Georgia Southern University to Establish Erk Russell Athletic Park
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the naming of a section of the Georgia Southern University campus ‘Erk Russell Athletic Park.” Erk Russell Athletic Park, named in honor of the late former Georgia Southern football coach Erskine ‘Erk” Russell, will be dedicated at a future date.
‘We are grateful to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents for approving the naming of the Erk Russell Athletic Park on our campus,” said Georgia Southern President Bruce Grube. ‘This tribute to Coach Russell speaks volumes about his influence and impact on our football team, on Georgia Southern and on our community.”
Russell, through his incredible work ethic, positive attitude and motivational expressions, built Georgia Southern into a national football powerhouse during his eight-year tenure. Under his tutelage, the Eagles won three national championships, including back-to-back titles in 1985 and 1986. In 1989, Georgia Southern posted a perfect 15-0 season which culminated with a victory over Stephen F. Austin in the national championship game at Paulson Stadium. Named the USA Today Coach of the Decade for the 1980s, Russell earned numerous other honors and awards prior to his retirement and subsequent enshrinement in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Russell passed away last September at the age of 80.
Erk Russell Athletic Park will encompass Allen E. Paulson Stadium, the Gene Bishop Field House, Cowart Building and the soccer and track stadium. The park showcases what Russell called ‘the prettiest little stadium in America” and hosts tens of thousands of people each year including teams, fans and players. The area also serves as the site of the University’s spring commencement ceremony. University signage complementing the nearby architecture and landscape will designate the area as Erk Russell Athletic Park.
‘Generations of students, alumni and fans will gather in this place named Erk Russell Athletic Park and they will experience a greater understanding of Coach Russell’s many contributions to Georgia Southern,” Grube said. ‘Coach Russell’s legacy of success and sportsmanship will forever be a part of this University.”
Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers more than 120 degree programs serving nearly 17,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.