STATESBORO — The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the naming of a section of the Georgia Southern University campus “Erk Russell Athletic Park.” Erk Russell Athletic Park, named in honor of the late former Georgia Southern football coach Erskine “Erk” Russell, will be dedicated at a future date.
“We are grateful to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents for approving the naming of the Erk Russell Athletic Park on our campus,” said Georgia Southern President Bruce Grube. “This tribute to Coach Russell speaks volumes about his influence and impact on our football team, on Georgia Southern and on our community.”
Russell built Georgia Southern into a national football powerhouse during his eight-year tenure. Under his tutelage, the Eagles won three national championships, including back-to-back titles in 1985 and 1986. In 1989, Georgia Southern posted a perfect 15-0 season which culminated with a victory over Stephen F. Austin in the national championship game at Paulson Stadium.
Named the USA Today Coach of the Decade for the 1980s, Russell earned numerous other honors and awards prior to his retirement and subsequent enshrinement in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Russell passed away last September at 80.
Erk Russell Athletic Park encompasses Allen E. Paulson Stadium, the Gene Bishop Field House, Cowart Building and the soccer and track stadium. The park showcases what Russell called “the prettiest little stadium in America” and hosts tens of thousands of people each year. The area also serves as the site of the University’s spring commencement ceremony. University signage complementing the nearby architecture and landscape will designate the area as Erk Russell Athletic Park.