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Photo credit: McNeese State photo

LAKE CHARLES – A day after being announced as McNeese’s 18th football head coach in school history, Gary Goff, who led Valdosta State to the program’s sixth NCAA National Championship appearance this past Saturday and back-to-back Gulf South Conference titles in his two playing seasons as head coach in Titletown (three overall seasons), was formally introduced to a packed Endzone Club Room full of McNeese faithful on Monday.

Goff finished his VSU career with a 22-3 record. He also coached eight seasons at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio, and is 60-53 in 10 playing seasons of coaching.

“The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind, but this is a very special moment for me and my family,” said Goff. “This means the world to us and we’re going to make you proud. We’re going to make the community proud. We’re going to make sure we win a lot of football games in The Hole and we’ll have a lot of fun doing it.

“I’ve been blessed in my career. I’ve learned a lot under some great coaches (Hal Mumme and Mike Leach to name a couple). I got my start at a small school in Ohio (Tiffin University) and took over a program that had won two games in three years. The administration there allowed me time to get things going in the right direction and that led be back home to Valdosta State, where I was a player. That’s a phenomenal institution and a phenomenal place to be, very special, and a hard place for us to leave because it meant so much to me and my family. But coming to a place like McNeese is unbelievable and it is a dream job.

“We’re going to win a lot of football games and have a lot of fun doing it.”

“It’s a great day,” said Athletics Director Heath Schroyer. “I’m so humbled and excited to have coach here. He was at the top of my list at the beginning, and he ended up at the top of my list.”

Schroyer revealed a list of 10 non-negotiables he had when selecting the new head coach.

“He had to be a proven, successful head coach that can command the room and be authentic. I wanted a coach that runs a comprehensive program where there’s accountability in three areas – socially, academically, and on the field. Third, I wanted a servant leader; someone who’s not afraid to pick up their own trash. He has to have a ‘we’re going to do more with less’ mentally, and there are no excuses. Someone that’s a cultural fit here. He must be offensive minded. I want to score. I want to fire that canon. He must run a program that develops players. Number nine, can I sit and have a drink with him. And last but not least, would his family embrace Lake Charles.”

The Blazers finished the 2021 season with a 12-2 record overall, falling in the NCAA Division II National Title to Ferris State. VSU went 6-1 in the Gulf South Conference, sharing the league title with West Florida. Goff was named GSC Coach of the Year for the second time in 2021, as he was Co-GSC Coach of the Year in 2019.

This past season, the Blazers placed 17 players on the All-GSC team including nine on the first unit. Valdosta led the NCAA in total offense for the season, averaging 527.2 yards per game, was second in rushing (267.0, 5th in NCAA) and third in passing (260.2, 30th in NCAA).

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