Courtesy: Georgia Southern Athletics
STATESBORO, Ga. – Georgia Southern President Jaimie Hebert, Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein and the Georgia Southern Board of Regents announced Monday that Chad Lunsford has formally accepted an offer to become Georgia Southern’s head football coach. He becomes the 10th full-time coach to lead the Eagles in the modern era.
“The search committee went through an extensive process and evaluated a number of candidates nationwide,” Kleinlein said. “In the end, it was hard to ignore the progress the team has made under Coach Lunsford both on and off the field. I’ve also had the opportunity to watch Chad go through three other transitions in my time here and have seen him develop professionally during that span. On behalf of the search committee, we’re thrilled to announce Chad Lunsford as our full-time head coach and look forward to seeing where he will take his program.”
The 2017 campaign marks the ninth season overall, and fifth in his current stint at Georgia Southern for Lunsford, who has worn many hats in his time in Statesboro. Lunsford was promoted from assistant head coach to interim head coach on Oct. 22, 2017, and his team has shown marked improvement each week, culminating with a 52-0 win over South Alabama and a 34-24 win over Louisiana last week on the road.
“This is just so humbling, and I’m honored to be able to take over as the head coach of Georgia Southern football,” Lunsford said. “I want to thank the Lord for this opportunity. I’m very blessed to be in this position because Georgia Southern is a very special place to my family and me. I’m looking forward to being the head football coach here and carrying on the great tradition of Eagle Football. We have a lot of things to do in the coming weeks, but for now, it’s back to work to get ready to play Coastal Carolina this Saturday as the head coach of Georgia Southern.”
After working with the wide receivers in 2013, Lunsford worked two seasons with the tight ends and served as recruiting coordinator in 2014 and 2015. In 2017, Lunsford has coached the Eagle slot receivers and H-backs and again served in the role of special teams coordinator, a title he added in 2016. He was also named the program’s assistant head coach in 2017. Over the past three seasons, his tight ends contributed to the option ground game which led the FBS in rushing yards per game in both 2014 and 2015 and also led the FBS in rushing touchdowns in 2015.
In 2016, Lunsford was named a Broyles Award nominee, given to the nation’s top assistant coach, as the Eagles blocked seven kicks and featured a Lou Groza Award finalist in Younghoe Koo, who went on to play with the Los Angeles Chargers.
On the recruiting side, Lunsford helped engineer signing classes which featured 22 players and ranked in the top half of the Sun Belt in 2015, also ranked near the top of the Sun Belt in 2014 and 2016. He was named the Sun Belt’s Best Recruiter in 2016 by Scout.
Georgia Southern’s wide receivers in 2013 led NCAA Division I with most yards per completion, averaging 19.3 yards per catch. Fourteen catches ranked among Georgia Southern’s big plays as the Eagle receiving corps contributed to one of the nation’s top offenses.
Lunsford returned to Statesboro as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator in June 2013 after four years in an administrative position with the Auburn football program. He served in consecutive roles as the Tigers’ Director of Scouting and Director of Player Personnel, assisting with the day-to-day operations of Auburn football, with an emphasis on recruiting, organizing and prospect evaluation as the Tigers won the 2012 BCS National Championship.
Lunsford coached the slotbacks in his previous three seasons (2003-05) on the Georgia Southern staff, including the Eagles’ eventual all-time receptions leader Raja Andrews, who finished his career with 127 catches and as the record holder for receiving yards in a single season with 873. After departing Georgia Southern in 2006, Lunsford spent a year at Griffin High School as a special education teacher and served as the outside linebackers coach. Two years back at Georgia Military College followed his time at Griffin with Lunsford taking a familiar place as linebackers coach and adding responsibilities as special teams coordinator.
Lunsford played at Elbert County High School for legendary coach T. McFerrin. During his high school career, Elbert County made four-straight appearances in the state playoffs and posted a 20-3 record in his junior and senior years.
Lunsford graduated from Georgia College in May 2000 with a degree in biology and minor in mathematics and earned a master’s of sport science degree from the United States Sports Academy in 2002.
He and his wife, Tippy, have a son, Rhett, and two daughters, Sophie and Josie.