Georgia Southern Basketball: 5 Things That Will Leave You Amazed and Surprised

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by-Markus Ispiske/Unsplash

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Based out of Statesboro in Georgia, the Georgia Southern Basketball teams represent Georgia Southern University.

The Georgia Southern Eagles host their matches at the Hanner Fieldhouse Arena in Statesboro. The Eagles have their Men’s and Women’s teams competing in the NCAA Division at the Sun Belt Conference.

The Eagles home ground
Georgia Southern Men’s Basketball vs. Louisiana (From Gseagles Basketball Roaster)

The largest crowd in the Georgia Southern school’s history gathered at the Hanner Fieldhouse arena for the 1989 match between Arkansas-Little and Georgia Southern Eagles, where the Eagles were beaten to 80-63, thus ending their winning streak of seventeen matches.

All you Need to Know about Georgia Southern Basketball

1. Georgia Southern Eagles Men’s Team

Brian Burg, a native of Katy, Texas, currently heads the coaching staff of the Georgia Southern Eagles men’s team. He began his coaching career at 23 as a Graduate Assistant at Lake Erie College. He was hired as the head coach at Georgia Southern Eagles in 2020 and is in his third season leading the Eagles.

The Georgia Southern Basketball Men's team
From (Gseagles Basketball Roaster)

Brian is the 13th coach after Mark Byington who was their coach for 7 years. The Eagles have won the SoCon Regular Season Championship and the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship for three years. They have also won the Atlantic Sun Regular Season Championship for four years all under Jeff Price, the coach under whom the Eagles recorded three 20-win seasons during the years 1999-2009.

1.1. Legends of the Men’s Team

The all-time top scorer Eagle is Julius Jenkins with 1,870 points after playing from 1999 to 2003.

Michael Curry and Jeff Sanders are probably the best-known basketball players for the Eagles. They have also played in the NBA for various different clubs. As good as they were, they are the two players who have had their jerseys retired by the school, after Scotty Perkins.

Michael holds the school record for the most played games in a career(119) and he led the Eagles to score in 14 games. He also is said to be the only player to have scored more than a thousand points and rank in the top ten in rebounds, steals, and field goal percentage.

Jeff is among the team’s all-time leaders in various categories, including games started, points scored, rebounds, free throws, and the number of field goals made. He was also selected in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls.

2. Georgia Southern Eagles Women’s Team

Anita Howard from a city well-known for college sports, Alabama is now currently heading the women’s Eagles team since April 2019 after serving as the head coach at Columbus State University. Born in Alabama, she was a standout high school player at her high school in Savannah.

She began her coaching career in 2012 by heading the Savannah High Basketball Team. Under her coaching the Eagles leaped forward in her third season at the helm, winning the first Sun Belt Conference tournament.

The Eagles initially played in the New South Women’s Athletic Conference from 1985 to 1989, then joined the Trans-Atlantic Athletic Conference from 1989 to 1992, after which they played in the Southern Conference till 2014, before moving to the Sun Belt Conference in 2014.

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From(Gseagles Basketball Roaster)

The Eagle’s biggest performance was on the 14th of December, 2021 when they defeated Carver College 133-15 by a margin of 118 points at their home ground, marking it the second-largest margin of victory by a Division I team in a single match in the history of the NCAA tournament. The largest winning margin was recorded when The Savannah State Tigers routed Wesleyan High School by 129 points in 2018.

In an interview, the Eagle’s head coach Anita appreciated Carver College, “Hats off to Carver, this is one of our non-DI opponents.”

Terren Ward, who plays as a guard/forward became the third player in Georgia Southern Eagles women’s basketball history to score 40 points in a contest in leading the Eagles to a 99-86 Sun Belt Conference victory over the visiting Arkansas State at Hanner Arena on the eve of New Year’s.

3. The GUS Eagle Mascot

Every sports team has its own mascot, to provide a forum for real-time entertainment, besides engaging the social media audience. Mascots are mainly larger-than-life cartoon characters that have a way of engaging crowds and become a spectacle that makes people wait to see greater anticipation.

Crowds simply love to see mascots!

Sometimes, all they would do is run and jump around the arena, cheering for their home game, at times they even try to understand the player’s emotions during the game and try to cheer them up, which eventually helps them to improve their game.

From(Gseagles Basketball Roaster)

The air of the afternoon on the 30th of January, 1980 was filled with huge enthusiasm and presuppositions when there were rumors about some big event coming in at halftime for the match against Northwestern State. There was a buzz around the school campus, and it seemed like everybody was planning to be for the match. Down in the bowels of Hanner Arena, the Hanner announcer revealed a few details to which the crowd was cheering and it got louder and louder. Gus, the Eagle sprang up, and triumphantly raised his arm to the sky!

GEORGIA SOUTHERN EAGLES had a mascot! The crowd at Hanner Arena exploded. People were clapping, jumping, and screaming. Ever since the Eagle nation has been in love with GUS THE EAGLE. Old Gus has had an eventful 40 years.

Larry Stevens was the very first person to ever become the persona of Gus The Eagle in 1982.

3.1. Does Georgia Southern Eagles Have a Live Mascot?

In 1960, the Eagles became the new mascot for Georgia Southern, and the majestic, soaring raptor depicts the spirit and pride of the University.

The Southern Bald Eagle, ‘Freedom’ was only weeks old and resembled a brown ball of fuzz. With the permission of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Georgia Southern acquired Freedom in May 2004.

Freedom now assumes the role of the live mascot and is one of only two American Bald Eagles in the country flying during college games.

4. Why do Georgia Southern Eagles have “GATA” on Their Jerseys?

The choice of Georgia Southern Eagles jersey has been made use of along with their athletics rally.

The word “GATA” on their jersey has a history behind how it began and how it is now in use.

During the days of Head Coach Erk Russell at Georgia Southern Eagles, he developed a legacy of traditions, sayings, and a culture that lives on today.

GATA on Eagles jersey, available online

One such enduring tradition of Erk’s is when he rallied his players against the opposing team and charged his men to “Get After Their A**es!” That rally since then became GATA across the universities.

Although, now it has different meanings, such as “Get After Those Academics“, that gets the GATA spirit of grit and can-do attitude permeates Georgia Southern Eagles for sports

5. The Georgia Southern Eagles Honor Martin Luther King Jr

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, one of the most prominent leaders during the American Civil Rights Movement is honored on the day of his birthday almost across all the states in the United States.

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From (Maria Oswalt/Unsplash)

Georgia Southern Eagles Athletics honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on the 16th of January 2023 by posting this image through their Instagram, to honor the deeds of the great icon of the peace who was born and raised in Georgia and who preached and shaped a foundation that led to many positive impacts on the state of Georgia.

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