Georgia State Panthers

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 02: A general view of the stadium during the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Detroit Tigers at Turner Field on October 2, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
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Georgia State is renaming Turner Field to Georgia State Stadium

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With the doors closing on the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for good, Georgia State’s football program is ready to get started on their very own home field at Turner Field in 2017. The Panthers will kick off the 2017 season at Turner Field against Tennessee state on August 31. The stadium will also have a new name; Georgia State Stadium.

As soon as word broke from the Atlanta Braves that the MLB franchise was going to move to a new location, Georgia State pounce don the opportunity to claim the land holding Turner Field. Knowing the Georgia Dome was going to be abandoned by the Atlanta Falcons (who move into a brand new stadium this year), Georgia State needed to secure a place to play their home games, and getting a chance to have their own stadium all to themselves was highly sought after by the university.

While Georgia State will play its home games in the former home of the Braves, the plan moving forward will be to overhaul the entire venue by making it more fan friendly and better serve the Georgia State football program. For starters, the stadium’s capacity will be reduced from 50,000 for baseball to 23,000 for the football program.

The converted football stadium will also be accompanied by other facilities for the university including shops and residential complexes as part of a university and community effort to develop.

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Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is seen during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on October 15, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 17-10. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Georgia State makes firing of Trent Miles official; Tim Lappano named interim coach

Trent Miles
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
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Georgia State has officially announced the firing of head coach Trent Miles. After reports surfaced Saturday night the coaching change was happening, the school formally announced the change within the program on Sunday. Assistant coach Tim Lappano will continue to serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

“These decisions are never easy to make,” Georgia State Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb said in a released statement. “Coach Miles is a first class guy, who has run a first class program who has always been a true professional and great leader for our program, but we felt the time was right to make a change. We will begin a national search for our next head coach immediately.”

Georgia State has fired a search firm to assist with finding new head coach for the program. Don’t expect Georgia State to make any big waves with its coaching search. The Georgia State job won’t attract a coaching candidate like Les Miles or Tom Herman but will be one likely to give an assistant coach a chance to make the jump to being a head coach, or perhaps a coach from the FCS or below.

This could also alter the future of the program when it comes to satellite camps. Miles had openly welcomed power conference programs to come to Georgia State for football camps. Some programs who have accepted an invitation to Georgia State have included Missouri, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee, USC and Wisconsin. Miles was critical of the NCAA’s initial decision to shutdown satellite camp practices. Whether those continue under a new head coach remains to be seen.

Miles was 9-38 at Georgia State but took the Panthers to a bowl game last season. What’s next for Miles remains unknown of course, although given his years of coaching experience it would be hard to envision him not being on a sideline somewhere in 2017.

Georgia State reportedly fires Trent Miles

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 25: head coach Trent Miles of the Georgia State Panthers walks on the sideliens in the second half against the Georgia Southern Eagles at the Georgia Dome on October 25, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
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Georgia State has moved on from head coach Trent MilesSports Illustrated‘s Pete Thamel reported Saturday night.

Miles inherited a young program still struggling through obvious growing pains upon his 2013 arrival from Indiana State. His Panthers suffered through a 1-23 start before seemingly breaking through with the program’s first-ever bowl trip — a loss to San Jose State in the Cure Bowl — last season.

The Panthers, however, regressed to 2-8 this season, and Miles’s tenure culminated in a 37-23 loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.

The move comes at unfortunate timing for Miles, as just this week Georgia State announced an oncoming renovation to Turner Field, which will get the still-establishing program out of the cavernous Georgia Dome.

Georgia State will close its season against Georgia Southern on Saturday before a year-end road trip to Idaho.


Georgia State shells out $23 million for Turner Field, will repurpose MLB park for football

Georgia State athletics

The former home of a Major League Baseball club is officially being repurposed by one FBS member.

In the works for more than two years, Georgia State announced Wednesday that its board of regents has approved the university’s purchase of Turner Field. GSU purchased the stadium and 38 acres of the 68-acre site on which the now-former home of the Atlanta Braves sits for $22.8 million.

The university plans to renovate The Ted and use it as the home for its football team. The stadium will initially seat 23,000 fans, with the possibility of 10,000 seats being added in the future.

No taxpayer dollars or new student fees were used in the purchase, nor will they be used in the renovation, the school noted. Any of the acreage not used by the university or athletic department “will be sold and leased to Georgia State’s development partner Carter and Associates, which will develop private housing, retail and corporate facilities around the stadium.”

“Acquiring the former Turner Field site presents a unique opportunity for Georgia State University that will help its athletics program continue to grow and positively impact the surrounding area,” said chancellor Hank Huckaby in a statement. “Georgia State University continues to advance as a leading urban research institution and making this site and facility part of Georgia State will help enhance the campus experience for students.”

A timeline for a move to Turner Field has not been released. The Panthers have played their home games at the Georgia Dome since the program’s inception in 2010.