Kennesaw State proves it’s not just any ‘startup’ program

Georgia has a new football program in 2015, and if there have been any growing pains to date, they’ve been either too small to notice, or very neatly concealed.

The Owls of Kennesaw State racked up their second win in front of a loud home crowd on Saturday afternoon, and the excitement could be seen in every corner of Fifth Third Bank Stadium.  If there were a more attentive, well represented, rowdy student section in college football over the weekend than the one in Kennesaw, it must have been a pretty wild scene.

Sure the Owls just beat NAIA program Edward Waters, but they did so 58-7, and it was a shutout into the fourth quarter.  This comes a week after KSU put a whipping on SoCon’s East Tennessee State 56-16 on the road.

Two of the largest costs associated with starting a brand new college football program are building a stadium and hiring a coach.  Kennesaw had a world-class 8,300 seat stadium before the football program even existed, and with one of the state’s largest student bodies agreeing to pay additional tuition fees to fund the football program, the money to hire a coach piled up in a hurry.  Even better, a good portion of the funds spent on the stadium came from a public-private partnership with now defunct women’s soccer team, the Atlanta Beat.

The electric atmosphere of Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Saturday proved that Kennesaw has one of the best startup facility situations in the country, maybe ever if we exclude borrowed digs like the Georgia Dome for Georgia State.  As far as that coaching situation, Brian Bohannon is making Paul Johnson’s option offense his own a little further up I-75.

A week ago, after the Owls blew out East Tennessee State on the road in the program’s first ever game, John Konsowitz and Brad Salois hoisted a “still undefeated” banner on ESPN’s College Gameday.  This phrase has been an inside joke within the KSU community ever since it was announced there would be an exploratory committee back in 2009.  Many a truth is spoken in jest, and now the mighty Owls are 2-0, and the games haven’t even been close.

Without getting into an in-depth history lesson, let’s just agree that Kennesaw State build its coach, and fans a turnkey program in only a few short years.  The plan came together with perfection over the past couple of weeks, and those “still undefeated” t-shirts the book store has been selling since 2009 are still relevant.  Next week, it’ll be up to Shorter University to make them a lie.

The stadium is right, the coach is right, and the fan base is buying in.  So far the three major ingredients are tasting like success at the school that didn’t even have a parking deck a few years ago.  KSU isn’t your mom’s transfer school anymore kids.  Football is about to take little Kennesaw College to the next level, and much faster than expected.

Written by 

Blake Silvers is an editor at the Rome News-Tribune, and a contributor at Fansided. His work frequently appears on, and he has also written for Bleacher Report in the past.