My Thank You to Georgia Southern


DJ Cadden

Where do I start?

Three years ago, I was a clueless sophomore at a college I really didn’t want to attend. But, after some forcefulness from my parents, I joined The George-Anne.

Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

My editor-in-chief at the time, Andy Cole, trusted me, who had very little experience in professional journalism, to run the entire sports division. Three years later, I’ve attended roughly 150 Georgia Southern sporting events and written over 250 stories, something I am immensely proud of.

With my dad right by my side in Memorial Stadium, I was blessed enough to cover one of Georgia Southern football’s biggest wins in recent memory. I covered a bowl game, the firing of a head coach, the most monumental hiring in program history, a record-breaking performance from our women’s basketball team – the list goes on.

In my three years with the newspaper, I had three very different editor-in-chiefs. Andy, Eden Hodges and Vanessa Countryman helped form me into the hungry journalist I am today. Not only am I excited to see what each of their futures holds, their friendship is something I hope to carry with me for a long time.

Gina Germani was the first professor I had after switching my major to multimedia journalism. While our relationship was rocky, she pushed me harder than any other professor I ever had. While at times I may not have realized it, she made sure to get the best out of me – no matter how much I annoyed her with my procrastination.

Dr. Jennifer Kowalewski and Dr. Jeff Riley never failed to make class interesting, whether it was sports journalism or public affairs. Their constant reassurance was something that helped me get through very difficult classes and is something I am extremely grateful for.

Looking back on my time at Georgia Southern, I am eternally grateful for these people and this place. Of all possible places, I truly experienced the best four years of my life in Statesboro.

As I wade into the unknowns of the real world, I will cherish every moment, every memory and every piece of advice I have received over the past four years.

Less than two weeks after I graduate, I will be relocating to Greenville, SC to cover Clemson football and recruiting for The Clemson Insider. No matter what happens, I know that my time at Georgia Southern prepared me for moments like this, for which I am eternally grateful.

I will undoubtedly miss someone, but thank you to David Simpson, Andy Cole, Eden Hodges, Vanessa Countryman, McClain Baxley, Jake Aferiat, Alan Cole, Jack Purdy, Ryan Haley, Andrew Goldstein, Connor DelPrete, Brooks Austin, Lyndsey Gough, Josh Aubrey, Scott Watkins, Mason Mckay, Carson Hunt, Indy Cooper, Bryan Johnston, Chad Jackson, Chad Lunsford, Clay Helton, Anita Howard, Rodney Hennon, Brian Burg, Sean McDermott, Chris Collins, Gina Germani, Dr. Jennifer Kowalewski, Dr. Jeff Riley, John Youmans, Hayes Oliver, Sammy Pierre, Pierre Baptiste, Ian Blewett, Robbie Holder, Mike Anthony, Nathan Dominitz, Dean Cummings, Dr. Pam Bourland-Davis, RJ Nealon, Tristen Blocker and every source, athlete, coach, administrator I ever covered.

And lastly, if you ever read anything I have ever published, thank you for believing in me.

I am forever indebted to all of you and this place.

Hail Damn Southern and no place else.