Photo courtesy of Georgia Southern athletics
After a 1-3 start to the 2021 season, Georgia Southern decided it was time for a change in Statesboro.
Head coach Chad Lunsford and the program ultimately decided to part ways. Lunsford’s final record in five seasons was 28-21. In 2018, the Eagles finished 10-3, but failed to reach 10 wins for the rest of the Lunsford era.
In the past three years, Georgia Southern finished 16-14 overall with a 9-8 record in Sun Belt Conference play. Now, for the first time since 2017, change is coming.
Do the Eagles continue the long history of the triple-option? Or do they change things up? Here are some candidates to watch out for:
Kennesaw State HC Brian Bohannon
Should Georgia Southern opt to stick with the triple-option, there may not be a better choice than Kennesaw State head coach Brian Bohannon.
Bohannon has coached at Kennesaw State since 2015. In fact, he is the only head coach in program history so far. In seven years, Bohannon has led the Owls to a 54-17 record and three FCS playoff appearances.
Bohannon has connections to Georgia Southern, where he was an assistant in the late-1990s into the early-2000s under Paul Johnson. He later joined Johnson again in 2008 at Georgia Tech, where he stayed until he was hired to coach the Owls.
Bohannon is one of the best triple-option minds in the game, and has led a new football program to unprecedented heights. When you pair those things with his connections to the state of Georgia, Bohannon is an obvious candidate.
Former Georgia Southern/Georgia Tech HC Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson is retired, so this might be a stretch. Still, he knows the triple-option better than everyone else.
From 1997 to 2001, Johnson served as head coach at Georgia Southern, where he won two national championships.
He would then go on to lead Navy and Georgia Tech over the next 18 years.
If Georgia Southern was interested and Johnson was willing to come out of retirement, a reunion could get the Eagles back on track.
Army OC Brent Davis
Here we have another triple-option brainiac, and one with ties to Georgia Southern.
Brent Davis has spent the past eight seasons as offensive coordinator at Army under Jeff Monken. Before that, Davis spent four seasons in that role at Georgia Southern.
If Georgia Southern is going back to the triple-option, Davis is more than capable and experienced enough to be the head coach.
Former Auburn HC Gene Chizik
Now, it is time for the nontraditional candidates.
Gene Chizik has been out of coaching since 2016, but has a national championship under his belt.
At Auburn, Chizik spent four years as the head coach. In 2010, Auburn won a national championship. Unfortunately, that success reached a screeching halt after Auburn finished 3-9 in 2012. Chizik was fired after that season.
Chizik’s blue-collar attitude would work well in Statesboro. The question is, would Chizik want the job? And would the Eagles be willing to give it to him?
Former Tennessee HC Jeremy Pruitt
We have already seen Hugh Freeze get his career back on track after a controversial end to his era at Ole Miss; maybe Jeremy Pruitt will get the chance to do the same.
Pruitt was fired from Tennessee in the midst of severe recruiting allegations. He has since landed an assistant coaching job with the New York Jets.
Pruitt has deep connections to the southeast, specifically in Alabama. He spent two years as the defensive coordinator at Georgia in 2014 and 2015.
He might have a lot of baggage, but his deep recruiting ties to the south make him an interesting candidate nonetheless.
Georgia RB Coach Dell McGee
Dell McGee has been deemed as one of the best assistant coaches in the nation. When looking at his track record with running backs at Georgia, it’s not hard to see why.
McGee has tons of experience in the SEC and in the southeast. He previously spent two seasons as running backs coach at Georgia Southern and served as the interim head coach in 2015.
McGee would bolster the Eagles’ prowess in recruiting and bring a lot of versatility. He could run the option attack, or change things up. There is a high ceiling for McGee.