When I think of Georgia Southern football, I think of Erk Russell. No I wasn't alive when he was the coach of my hometowns collegiate football team, but ever since I was little I can remember hearing about how amazing he was. How he lead Georgia Southern to three National Championships for their division. He is the originator of the football team riding in the yellow school buses to the game ( which still takes place today ).
Erk Russell left this world September 8, 2006. But his legacy lives on in anyone who knew him. I can remember being a little girl, going to The Country Store for breakfast before school, and seeing Erk there having coffee with friends. His memory is still around Statesboro. You can find two statues in Statesboro of Erk at the Ted Smith Family Football Center. One is a huge full body statue with a jug of Eagle Creek water by his feet. The other is a much smaller statue of just his head. Football players when heading onto the field will rub his head for good luck or "head butt" it.
Erk had several memorable quotes when speaking about Statesboro / Georgia Southern and these are just a few of my favorites:
- "Do what your Momma tells you to do, go to Sunday School, go to church and when you die, you'll go to Statesboro."
- "I'm gonna say it one more time. We are Georgia Southern. Our colors are blue and white. We call ourselves the Bald Eagles. We call our offense the Georgia Power Company…and that's a terrific name for an offense. Our snap count is 'rate, hike.' We practice on the banks of Beautiful Eagle Creek and that's in Statesboro, Georgia–the gnat capital of America. Our weekends begin on Thursday. The co-eds outnumber the men 3-to-2. They're all good looking and they're all rich. And folks, you just can't beat that…and you just can't beat Georgia Southern. And you ain't seen nothin yet."
- "At Georgia Southern, we don't cheat. That costs money and we don't have any."
- "One more time for the greatest team in America!"