ETSU coaching clinic sends message about return of football prog - WFLA News Channel 8

ETSU coaching clinic sends message about return of football program

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JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) -

Nearly 100 football area coaches went back to the classroom today at East Tennessee State University to be schooled by the university's new football coach and some of his coaching buddies.

It was all part of the inaugural Carl Torbush/ETSU Football Coaching Clinic. All proceeds from today are going toward the ETSU Kickoff Fund. ETSU says that fund currently sits above $170,000 and will be used specifically to fund scholarships. The university says the more it can raise the better, because that will free up money in the university's operating budget to cover other football expenses.

"Quite honestly we need financial support as well, because for us to develop the type of program that we want to have it's going to take everybody's input both heart-wise and financially to get us where we want to be," ETSU Head Football Coach Carl Torbush said. "I think any program in the country whether it's ETSU, the University of Tennessee or Virginia Tech, a lot of what you're able to do and a lot of the stability and continuity of the program is based on how much financial support you have. We need everybody's support. It is our football team not Carl Torbush's football team. It is ETSU, the fans, the alumni, former lettermen, just everybody's that's always had a love, not only for ETSU, but ETSU football."

ETSU's new football team plans to take the field in 2015. Although today's clinic was a lot about coaching, it was also about sending a message.

"It's real, it's alive and it's moving forward," ETSU Football Consultant Phillip Fulmer said about the football program.

"We want to let everybody know that we're here, that ETSU football is truly back," Coach Torbush said. "We've got a head coach, we've got a stadium approved."

Still, not everyone sees it as a positive. ETSU junior Chuck Short, a 54 year-old returning student, says aside from his $250 annual football fee, he won't give the program another dime.

"I just think that this is a total financial irresponsibility," Short said. "I'm a junior, so I'm paying for something that I'm not even going to be here to see."

In light of the university's recent announcement about a decline in enrollment resulting in budget cuts and the implementation of a hiring freeze (all said to be unrelated to football), Short just doesn't think this is the time to try football again.

"The students that I've talked to, they're not in favor of it," Short said. "Attendance is going to be so minimal, you're going to lose money again."

Coach Torbush says he's not worried about the doubters. He says this program is built to succeed.

"Anywhere in America you're going to have people that believe and people that don't believe," Coach Torbush said. "Quite honestly, I don't want to be around people that don't believe. If I didn't feel very strong about where we are, where we have a chance to go, first of all Phillip Fulmer would have never gotten involved, (ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland) would have never been behind starting football and (Athletic Director Dr. Richard Sander) would've never been a part of a situation where we were going to do something halfway. We're very excited and very thrilled about having the opportunity to start this thing over again, because I think we're sitting on a gold mine."

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