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Former GSU coach in at Kennesaw

KENNESAW — Brian Bohannon has a lot of work to do.

He can't wait to get started.

Bohannon, a longtime assistant under Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, was introduced as Kennesaw State's first football coach on Tuesday in the locker room his team will be using for its inaugural season in 2015.

"I felt like they had something special here," he said. "All football is going to do is open that up for everybody to see. It's here. People may not know it yet, but they're going to. There's special things going on at Kennesaw State University."

The Owls are launching an NCAA Division I program that will play in the Football Championship Subdivision. They already have an 8,300-seat stadium on their suburban Atlanta campus but will have to find a new conference since the Atlantic Sun does not sponsor football.

Bohannon has deep ties to the state as a former Georgia player who coached under Johnson at both Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech.

"One thing I learned with coach Johnson is he knows how to win," Bohannon said. "Winning is a big deal."

He spent the last five years at Georgia Tech working with quarterbacks and B-backs in Johnson's run-oriented option offense, a style he will likely bring to Kennesaw State.

But there are plenty of things Bohannon will have to do before he gets to installing an offense. His top priority is putting together a coaching staff. He's also eager to get on the road recruiting, looking to make high school coaches aware of the fledgling program and start making inroad on the first signing class.

"When I think of the location, the student body, the spirit of the community, I think it's different than other programs that have started up. Completely different," Bohannon said. "The vibe you feel here makes it a unique situation. Having a stadium in place right now is a great thing for prospects to see. You can offer things football-wise that they'll feel good about."

Kennesaw State joins an increasingly crowded football landscape within the state. Georgia State began playing in 2010 and already is in the process of moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision. Mercer also is starting a new program, while FCS powerhouse Georgia Southern is expected to announce Wednesday that it will be moving up to the FBS, joining Georgia State in a revamped Sun Belt Conference.

The Owls are looking to carve out their own niche. They got the right guy, according to Johnson.

"He has been a big part of our success the past 17 years," said the Georgia Tech coach, who also had Bohannon on his staff at Navy. "I'm glad he has an opportunity to run his own program."