Guts, Glory, and the Gridiron : a History of Georgia Southern University Football

F Eric Brooks, Kennesaw State University


Georgia Southern University is a powerhouse in Division I-AA football; with six national titles to its credit, the university’s football program has captured more titles than any other Division I football program in the nation. It should be no shock that this winning tradition was built on the work of several coaches and players and a legacy as deeply rooted and as strong as an old oak tree planted in Sweetheart Circle in the heart of the GSU campus. Although many believe that football began at the school in the 1980s, the history of this illustrious program actually stretches back to the early 1900s. A discussion of Georgia Southern’s football program recalls the names of coaches from the old football era such as Doc Quattlebaum, E.G. Cromartie, and H.A. Woodle. Reminiscing about the Eagles conjures up images of coaches Erk Russell, Tim Stowers, and Paul Johnson each accepting the national championship trophy and notable players such as Tracy Ham, Adrian Peterson, and Jayson Foster. But, aside from the trophies and cheering crowds, little is known about the struggles the football program faced or the constant fight to keep it alive and nurture it into what it is today—a program synonymous with championships and athletic excellence. Guts, Glory, and the Gridiron: A History of Georgia Southern University Football, written by Georgia Southern University Professor F. Erik Brooks, chronicles the guts and glory that built the legendary football program at Georgia Southern University.