Kennesaw State launches Football Exploratory Committee

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Legendary coach Vince Dooley will head 33-person committee
 
KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 10, 2009) — Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp announced today the launch of the 33-member Kennesaw State University Football Exploratory Committee that will formally gauge support for a football program at KSU.
 
The committee – which consists of students, faculty, staff, alumni, business and community leaders, as well as friends and benefactors of KSU – will provide a final report of its recommendations to President Papp in September 2010.
 
Legendary college football coach Vince Dooley will chair the exploratory committee. The KSU Foundation also has hired Dooley to spearhead athletics fundraising at the university.
 
“The launch of the Football Exploratory Committee is the next logical step in the progression of KSU’s athletics programs,” Papp said. “We are excited that a coach of the caliber of Vince Dooley has agreed to lead us through this process as KSU decides whether or not we should start a football program. We are thankful to the committee members for their support and commitment.”
 
Over the next nine months, the committee will study the pros and cons of having a football team, how much it would cost, how much support exists, what facilities would be needed, what would be needed to maintain NCAA Title IX compliance, and how football would impact other athletics programs at KSU, among other questions.
 
The launch of the football exploratory committee comes at a time when varsity athletics at Georgia’s third-largest university is reaching new heights. This fall, after a four-year transition, KSU became a full-fledged member of Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, collegiate athletics’ top tier.
 
Last Tuesday (Dec. 1), KSU announced a partnership with the Atlanta Beat Women’s Professional Soccer team that includes the construction of a $16.5 million stadium on the campus, which also will be home to KSU’s thriving women’s soccer program. The 8,300-seat stadium, which will be ready in the spring, also conceivably could be used for football, Papp said.
In just the past few months KSU’s intramural, club sports and NCAA athletics facilities have been transformed, thanks to the support of the KSU Foundation, which has raised $500 million for capital projects at the university in the past decade.
 
Until September, the 22,300 KSU student body had only a 1.7-acre field on the main campus for sports activities. In October, the KSU Sports and Recreation Park – a state-of-the-art facility with an indoor training facility and two regulation-size fields for intramural and club sports – opened its doors. The 14-acre sports park is one parcel of 88 acres of new land east of Interstate 75 acquired by the KSU Foundation in the past year. The new stadium will be another major component of the sports park project.
 
“We are very excited at the possibility of having a football team at KSU,” said Norman Radow, chairman of the KSU Foundation. “I’ve seen Kennesaw State evolve from a local college just seven years ago, into a world-class university, with award-winning student residences, a new, state-of-the-art dining hall, and athletics facilities that would make any university proud. As I have said over and over, in everything we do for this university—we will want only the best.”
 
Papp said that since he was named president of KSU in 2006 he has been asked numerous times about football. His predecessor also fielded similar inquiries. 
 
“Our response has been that we do not have enough information to answer definitively the many questions that underlie such a decision,” Papp said. “Now that we are a Division I university, it’s a good time to start answering those questions. I cannot think of anyone more qualified to guide us through this process than Coach Dooley.”
 
Once the Football Exploratory Committee’s work gets fully underway, the University’s constituents will be able to stay abreast of the group’s work through a public website that will be launched at: explorefootball.kennesaw.edu
 
Dooley, who retired as the University of Georgia’s athletics director in 2004, was UGA’s head football coach from 1964 to 1988. He served as athletic director at UGA from 1979 to 2003. During that time, Dooley was responsible for building one of the most successful athletic programs in all of college sports, winning national championships in Men's Tennis, Golf, Baseball and Women's Gymnastics. During his 25 years as coach, he led the Bulldogs to the 1980 national championship title and six SEC championships. He is one of collegiate football’s most celebrated coaches, with a 201-77-10 record. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
 
“The potential of launching a football program from the ground up is an intriguing challenge to me,” Dooley said, “and I cannot think of a better place to do that than at Kennesaw State. This is an exciting place to be. This university is on the move.”
 
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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education, business and nursing. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of more than 22,300 students from 142 countries.