52 graduating seniors baptized in Beautiful Eagle Creek by Coach Lunsford

McClain Baxley

A new Georgia Southern University tradition was founded Wednesday afternoon with head football coach Chad Lunsford “baptising” graduating seniors in the water at Beautiful Eagle Creek.

Until Wednesday, the tradition of standing in the murky waters behind the practice fields had been reserved for senior football players, new members of the coaching staff and GS presidents.

Senior marketing and logistics major Parker Smith took to Twitter to try and change that.

“Honestly it started as a joke tweet and Lunsford took it and ran with it,” Smith said. “He tweeted back at me the same day and said let’s make it happen.”

Smith and 50 other seniors filed in one by one to take a picture with Lunsford before deciding how to make the most of this opportunity.

The seniors posed with Lunsford with cameras flashing around them. Several sorority girls convinced the head football coach to do their hand sign. Lunsford even took a moment to sign a student’s graduation cap.

“Chad (Lunsford) is an awesome guy so it’s really great that he’s coming out here, doing this for the students and starting new traditions,” senior Spanish major Avery Sirmans said.

After photos were taken, a decision had to be made about how to approach the dirt-filled water.

Some opted just for the knee-high baptism. Others chose for the belly flop.

{{tncms-inline account=”The George-Anne” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Some graduates are going knee high, while others are going all the way—like a belly flop. <a href="https://t.co/72EpzsIITu">pic.twitter.com/72EpzsIITu</a></p>— The George-Anne (@TheGeorgeAnne) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheGeorgeAnne/status/1126230694085132289?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 8, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/TheGeorgeAnne/status/1126230694085132289″ type=”twitter”}}

“Once I got in there, Lunsford was really nice about it, got in there to take a picture, he said I could dive in, so that’s what I did,” Smith said. “It’s not the best looking water in the world, but I’m definitely glad I did it.”

The baptism for seniors was another chance for Lunsford to give back to the Statesboro community.

“To be able to embrace traditions and then build on them, the students to come out, it shows that people care,” Lunsford said. “Anytime we can do something with the student body, I think that’s big.”

Lunsford hopes the baptism for the seniors won’t be a one-time thing, but an annual tradition.

“If you start something, you’ve got to stick to it,” Lunsford said. “I will have to put a little thought into if we’re going to it with the December grads.”

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Daily Managing Editor, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu