Shawn Elliott, center, speaks at an NCAA college football press conference where he was introduced as the head football coach for Georgia State, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in Atlanta. He was joined by Georgia State president, Mark Becker, left, and director of
AP Photo
December 09, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) Georgia State has turned to South Carolina assistant Shawn Elliott to energize a program that hasn't had a winning season since moving up to college football's top division.

Elliott was introduced Friday at a news conference on Georgia State's downtown campus.

He coached the offensive line and served as co-offensive coordinator for the Gamecocks, where he worked the last seven years under Steve Spurrier and current head coach Will Muschamp.

Elliott also served as South Carolina's interim head coach in 2015, going 1-5 after Spurrier retired midway through the season.

''We're going to bring effort and enthusiasm, and we're going to attack every single day as if it's our last,'' he said. ''I know that's easy to say, but it's the truth. People talk about vision, vision, vision; I talk about now and what we need to be doing right now.''

The hiring comes at a critical time for Georgia State's program, which has struggled to make its mark on the crowded Atlanta sports scene.

The Panthers are moving to Turner Field next season, taking over the stadium that served as the Braves baseball home the last 20 years. Georgia State plans to downsize it into a 23,000-seat football stadium, providing a much more intimate atmosphere that the 70,000-seat Georgia Dome.

But the Panthers have rarely drawn even 10,000 to a game since launching their program in 2010. After going 6-5 as an FCS school in their debut season, they have not had a winning record since.

Georgia State is 10-39 since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2013.

Elliott said the move to Turner Field is a huge step.

''The future is bright at Georgia State University and that stadium we're about to move into,'' Elliott said.

Athletic director Charlie Cobb said he wanted a coach that would bolster recruiting in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. Given its lack of success, the AD also wanted someone ''who would bring positive energy to our football program.''

Before his tenure with the Gemecocks, Elliott served 13 seasons as an assistant coach at Appalachian State, his alma mater. A native of Camden, South Carolina, he was an integral part of three consecutive NCAA FCS titles from 2005-07 as well as the Mountaineers' historic upset at Michigan in 2007.

Cobb is a former athletic director at Appalachian State.

''I'm fortunate that our paths crossed 11 years ago at App State,'' Cobb said. ''It didn't take long for me to be impressed with his coaching style, his maturity, and his love for competition, especially in the game of football.''

Elliott replaces Trent Miles, who was fired with two games to go in his fourth season. Miles had a record of 9-38 with the Panthers, though he did lead them to their first bowl appearance in 2015. Tim Lappano served as interim coach the final two games.

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