STATESBORO, Ga. – The Georgia Southern football team capped practice No. 4 with a dip in Beautiful Eagle Creek Thursday, continuing the tradition of “baptizing” seniors and newcomers to the program.
In the third year of this tradition, new Georgia Southern President Jaimie L. Hebert, Ph.D., and first-year coach Tyson Summers waded into the “magical” waters of the creek along with the senior class and assistant coaches.
After practice, the players got down on a knee huddled around Coach Summers who offered praise of their first four days of work while pointing out areas the team can improve. Then, Coach Summers introduced the new President to the team who delivered an inspiring message and the two men led the team off the field toward the creek’s banks.
With the rest of the team gathered around the banks near the sign marking Beautiful Eagle Creek, Hebert – in dress pants, shirt and tie – and Coach Summers were the first to enter causing the players to erupt in applause. The senior class and all of the assistants who came to town with Summers promptly followed in the celebration, taking a dip into the waters.
“Feeling the love and the camaraderie of the players was a little more special than I thought it would be,” said Hebert, who has been on the job for a little over a month. “I look forward to these things; it’s being a part of the culture and tradition of this University. Athletics are extremely important and an integral part of our identity. Our athletic programs have really put us on a national stage with their reputation and the championships. That gives us an opportunity as a university to get up on that stage and pull the curtains back to show the rest of the country what it is we’re doing with top-quality higher education here in Statesboro.”
Hebert was joined by his two daughters and Coach Summers by his wife and three sons. The two newcomers to Eagle Nation grabbed a selfie in front of the hallowed creek after the celebration.
“It’s an important tradition and something we want to make sure we take pride in,” said Coach Summers. “It links you to all the former players all the people that come back here, and the people who built the program into what it is today.”
Practice No. 5 is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday on the banks of Beautiful Eagle Creek. Dates, times and locations of football practices are subject to change and may be impacted by weather conditions. Practices are open to the public, but any filming, recording or photography is limited to members of the media only. The full schedule is below.
Georgia Southern won the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl in its first bowl-eligible season, finishing 6-2 in the conference and 8-4 overall. The Eagles, who return 37 lettermen and 12 starters to the 2016 squad, were picked to finished third the Sun Belt in the league’s preseason coaches’ poll.
Fans can purchase 2016 season tickets and select their seats online, by calling 1-800-GSU-WINS or by visiting the ticket office in the Cowart Building adjacent to Paulson Stadium (203 Lanier Drive). Ticket office hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Season tickets prices start as low as $75 for all five games.
Meet the Eagles Fan Fest
The GS Football Team will hold its annual Meet the Eagles Fan Fest on Saturday, Aug. 13. Gates will open at 8:30 a.m. and the football team will hold an open scrimmage from 9-11:30 a.m. at Paulson Stadium before the event. The Fan Fest will be from noon-2 p.m. The public is invited to the scrimmage and fans will be allowed to come on the field at noon. The North Concourse will be the only side open and fans may enter through Gate 12 near Bishop Field House.
Between the end of the scrimmage and the start of Fan Fest, fans can expect to hear a few words from head football coach Tyson Summers after he dismisses the team to their locker room. The event will be the last preseason scrimmage and the athletics department will have activities on the field after the scrimmage, including inflatables for the kids, 2016 football posters and schedule cards, a dunk tank, face painting, ticket information, cheerleaders, and the fall sport teams will be available for autographs. Concessions will be available during the scrimmage and during the Fan Fest. Additionally, the University Store will be open for fans to purchase all of their adidas gear to get ready for the season.
Fans will be allowed to get autographs from their favorite football players and Coach Summers at the festival. In addition, the soccer squads and volleyball team, along with all three respective coaches, will also be in attendance, grouped on the field. Fans can bring in outside items to be signed and posters from each sport will be provided free of charge to those who wish to get one signed. Fans will also be able to mingle with the student-athletes during the autograph session and kids can play catch, kick a ball or pass a volleyball around with the players. Also, the lobby area of the Ted Smith Family Football Center will be open during Fan Fest from 12-2 p.m.
Meet the Eagles Fan Fest is free and open to fans of all ages. Parking is also free.