Are You Ready for Trojan Football?
Written by Caroline Cothran
Campus does not look the same as it did just one year ago.
At one end of Spero Financial Field at Melvin and Dollie Younts Stadium sits the new Trojan Field House. Implanted into the turf are two field goal posts. The end zones claim their allegiance with ANDERSON and TROJANS in gold. Soon, rising up on both sides of the field will be new stadium seats, designed to hold more than 4,000 fans.
But what you won’t see are the traditions that will be created. The moments that will unify. The touchdowns that will have fans jumping up and down, collectively losing their voices: a wave of black and gold, the Trojan Army rising to the occasion.
Those come next, and they start with you.
Here’s what you need to know to get ready for September 2024–the first season of Anderson University Trojan Football.
Meet the Coaches
Anderson University introduced Bobby Lamb as its first head coach for football on July 13, 2021. Since then, Coach Lamb added seven coaches and two staff members to the team.
First came Seth Strickland and Malik Chevry. Coach Strickland is the Trojans’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, while Coach Chevry will direct the team’s defensive backs.
Brett Hickman, who spent four years as the head coach at West Brunswick High School in North Carolina, was next; he’ll serve as the Trojans’ defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach.
“My wife and I really see coaching as a family ministry for the Kingdom. AU not only tolerates our mission work, but embraces it…The goal of our family is to help AU win football games, but more importantly to help young men grow spiritually while also obtaining a world-class degree,” Coach Hickman said.
Other additions to the coaching staff include James Thurn (offensive line); Caleb Fuller (defensive line); Jordan Marshall (running backs); and AJ Jones (inside linebackers.)
“Our staff has come together and meshed perfectly. It’s a good blend of a few of us that have been in the profession for more than a decade at the coordinator levels, and some younger guys who’ve got a lot of eagerness and energy,” Coach Hickman said. “But most of all, everyone understands the mission of AU and we all get along fantastically. Without players this semester, we’ve all had a lot of time to get to know each other more on a professional and personal level than you would if you were in the grind of spring practice.”
Representing the football staff are Director of Football Operations John Sullivan and Director of Football Equipment Jamison Walker.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be part of something brand new,” Sullivan said. “You don’t feel that pressure of, ‘oh what did so-and-so do before me?’ You get to be what sets the standard, and that’s an exciting opportunity.”
Meet the Players
At Homecoming and Family Day on October 28, 2023, the Trojans will begin setting that standard as they take the field for the very first time and compete in a Black and Gold scrimmage. But don’t let the word ‘scrimmage’ fool you—this is serious business.
“It will be a game format. We will have referees, the whole nine yards. It will be big because it is their first time to play in front of fans at the collegiate level,” Coach Lamb said. “We will be able to see how the men handle it, and then we will be able to evaluate the tape and make decisions moving forward who our starters and our backups will be. It will be an incredibly important day because of the evaluation
process we will get as coaches.”
Going into the fall, Coach Lamb and his staff have signed more than 90 men to play for the Trojans. But just getting to that step will not have come easily—these men are not recruited unless they pass Coach Lamb’s four-step recruiting process.
“First we do an academic evaluation. The bottom line is, if they qualify to apply to our University, then we are able to recruit them. We look at test scores, GPA and we move forward. Second is an athletic evaluation. Are they good enough to play at this level? Third is leadership qualities. Are they the president of a Beta Club? Are they a team captain? Leaders in the school? And the last thing, which is the most important and critical, is what kind of character does this young man have? We talk to their coaches, their teachers, guidance counselors, strength coaches…since we are investing into these young men, we need to know what kind of men we are getting,” Coach Lamb said.
Meet the Facilities
Focus groups from all over the University worked together to ensure the new Trojan Field House would serve a wide variety of University needs. At 43,622 square feet, the three-story building includes a nearly 5,000-square-foot strength and conditioning room, the AnMed Sports Medicine Clinic, locker rooms for football, softball, and officials, coaches’ offices, multi-use team rooms and classrooms and an open balcony for prime game-day viewing.
From the two Cryotherm hydrotherapy tubs and fluoroscopy room to study spaces and classrooms, students will be cared for: body, mind and soul.
A unique feature on the top floor is the five position meeting rooms that can perform dual purposes as entertaining spaces on game days. They can all open up into one larger space and onto the balcony, allowing for fresh air and collaboration; the room will be divided and utilized for classroom spaces for use by dual enrollment students and a variety of majors.
“We were very intentional on making this space multi-functional. From the layout of the meeting rooms, to the technology in each space, to the moveable walls—it was made to not only serve athletics, but the entirety of the University in a similar way as to how we use the student center,” said Vice President for Athletics Dr. Bert Epting. “We are excited to welcome guests, students, faculty and staff to this facility and allow them to experience a premiere location that functions in support of our holistic approach at AU—focusing on great hospitality in welcoming others to utilize this space.”
To prepare for welcoming as many visitors and members of the Trojan family as possible, construction is underway on new stadium seats on each side of Spero Financial Field at Melvin and Dollie Younts Stadium. They are expected to be completed by the end of October. There will be 2,026 additional seats added on the home side in addition to the 1,200 already in place. More than 1,000 seats are being added to the visitor side.
And across the street, construction crews have cleared and graded land to create a practice field.
Meet the Traditions
Game days will begin with the Trojan Walk. Members of the team will approach the grand entryway from the parking lot, pausing to touch the bronze Trojan head on their way inside. The Trojan head was a gift from the Anderson University Class of 2022 and Dr. and Mrs. Robert Rainey. It was sculpted by renowned artist and friend of the University, Sandy Scott.
The groundwork laid over the last four years is finally coming together. But a football team is not made from brick and stone. It isn’t even made up of student athletes. Not really.
It’s the Trojan Family that makes it possible. It’s the Trojan Family that will create a legacy—together.
“Wear your black and gold, come be a part of the festivities and tailgating and be ready to cheer on the Trojans with all you have—we want to stay undefeated since 1911,” Dr. Epting said. “This will be a day of great celebration and one that will end around the Trojan head on the field in celebration of our men, our coaches and our University in being a part of the very first game in Anderson history—a game that I believe will be the biggest sporting event in Anderson County history.”
Athletics will use A Day gifts to help fund a Trojan football program beginning in Fall 2024. The overall goal is to raise $3,000,000 in gifts and pledges that will be matched by a $3,000,000 donor challenge.
Give Now to Support Your CAUSE
Making a difference in the lives of Anderson University students is just one click away. Show your support with the “Give Now” button, which provides a safe and secure method to invest in AU’s future. No matter which cause you choose to support, we’re so thankful for your commitment to bettering AU.
Can’t find the right cause for you? Reach out to the Anderson University Office of Development and a representative will be happy to get you involved however you choose.