fun part.
“I am so delighted,” said Curry, who has 17 years of head coaching experience at Georgia Tech, Alabama and Kentucky. “This is what I love. What I love is being with the student-athletes and getting a chance to influence them and get them off to the right kind of start, not just to their college career but the rest of their lives. This is a riveting time for a young person, and I’m thrilled that it’s finally here.”