The Acworth Business Association met Thursday at NorthStar Church for its monthly Business Meeting Luncheon. Instead of inviting a guest speaker to talk about balance sheets and profit and loss statements, the group welcomed new Kennesaw State University athletic director Vaughn Williams.
Since KSU announced Williams as the new man in charge of sports at the third largest university in the state of Georgia, he has spoken often about the need for KSU to step up its efforts in the community.
With Williams at the luncheon was a small entourage from the KSU athletic department; assistant athletic director George Olney and new men’s basketball coach Lewis Preston.
According to Olney, KSU enrollment will eclipse 24,000 students when the campus opens for the fall semester, and since “athletics is the front door to the university,” it is imperative for the new face of the athletic department (Williams) to be out in the public as much as possible.
Williams said that he always enjoys talking about where KSU athletics is heading, and what’s going on currently with the Owls, but he also needs the community to “rally behind what we’re going to do.”
Without using the word, Williams, with that statement, laid the groundwork for the hottest topic of conversation in sports in many years; football at KSU.
Williams said that his job was to make the community proud of KSU athletics, and he gave a few facts to jump start the support.
Williams mentioned that the student athletes at KSU collectively earned a 3.0 grade point average last year, and that 65 percent were over that 3.0 plateau and 11 percent had a perfect 4.0 GPA.
“We’re trying to make champions for life,” said Williams. “We want to graduate them and make them leaders in this community, in Cobb County and beyond.”
While impressed with the current academic prowess of the student athletes and the new direction of KSU athletics under Williams, no assembled group is going to let Williams stand up and not answer questions about football.
The Acworth Business Association was no different.
In September of 2010, KSU accepted the recommendation of a 9-month Football Exploratory Committee to move forward with KSU’s interest in fielding a football team.
In November, according to university documents, KSU students voted for a $100 per-semester fee increase to go towards student athletics, namely football.
Now that the university has said yes, and the students have agreed, KSU must set about at paying for the endeavor. Williams said that it will likely cost between $8 and $12 million to fund a football program at KSU, and that the new student fees wouldn’t get the university to that goal.
To do that, not only is KSU going to need financial resources from donors and the community, but also support.
“It is easy for me to sell athletics, to sell that football is coming because it’s about growing the university,” said Williams. “It’s about bringing people to this county and to Acworth, to Cobb County to enjoy all of the different things we have to offer. It starts with all of you and it starts at home.”
“Our goal,” said Williams, “is to start football in 2014. If everything goes right that’s the year we’ll start.”