A new era has begun at Buccaneer Field.
This morning Charleston Southern University introduced Autry Denson as the team’s fifth head coach in school history.
“I’m so excited to get to work. I’m so excited to be here. This is God-ordained and I told the guys earlier I chose to be here. God picked me for this position. My wife came here last week and said ‘this is you, you love the heavy listening’ and I said yes I do,” says Denson.
While today marked his first day with the media, his discussions with the team’s players came before that.
He shared his initial message to the team as he begins the job.
“There are very few times in life, very rare opportunities where you have a chance to do something that approaches the status of legendary and I feel that today, right now, that is the time we have here at Charleston Southern. We have a chance to do something that has not been done both on and off the field,” says Denson.
Denson is largely known for his time as a running back at Notre Dame from 1995-1998.
He started his coaching career at Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton, FL.
Denson then went onto become a Running Backs Coach for Bethune Cookman, followed by the University of South Florida, University of Miami (Ohio), and most recently at his alma mater Notre Dame.
When asked about if there is a culture shock between the bright lights and facilities of the Fighting Irish to here in the Lowwcountry, Denson said he doesn’t need much to get the job done.
“I mean I got a football building, right? We got weights. We got a football field and they’re going to roll it out and we’re going to line it up and play so we have what we need. All of the other stuff is just wants, that’s just the fluff. The people that are in place here, we have everything we need so I just go back to being me,” says Denson.
The hiring marks his first job as a head coach.
“There is just something special about Autry as you can see he’s got a magnetic personality. He’s just got something about him. What you see in Autry Denson is real. He is not faking. I’ve talked with Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier, Lou Holtz, Brian Kelly of course, on and on and everybody said the same thing: he is one of the best people you will evert meet,” says Athletic Director Jeff Barber.
Even though he is new to the area, Denson has heard of the rivalry between CSU and The Citadel and says he would like to keep the yearly matchup in place.
“I’m an old Florida State fan, grew up a Bobby Bowden fan, and one of the things I love about Bobby Bowden was he said he would play anyone, anywhere, anytime. So we would love to continue any tradition, obviously I come from a place that has a ton of tradition but I kind of leave that upto Mr. Barber and I mean if they’re on the schedule it’s like let’s line ’em up, let’s go,” says Denson.
Denson coached in the Cotton Bowl against Clemson on December 29th which made the hiring process delayed a bit longer than other coaching vacancies in the nation.
Although there is a bit of a late start to recruiting, Denson says it won’t have too much of an effect.
“The young men that we are supposed to have in this program, we’ll still have an opportunity to get them and so there is still more than enough time on the clock. We just have to hit the ground running and just trust the process that the young men that we are going to be in our program, we still have time to go out and get them,” says Denson.
Denson’s coaching debut will come on the road at Kennesaw State on October 12th.