GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman football officially begins the Bruce Fowler era this Saturday when the Paladins travel to Conway, S.C., to take on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the 2011 season opener for both schools. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. at Brooks Stadium.
Fowler's debut as the Paladins' new head football mentor comes nine months after the 1981 Furman graduate assumed the helm of the program he served for 18 seasons (1984-01) as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator. During his time on staff the Paladins won six Southern Conference championships and made nine NCAA FCS playoff appearances. He served as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt for nine seasons (2002-10).
Furman, which is coming off a 5-6 campaign a year ago, its first losing campaign since 1998, returns 16 starters, including seven on both offense and defense, plus its kicker and punter. The Paladins were a preseason No. 5 pick in a poll of SoCon media and No. 6 choice of league coaches.
The Paladins will be facing a Coastal Carolina squad that posted a 6-6 mark and qualified for FCS playoff action in 2010. The Chanticleers were a consensus No. 3 preseason pick in the Big South Conference.
Furman and Coastal Carolina have met twice on the football field, with the Chanticleers taking a 29-27 verdict in the series inaugural at Brooks Stadium in 2006. The next year Furman gained revenge with a 27-17 triumph in Greenville.
Furman has won its last eight season openers, including a 45-15 triumph over Colgate last year in Greenville. Seven of those victories, however, were recorded in Paladin Stadium, with a 37-35 verdict over Jacksonville State in 2005 representing the only season opening road venture for Furman since 2003.
Saturday's game will be broadcast over Furman Sports Network Greenville flagship station WOLT-FM 103.3 and also available over Upstate affiliate WGOG-FM 96.3 and via stadium transmitter at FM 105.9. Dan Scott, the new "Voice of the Paladins", will call the play-by-play action and will be joined by former Paladin All-American center Corey Stewart with color commentary.
Links to live streaming and live stats of the Furman-CCU contest can be accessed through www.furmanpaladins.com. Fans can also follow live updates through www.twitter.com/FurmanPaladins.