NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - “Enthiusiastic”, “'jacked up” and “energized” could all be used to describe Colby Carthel as he addressed the SFA fans and staff Tuesday afternoon.
Carthel was introduced as the new head football coach for SFA. He will become the 20th head coach of the program. He comes to Nacogodches after rebuilding the Texas A&M Commerce program into a powerhouse on the NCAA DII level. Over the past three seasons, Carthel led the lions to a 35-6 record and a national championship.
Athletic Director Ryan Ivey did not have to much homework to do on Carthel. While at Commerce, Ivey hired Carthel to take over a struggling program.
“Today is a day in new beginnings,” Ivey said before introducing coach Carthel. “It brings hope, excitement and celebration. It’s a beginning to our football programs' climb to success. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to introduce a national champion and we are certainly excited to do that today. By going through this process the words national champion, winner, relational, charismatic, energetic, enthusiastic, intelligent, although I argued with that person about that characteristic when they said that, high football IQ, recruiter, player development, passion, leader and national champion, all came up time and time again. I am proud to say we found all of the things that we were looking for in our head football coach."
The overarching theme of Carthel’s introduction was unity between the program and the community.
“I’m excited. I’m jacked up," Carthel said. “It’s a great day for SFA football, it’s a great day for SFA, it’s a great day for the town of Nacogdoches. This day is important to me, it’s important to you and we’re fixing to start something real special.” “I’m not just the head football coach at SFA, I’m your head football coach. We’re now in this thing together, each and every one of us. Faculty and staff, students, alumni, people of Nacogdoches, people of east Texas region, we’re in this thing together.”
Carthel will take over a program that went 2-8 this previous season under Interim Head Coach Jeff Byrd. Byrd was given control of the program after Clint Conque was suspended and resinged while being investigated for allegedly breaking university policies.
Carthel looks to bring the same winning edge he brought to Commerce and he looks to do it with the same formula.
“We’re going to build a championship program and we’re going to build a championship program together,” Carthel said. "Using the same blueprint that we did at A&M-Commerce where we took over a program that was one of the worst in the nation and built it into a national power. We know what we’re doing. It takes hard work and it takes everybody. It’s not the responsibility of a football staff and the football players. It’s the responsibility of every single one of you that touch this program. Everybody in town, everybody on campus. We’re gonna do this thing together, but know this: you’ve got to be a champion off the field before you can ever be a champion on the field. That message is going to ring loud and true at 5:30 this afternoon when I get a chance to meet our new team. "
Carhtel will have work to do on the recruiting trail with early signing day in just a matter of weeks.
“How do you build a championship program,” Carthel asked. "You do it through recruiting and we will be recruiting relentlessly. We will be relentless in our pursuit of quality student-athletes here at SFA and we will recruit from east Texas out. It starts at home. If there’s a good football player that fits what we do and he’s a good student in the classroom and if there’s a pine tree within 100 yards of his front door that sucker better be wearing purple, and I mean that. "
Carthel will also need to rally a fan base that has become harder to get inside the stadium then usual with attendance way down this past season.
“I don’t expect people to show up without something exciting and fun to watch," Carthel said. "That is going to start from day 1 with the championship program we are going to build. It is going to be a football team this community can rally around not just on Saturdays in the fall but year round.”