After talking to 15 coaches over the last two days, each said different variations of the same thing — Bohannon is a straight-forward individual who is good at building
Bohannon showed that in his introductory news conference Tuesday inside the football locker room at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, addressing 150 of his newest and closest Kennesaw State fans, leaders and trustees.
“I want our young men and staff to win the day,” Bohannon said. “I want them to win in the classroom, and I want them to win on the field.”
It was a message he learned growing up on the football field, first watching and then playing for his father, Lloyd, at Griffin High School. It was the same when he played as a wide receiver at Georgia, and then when he worked as an assistant with Paul Johnson for the last 17 years at Georgia Southern, Navy and Georgia Tech.
Bohannon said that was what he had to do to prove himself every day.
“I had to work hard,” he said. “I wasn’t talented enough not to. If I didn’t do the work, I wasn’t going to get a chance to play.”
It was the same message he has delivered to players and coaches while recruiting Cobb County for the last five years for the Yellow Jackets.
“He always presented himself and Georgia Tech in the most professional light,” former South Cobb coach Ed Koester said. “Brian took time on each visit to sit, talk football, evaluate the kids, and just share about kids of today — as well as his needs as a recruiter, and Georgia Tech’s needs. On the appropriate occasion, when introduced to players, he was genuine, up-front and honest with every player.”
That straight-forward honesty was one of the main reasons Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside — who has two former Hawks, brothers Synjyn Days and Jabari Hunt-Days, playing at Georgia Tech — grew to like Bohannon.
“He would (be willing to) tell you, coaches and players, what you didn’t want to hear,” Ironside said.
During Tuesday’s introduction, Bohannon got more excited the longer he talked, and it seemed like he was already building to a point where he was ready to take the field. You could see a level of intensity in his eyes, and his competitive side began to show.
“He’s sharp,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “He’s very, very intelligent. He is meticulous, detailed oriented and competitive. He’ll fight you over a can of corn if you’re hungry.”
While every Cobb coach that offered comments were positive in their impression of Bohannon, there was a couple that questioned his offensive philosophy. Not because he didn’t run it well, but because the triple option at Kennesaw State may provide a recruiting obstacle.
“With Georgia Tech running the triple option, they don’t necessarily recruit four- or five-star athletes,” one coach said. “Often, they recruit the two-and three-star players to run that style of offense. Those are the same athletes that Kennesaw State will be recruiting. If a kid has a choice to play at Georgia Tech or Kennesaw State, which one do you think he’s going to choose?”
That sounds like a competitive challenge.
Bohannon’s job now, is to start bringing those kids to Kennesaw and not Atlanta.
Most of the Cobb County coaches think he can do it.
Kennesaw State athletic director Vaughn Williams is banking on it.
It will take a lot of hard work, but it’s something that the Owls’ new football coach already knows.
“I’m excited to be the head coach at Kennesaw State University,” Bohannon said. “I’m ready to lead.”
John Bednarowski is sports editor of the
Marietta Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.twitter.com/jbednarowski.