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Area around Paulson to be named for Erk

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    The Erk Russell Athletic Park.
    Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
    On Wednesday the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved naming the area surrounding Paulson Stadium the Erk Russell Athletic Park, according to a spokeswoman for the board.
    In the early 1980s, Russell spearheaded a success story unlike any in college sports since when he resurrected a Georgia Southern football program that had been dormant since World War II. Under the bald-headed legend, the Eagles enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of Division I-AA, winning three national championships in 1985, ‘86 and ‘89. Russell died last September at the age of 80.
    Along with Paulson Stadium, the Erk Russell Athletic Park will include the new Gene Bishop Fieldhouse, the soccer and track facility and the Troy A. and Mozelle Cowart Building, which houses Southern Boosters and the ticket office.
    The naming of the area is the latest of several tributes to the father of Eagle football. At Georgia Southern’s 2007 season opener, the school unveiled a bronze bust cast of Russell in the west end zone and letters reading “Coach Erk Russell” along Paulson Stadium’s façade. Next to his name are three footballs detailed with the years of his three championships.
    “Coach Russell and his Eagle teams made us proud to be associated with Georgia Southern and made our football program the most respected in the nation,” GSU president Bruce Grube said earlier this year.     A spokesperson for Georgia Southern said information for the park would be released at a later date.


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