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In 1924, the Georgia Normal School played the first football game involving a Georgia Southern team. Soon after the last game of the 1941 season, the United States' involvement in World War II took precedence over college sports and all athletic programs were discontinued. The Men's Intramural Athletic Association was reinstated in the fall of 1947, and football was brought back in the form of touch football. It would not be until the 1980's that Georgia Southern would again have a competitive football team. In 1980, Georgia Southern President Dr. Dale Lick organized a committee to conduct a study on the feasibility of restarting the football program. The study confirmed that Statesboro and the southeast Georgia region indeed wanted the football program to be reinstated and the sport would raise and expand the profile of the college. On April 9, 1981, President Lick announced plans to restart the football program and the first games were scheduled for the fall of 1982. However, one of the largest tasks that remained was finding a coach with credibility and name recognition to make the program a success. And, on May 26, 1981, a press conferernce was held to announce Erskine "Erk" Russell as the head coach of the Georgia Southern Eagles football team. Under his guidance, the Eagles won three NCAA Division 1-AA national championships in 1985, 1986 and 1989.

 
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