Q&A: Georgia Southern’s Chad Lunsford on how special relationships and teaching special ed can make a better coach
In late October, Chad Lunsford was named interim head coach at Georgia Southern, seemingly taking over a sinking ship in the form of an 0-6 team.
The Eagles lost their next three games to drop to 0-9 but won the next two. Lunsford was named the full-time head coach before the season even ended.
Lunsford has spent eight years at Georgia Southern, with his current stint beginning in 2013, and now he takes over the reins as a head coach for the first time. He has made several staff changes, including both coordinator spots.
A prideful fanbase is looking for the Eagles to get back to winning big, and Lunsford knows the culture and the standard.
Lunsford spoke with The All-American about the changes and his plan. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The All-American: What were your emotions when Tyson Summers was fired and you were named interim head coach?
Lunsford: “That’s hard, because you have a lot of time invested with the previous head coach, and you’re invested with the staff. Any time there’s a change like that, that means things aren’t going well. So there’s a lot of mixed emotions. There was excitement, though, because I had been with these players since we’d joined the Sun Belt. Through the transitions that we’d had, I was the constant. It was an opportunity for me to step up and keep the guys consistent. The biggest feeling was doing it for our seniors and for our team.”
Were you told you had a chance to win the job?
“Yes. When they named me interim, they said, ‘This is like an on-the-job interview. You have every opportunity to get the job.’ I didn’t approach it that way, though. Just because of our situation, where we were in the season, I wanted to take it one game at a time and make sure our guys could finish strong. Then as things started to turn, it looked like I had a good shot at getting it, so my mindset had to turn to that. I was told I’d have a shot at the job.”
Did you talk to anyone for advice when you became the interim?
“I reached out to several people I’d worked for, head coaches, leaned on them a bit. With coaching, there’s always tough times and good times. Those guys, I worked for and trusted and could lean on them. I reached out to a lot of guys. Willie Fritz, I worked for him at Georgia Southern. Gene Chizik, I worked for him at Auburn. They were the main ones”