East Tennessee State football returns after 12 years

The East Tennessee Buccaneers are back after a 12-year hiatus, dispelling its past monetary woes.

East Tennessee State University kicked off its inaugural football season Thursday since the school’s program was dismantled in 2003 due to financial difficulties.

What’s different this time around?

ETSU’s Student Government approved a student fee for athletic funding in 2013. Since then, all the pieces have been falling into place.

The university secured former North Caroline head coach Carl Torbush to bring the team to life. Torbush in turned recruited, according to FOX Sports, “an initial signing class of 47.”

There’s even more in store for the Buccaneers.  ETSU alums country music star Kenny Chesney and former Falcons head coach Mike Smith are leading fundraising efforts to build a new stadium.  If every works out, the team plans to move into the stadium in 2017.

ETSU still has some work to do. The team of mostly freshmen and sophomores lost its first game against Kennesaw State 56-16.

Previously the Buccaneers had reached the 1996 Division I-AA playoffs and upset then No.1  team Georgia Southern in 2001.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to ETSU Athletics Facebook page