August 30, 2017

(STATS) - A new era begins for a number of FCS programs this week as head coaches make their debuts amid great optimism.

Chattanooga's Tom Arth got it started last weekend, but his Mocs fell at Jacksonville State 27-13 in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff.

The results figure to be mixed for all 17 new coaches as some are taking on FBS opponents, others are involved in marquee FCS matchups and some have easy home games.

None has had as difficult a week as Lamar's Mike Schultz. His Southland Conference school is located in Beaumont, Texas, which has felt the fury of Hurricane Harvey's rain and flooding. The Cardinals are set to open their season away from the devastation Saturday at North Texas.

New coaches debuting Thursday night are Elon's Curt Cignetti (at Toledo), Delaware's Danny Rocco (versus Delaware State), Indiana State's Curt Mallory (versus Eastern Illinois) and Presbyterian's Tommy Spangler (at Wake Forest), who begins his second stint leading the Blue Hose.

Russ Huesman of No. 7 Richmond will debut Friday night against No. 3 Sam Houston State. That battle of national powers was postponed last weekend by Harvey and has been switched to Baylor University.

On Saturday, three other coaches whose teams are ranked in the STATS FCS Top 25 are set to begin their seasons: No. 5 Eastern Washington's Aaron Best (at Texas Tech); No. 10 Villanova's Mark Ferrante (at No. 17 Lehigh); and No. 14 Charleston Southern's Mark Tucker (at Mississippi State).

In addition, the new eras begin Saturday for Abilene Christian's Adam Dorrel (at New Mexico), Bryant's James Perry (versus Merrimack), Furman's Clay Hendrix (at No. 11 Wofford), Howard's Mike London (at UNLV), Idaho State's Rob Phenicie (versus Western Oregon), Lafayette's John Garrett (versus Monmouth) and UC Davis' Dan Hawkins (at San Diego State).

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