NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee State has hired former NFL running back Eddie George as football coach, banking on his name and connections to revive the program.
TSU introduced George at a news conference Tuesday inside the Gentry Center with the band on hand to commemorate what the university hopes is a big step forward in football.
“Eddie George has been a winner in every facet of the game and we look forward to him bringing that same commitment to our players and having it translate into winning on and off the field,” athletic director Mikki Allen said. “We are excited to have him join us and lead the next chapter of our storied football program.”
Tennessee State is taking a risk. George, a four-time Pro Bowl running back with the Tennessee Titans and the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner with Ohio State, has not coached before. He played nine seasons in the NFL and ran for 10,441 yards.
He owns a landscape architecture firm. Also an actor, George has appeared on Broadway and TV. He said all that prepared him for this moment.
“Coaching is a full commitment, a duty of service,” George said. “I take that seriously. I’ve done a lot of soul searching and due diligence. The more I thought about it, I got more and more excited about it. It was like picking up an old guitar or getting back on a bike; it’s familiar but in a different capacity.”
The Tigers went 58-61 over the past 11 seasons, with only one FCS playoff appearance in 2013. Tennessee State announced Monday that coach Rod Reed’s contract was not being renewed. The Tigers have had three consecutive losing seasons, including 2-5 this spring.