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Eagles remember 9/11

Jeff Monken

GSU footbal coach

On Sept. 11, 2001, the defending I-AA national champion Georgia Southern Eagles were practicing for the second game of the season - the conference opener against Wofford.

Everybody on the team knew of the tragedies, but with classes cancelled and no televisions in the football offices, there weren't a lot of details.

After the day's practice, the Southern Conference called and informed the coaching staff that there wouldn't be a game that Saturday.

Jeff Monken, then the Eagles' slotbacks coach, used the Internet to piece together the story of the day's events before leaving campus to go home to his new wife, Beth, who had interviewed for a teaching job at Effingham County High School that day.

"We didn't have a lot of televisions or cable TV [on campus], but we saw some pictures on the Internet. I didn't actually see the footage until later that night. Beth and I went to the grocery store, and there was a TV on," said Monken. "I just stopped. I was riveted to the TV. She said, 'C'mon, let's go,' and I'm like, 'Hang on, hang on.' We probably stood there 45 minutes."

The Eagles took the weekend off, but things returned to normal the following Monday in a somewhat surreal setting.

"We got back to work on Monday and we got ready to play the next game," Monken said. "I can't say that I remember those practices or the week leading up to that game."


Charlton Young

GSU men's basketball coach

On Sept. 11, 2001, GSU basketball coach Charlton Young was an assistant at Auburn.

That morning, it was business as usual. The recruiting season had just begun, and Young was preparing a visit.

"I was getting ready to catch a flight, because the contact period opens on [Sept. 9]," said Young. "I was getting ready and I was going to call my mother when I got in the car, and she must have called me 15 times. When I came to the phone, I picked it up and she said, 'Turn on the TV. Where are you?' I said my flight was about to leave, and she said, 'You can't be getting on any plane. That's out. Turn on the TV.' When I turned on the TV, I thought it was a movie. I couldn't even believe it was real."

Young canceled the trip, and the Auburn Tigers came together as a team.

"We just tried to tighten the ring and bring our family into a central location when it first happened," Young said.

"We were thankful for our health and our safety. We prayed for our fellow Americans who were involved. Our players, our coaches, all of us just wanted to be together, because it could have been one of us on the planes."

Needless to say, those recruiting trips were different for a while.

"I didn't catch a flight for six or eight months," Young said. "I was like, 'Forget it, I'll drive.'"