A Look Back at the Bucs: ETSU Football Timeline

Johnson City Press • Updated Sep 3, 2015 at 12:13 PM

1920 — First East Tennessee State Normal School football team takes the field. After losing the first two games to Carson-Newman and Milligan colleges by a combined 85-0,“The Normalties” go on to defeat three local high school teams to finish their inaugural season.

1932 — Gene McMurry, most successful coach in ETSU history, takes charge. In the 1932-41 and 1946 seasons, he posted a 51-29-5 record. 1935 — Athletic teams become known as “Buccaneers.”

1938 — Team wins Smoky Mountain Conference championship, completing the season with a 6-3 record.

1954-57 — Three consecutive winning seasons.

1962 — ETSU captures the Ohio Valley Conference, the second of three conference championships in school history. The Bucs compile a 7-3 record and a 4-2 conference mark.

1963 — Bucs win five consecutive games, but finish third in the OVC.

1964 — Wide receiver and punter Johnny Russaw breaks the ETSU football color barrier.

1966 — Legendary coach John Robert Bell takes the helm as ETSU head football coach and athletic director.

1969 — Bucs have only undefeated season and last conference championship in school history. The team captures the Ohio Valley Conference and caps off a 10-0-1 season by defeating Louisiana Tech and future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw in the Grantland Rice Bowl.

1977 — Memorial Center, also known as the mini-dome, opens.

1979 — Bucs have first winning season (7-4) in nine years.

1986 — ETSU snaps a 14-game losing streak, defeating Davidson 41-16.

1987 — Bucs upset Atlantic Coast Conference member North Carolina State 29-14.

1990 — After losing the season’s first five games, the Bucs upset powerful Marshall University 38-17.

1994 — With a 6-5 record under head coach Mike Cavan, ETSU compiles first winning season in eight years.

1996 — Bucs win first playoff game in school history and compile 10 wins for only the second time. The win against Villanova comes in the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. The Bucs lose the following to Montana in the quarterfinals, finishing with a 10-3 record.

1999-2001 —With coach Paul Hamilton in charge, ETSU completes three consecutive winning seasons for only the second time in Buccaneer football history.

2001 — Bucs upset Georgia Southern 19-16 for their first win over a No. 1 ranked team.

2003 —ETSU President Paul Stanton announces that he will fold the intercollegiate football program after the 2003 season. ETSU plays last game on Nov. 22, beating the Citadel 16-13 in Memorial Stadium.

2013 — New President Brian Noland announces return of football to ETSU with legendary UT Coach Phil Fulmer helping as a consultant. Carl Torbush hired as coach.

2014 — Torbush announces first recruiting class of players. First practices start in fall.

Sept. 3, 2015 — New Bucs play first game at Kermit Tipton Stadium.

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