It was an exciting day for Kennesaw State University on Feb. 14, as KSU President Dr. Daniel Papp finally introduced KSU football to 1,000 cheering students and faculty members in the Convocation Center.
Just one day after the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved KSU’s request to add the program, Papp could finally stand behind the podium and ask the crowd this burning question: “Are you ready for some football?”
To Papp, adding a program, like football, will be the one way to finally put KSU on the map as a major university.
“We are going to be on the way towards becoming a major national university as well. Importantly, football can add to our reputation, and importantly, will also add to the reputations of our entire Alumni’s degrees, and all of our student’s degrees,” Papp said about KSU becoming a major southern university.
Vince Dooley, legendary former head football coach for the University of Georgia, was also present. Dooley was diligent in bringing football to KSU as chairman of the football exploratory committee.
“It is a wonderful feeling of pride for everybody, the students, the faculty, the alumni, community leaders, Fifth Third Bank and everybody that is connected with it, but a very special pride for Dr. Papp,” Dooley said. “I thought he showed excellent leadership making this happen,” Dooley added.
For KSU Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams, this too was a dream come true. Since taking over as the athletic director in 2012, his enthusiasm for the university has reflected on the many students on campus, including those present at the press conference.
“We did it! What a great day this is, and I can’t tell you how happy I am for this institution,” Williams said.
Just days ago, Fifth-Third Bank agreed to a $5 million sponsorship deal with KSU to help start-up the football program, and assist in the possible future renovations of Fifth Third Bank Stadium, formally known as the KSU Soccer Stadium.
“I got the chills when I saw these shirts down here that said ‘tradition begins here,’” Fifth Third Bank President Randolph Koporc said. “We are ready to take the field with you,” added Koporc.
As for the future of KSU football, Williams and the rest of the Athletic Department staff will waste no time. To give a glimpse into the future, Williams said they plan on hiring a head coach immediately. Other plans for football include adding a marching band and adding additional Title IX women’s sports as well.
“I do believe that we can hire a coach in the next four to five weeks,” Williams said. “I think Owl Nation should be extremely proud and understand that the word on the outside is that Kennesaw State is the place to be,” he went on to say.
As for Fifth Third Bank Stadium and additional funding for football, there will be a series of open forums for the students to participate in to determine the possible renovations to increase the seating, as well as a $100 increase in student tuition starting Fall 2013 to help fund the program.
For someone involved in football as long as Dooley, he understands the obstacles that may have to be overcome, but there will also come the time when this program will come out on top as winners. As for coaching, Dooley jokingly declined, stating he is “here to help, not to handicap.”
Williams got the crowd excited with his motto for the journey to Fall 2015 saying, “It’s our time folks!”