STATESBORO – Sophia King has a different outlook than most other Georgia Southern football fans.
His son, JD King, is a fifth-year senior running back and Eagles captain, and the family has known Chad Lunsford for several years. So when Georgia Southern fired the head coach after a 1-3 start last Sunday, Sophia King and her family took on the tough job.
“Lunsford gave my son (a scholarship) in 10th grade,” Sophia King said on Saturday before the Eagles played Arkansas State at Paulson Stadium. “It was his very first college offer. He went to another school (state of Oklahoma) and ended up coming back (to Georgia Southern). He made his first offer to my son, so we have a relationship. very narrow. Of course, it’s It’s hard for me. It’s hard for JD “
Sophia King said her son has gone through a lot of changes throughout his football career, especially in college, as coaches come and go. She said the running back coach left Oklahoma state the day after signing. Georgia Southern also had changes in offensive personnel during King’s time in Statesboro. Lunsford’s shot was particularly difficult to manage.
“He’s lost a few coaches during his college career,” Sophia said of JD. “It’s five years away, so we’re used to changing. But you develop a relationship with these guys. (GS running back coach) Chris Foster is gone, it was tough for us. When Lunsford came in. Gone was hard. (JD) got injured last year (a torn ACL). It was hard for us.
She wonders about the moment of the shooting, but explains that she is a believer.
“When I say that I am a believer, I live by my faith. I believe that whatever is supposed to be will happen,” she said.
She likes the choice of cornerback coach Kevin Whitley as interim head coach.
“Coach Whit is a good guy,” she said. “I look forward to his leadership and I am sure he will do well.”
Here is a sample of other Georgia Southern supporters at Paulson Stadium on Saturday:
Simona Kelly, mother of first year safety GS Tyrell Davis, from Charlotte, NC:
“It was definitely a blow and a shock. Having a kid in first grade and being recruited during the pandemic made us just rely on relationships. My son had formed a good relationship with coach Lunsford and the coach. (Scot) Sloan Coach It was at Lunsford that he called, first letting him know he was going to commit to Georgia Southern among his offers. 29 Relationships are tough, but we’re delighted to see which way Coach Whit wants to take us. Tyrell) has a good relationship with Coach Whit. I’m glad it’s internally. We’ll see what happens next. “
Dale Flunker, 45, father of Georgia Southern student from Lawrenceville:
“It’s just a very unfortunate deal.… Kevin (Whitley) has been here. I think he will step up and face the challenges until the head coach is signed.”
David Holland, 36, Georgia Southern 2011 graduate from Columbus:
“I recognize that the trend was down. I think it’s too early in the season given that every other year (2018-20) has resulted in a bowl offer. If the previous seasons, even if they were leaning towards, with the losing season being more predominant, if they had shown that tendency a little harder I could have figured it out so early in the season. I think it was an emotional decision rather than a thoughtful one, but they didn’t did not ask me.
“I always say no one beats Georgia Southern like Georgia Southern beats Georgia Southern. I usually say this to refer to unnecessary sanctions, things that could have been avoided. It seems to apply to the administration as well.”
Charles Holland, subscriber since 2003 and father of David Holland from LaGrange:
“I thought it was too early.… I was hoping (return the season). Anyway, there aren’t any other coaches really available now because it’s too early in the season. season.”
Fran Holland, subscriber since 2003 and mother of David Holland from LaGrange:
“(Lunsford was working) with almost a new team. You have to think about it. We had (quarterback) Shai Werts for five years and before that (Jerick) McKinnon was here forever. He has a young man (quarterback) -back Justin Tomlin) trying his best but it’s really his first season starting. So many linemen have graduated. I think (Lunsford) should have had the chance to see if by the end of the season, if we had one more losing season, that would make a difference.
“I just think there are people who are major donors who have made their feelings known. They don’t like to lose. We’re really blue. Win or lose, we’re going to be here. Are not major donors. but we support the school. I think (Lunsford) should have had a chance, at least until the end of the season, of whether he could take these new players and develop them. They didn’t do well. started that first game, but with every game they got better. “
Mike Brotsky, 53, season pass holder from Bluffton, SC:
“I have mixed feelings because (Lunsford) had such good success the first two years and the players seem to like him. He’s a bit of a guy from South Georgia. But I know athletic director Jared. Benko. He’s always at basketball games, very nice, very optimistic, so I trust him to make the right decisions for the future of the school. “
Brotsky said he would like to see a little more creativity with the offense.
“I don’t think they have to be like all the other teams. Maybe a little different hybrid. I like blue collar workers, trying to establish the running game, but getting a little more passer talent. would probably be a good thing, too. “
Nathan Dominitz is the sports content editor for Savannah Morning News and savannahnow.com. Email him at [email protected] Twitter: @NathanDominitz