By DJ VINING
KENNESAW, Ga. – Head football coach Brian Bohanan is making Kennesaw State University history.
On March 24, 2013, Bohannon was chosen as KSU’s first ever head football coach. Upon being chosen, Bohanan immediately began choosing his coaching staff while recruiting players from all over Georgia to prepare for the Owls’ 2015 season.
Georgia Tech was his last stop before getting the head coach position at Kennesaw State. Bohannon says that he is honored and humbled to be the first coach for the Owls in their inaugural season.
“It’s been awesome,” Bohannon said. “I’m sitting out here reflecting at times and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this university, a part of this football program and what all is going on at this university and this community.”
When Bohannon was hired, KSU reported that he received praise for being the Owls’ first head football coach from a list of prominent people involved in football, including Georgia Southern head coach Jeff Monken, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and memorable football coach Vince Dooley.
Born in Macon, Georgia, Bohannon grew up having a father as a football coach. When Bohannon was very young, his family moved to Athens where his dad got a job as an assistant coach for Cedar Shoals High School. When he was 8, their family moved to Griffin, Georgia, what Bohannon calls his hometown.
“My dad was a high school coach for 30 years, so I kind of grew up in a football family,” Bohannon said. “And there probably weren’t many days that I either wasn’t on a practice field or practicing football since I was probably eight years old.”
Football was a whole part of Bohannon’s life and, eventually, he was able to go play for the University of Georgia while studying business. Bohannon says that it wasn’t until around his junior year that he wanted to be a football coach.
Bohannon finished up at the University of Georgia in 1993 and went to be a graduate assistant at the University of West Georgia. There, he coached under Charlie Fisher for two years while getting his master’s in business education.
Bohannon has 17 years of coaching experience, both at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship (FCS) level.
After West Georgia, Bohannon coached at Gardner-Webb, Georgia Southern University, U.S. Naval Academy, and then Georgia Tech, where he coached quarterbacks and B-backs for five years.
He coached under Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson, who had some great things to say about Bohannon as a member of his coaching staff.
Bohannon had some great accomplishments during his time at Georgia Tech. While at Tech, he coached their rushing offense, which ranked fourth in the nation. In 2010, the Yellow Jackets led the nation in rushing for the first time in the school’s history. On top of that, he coached four Yellow Jackets who ran for more than 1,000 yards in single seasons.
Bohannon’s coaches and players are behind him and support him.
“Coach Bohannon tells you the truth, he doesn’t beat around the bush,” Owls defensive tackle Auzoyah Alufohai said. “He’s all about effort, attitude and toughness. He tells us every day to come out, practice hard and play hard.”
KSU defensive coordinator Brian Newberry has 14 years of coaching experience and was named one of Bohannon’s assistant coaches in June 2013.
“He’s a great leader and we all enjoy working for him,” Newberry said. “He’s not a guy who’s going to micromanage you. He lets you do your job and trusts you to do your job. At the same time, if there’s something that needs to be corrected he’ll get it corrected.”
Like any other football coach, Bohannon says he is hard on his players but he still likes to joke on the sidelines to let the players know he’s not always yelling at them.
“Every day is a new day and when you’re dealing with a bunch of 18-20 year-olds, there’s always good, bad, and funny things that happen,” Bohannon said.
At the end of it all, Bohannon says he is right where he wants to be and he is extremely proud of his team.
“I’ve loved every minute of it,” Bohannon said. “It’s had its good days and bad days just like any job, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”