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Torbush to retire from ETSU football

Johnson City Press • Updated Dec 8, 2017 at 3:14 PM

East Tennessee State University’s resurrected football program is losing its leader.

ETSU President Brian Noland announced in a news conference Friday that head coach Carl Torbush he planned to retire. ETSU had offered Torbush a contract extension, but he declined.

Noland named Torbush to the spot in 2013 after bringing back football to ETSU. ETSU played its first game in 13 years in 2015.

Torbush timeline:

June 21, 2013 – ETSU hires former North Carolina head football coach Carl Torbush as its new head coach

Sept. 13, 2013 – For the first time in 10 years, ETSU football coaches hit the recruiting trail in anticipation of signing the program’s first class in February of 2014

Nov. 2, 2013 – The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics hosts a special Homecoming reunion event for former football players as part of the weekend activities

Nov. 5, 2013 – ETSU announces it has signed a new licensing and apparel deal with Nike to provide gear for football, as well as other Buccaneer teams

Nov. 14, 2013 – During a called press conference, it is announced that ETSU’s first opponent will be fellow first-year program Kennesaw State, and the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2015

Feb. 5, 2014 – ETSU announces first recruiting class (47 players) in preparation for 2015 season

July 1, 2014 – ETSU athletics officially returns to Southern Conference

July 23, 2014 – ETSU athletics launches new logos, branding initiative

Sept. 3, 2014 – Bucs host first Media Day in over 10 years

Sept. 15, 2014 – Bucs hold first official practice in over 10 years

Sept. 27, 2014 – Over 3,000 fans turn out for an all-day tailgate event at ETSU Game Time 101, which is highlighted by the team’s first official Blue-Gold Scrimmage

Oct. 23, 2014 – ETSU wraps up Blue-Gold scrimmage at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport

Nov. 1, 2014 – On a snowy, frigid day, the Bucs participate in ETSU Homecoming by playing the team’s final Blue-Golf scrimmage of the fall

Dec. 18, 2014 – Coach Torbush releases the team’s 2015 schedule, an 11-game slate that includes six home games and five road contests

Feb. 6, 2015 – It is announced that the Buccaneers will face the University of Tennessee on the gridiron on Sept. 8, 2018 at tradition-rich Neyland Stadium

March 18, 2015 – ETSU athletics official launches football stadium campaign and announces stadium site

April 2, 2015 – Bucs head to Erwin for scrimmage at Unicoi County High School

April 11, 2015 – ETSU football plays the Mountain States Health Alliance Blue-Gold scrimmage game to conclude the first spring practice since 2003. During the game, local business man and philanthropist Scott Niswonger presents leadership gift of $1 million to the ETSU football stadium campaign

April 27, 2015 – The Buccaneers officially unveil the team’s new football and band uniforms for the 2015 season

May 4, 2015 – General Shale makes commitment to provide a half-million bricks to the construction of the new ETSU football stadium

Sept 3, 2015 – For the first time in 4,303 days, ETSU football returns to the gridiron as the Bucs host Kennesaw State at Kermit Tipton Stadium

Oct. 31, 2015 - Scoring 28 unanswered points in the first half, the Buccaneers collected a season-high 457 yards in total offense and the team’s defensive unit did not allow any points, as ETSU secured its first victory since reinstituting its football program with a 42-9 win over Warner in front of a Halloween crowd of 6,480 fans at Kermit Tipton Stadium

Nov. 16, 2015 - In a historic groundbreaking ceremony, the ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics marked the official start of construction on the Buccaneers’ new football stadium Monday afternoon on the site of the new facility

Nov. 21, 2015 - ETSU ends its first season with a 42-27 win over Kentucky Wesleyan in front of 6,302 fans at Kermit Tipton Stadium ... The Bucs out-gained the Panthers, 574-375, while holding KWC to -13 rushing yards on 16 carries

Jan. 28, 2016 -- The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Bristol Motor Speedway held a joint press conference to announce they have reached an agreement to host ETSU’s 2016 Southern Conference football opener at the Last Great Colosseum. The Buccaneers, who are playing a full SoCon schedule this upcoming season, will host Western Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 17.

September 3, 2016 - ETSU football defeats Kennesaw State, 20-17, in double-overtime, marking the Bucs’ first win over a FCS program since Nov. 22, 2003 (The Citadel)

September 17, 2016 - ETSU football defeats Western Carolina, 34-31, in front of a single-game record 13,863 fans at Bristol Motor Speedway

March 31, 2016 – Bucs head to Elizabethton for spring scrimmage

August 23, 2017 – The Bucs hold their first ever practice inside new stadium

August 24, 2017 - Board approves naming of William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium.

September 2, 2017 - ETSU opens William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium with a 31-10 win over Limestone in front of a capacity crowd of 9,530.

The following is a news release from ETSU:

The East Tennessee State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Friday that football head coach Carl Torbush will be retiring from his position after five years with the program.

Torbush was tasked with restarting the Buccaneer football program in June of 2013 and has totaled over 40 years of coaching experience.

“I came to ETSU because of my love for football, East Tennessee, ETSU, the people and the passion for restarting a program that hurt all of us when it was dropped,” said Torbush. “My love, appreciation and respect for everything that makes this university special will last a lifetime. I do feel all of us, myself, my staff, our athletic department, our faculty and staff, lettermen, fans, and everyone who has a love for ETSU, ETSU athletics, and especially ETSU football have been very instrumental in building a solid foundation for our program.”

Torbush, whose career also included head coaching stops at North Carolina and Louisiana Tech, built a strong reputation as an outstanding defensive strategist after having served as a defensive coordinator at six FBS programs, including Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Kansas, Texas A&M and UNC. Torbush got his coaching start at Carter High School in Knoxville in 1974 before joining Baylor’s staff as a graduate assistant in 1975.

“ETSU athletics will be forever grateful for Coach Torbush’s passion and effort in rebuilding the Buccaneer football program,” said ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Carter. “He established a foundation around character and integrity, which will serve for many years to come. I personally consider Carl a great friend and I am truly thankful for the time spent working together around a program we both love. From ordering footballs, to designing uniforms, to recruiting young quality men and building a stadium, Coach Torubsh’s fingerprints are all around the ETSU football program and they will stay there forever. Coach came here to do a job and we are indebted to him for how he did it.”

During his time at ETSU, Torbush coached nine all-Southern Conference selections, while 75 Buccaneers were also placed on the SoCon Honor Roll and over 30 will have graduated over his watch. Torbush’s tenure included wins over No. 18 Samford to end the 2016 season, along with season-opening wins at Kennesaw State and versus Western Carolina at Bristol Motor Speedway in front of a school record crowd 13,863 fans. Since returning to the SoCon, the Bucs have defeated half of the teams in the league.

Torbush – who recorded his first win at ETSU back on Oct. 31, 2015 against Warner – went from a two-win season in 2015 to a five-win campaign in the Bucs’ first season in the Southern Conference. Following a 2-0 start in 2016, the Buccaneers were receiving votes of the STATS FCS Top 25. This past season, Torbush and the Buccaneers opened up their brand new on-campus home at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium where ETSU defeated Limestone, Mercer, Robert Morris and VMI. ETSU sold out three of its six home games this past season and ranked sixth among FCS schools in percent of stadium capacity.

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