Football is making its return to Centenary College, President Christopher L. Holman announced Wednesday, November 10, in a landmark moment for Centenary Athletics.
“For more than 120 years, athletics has been an important part of the student experience at Centenary College,” said Holoman at a morning event at the College’s Mayo Field. “We haven’t played football here for quite some time, but the wait is over. Today, I am so excited and proud to announce that Centenary will be bringing college football back to Shreveport-Bossier City.”
Centenary’s previous football history began with the Gents’ first game in the fall of 1894 and ended in November of 1941, with a brief attempted revival in the 1960s. More than 50 years later, the decision has been made to bring the sport back with an expected initial season set for Fall 2024. Applications to join a conference will begin immediately and the search for a head coach is underway. A hire is expected to be made in early 2022.
“With the growing enrollment within the department of Athletics, we have an opportunity to add college football to the arsenal of athletic programs and expand the reach of supporting successful opportunities for future Centenary student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics and Recreation David Orr. “Additionally, this is an opportunity to engage the Shreveport-Bossier City community with Centenary College, through arguably the most community- engaged sport: football.”
“Centenary College is one of the best kept secrets in the region,” continued Orr. “Centenary provides not only an exceptional platform for students to rise in the community as successful professionals, but also provides opportunities for growth in all aspects of our students’ future lives. Centenary Athletics works to equip student-athletes for success in their futures.”
Centenary is currently a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference for all sports except women’s gymnastics (Midwest Independent Conference) and men’s lacrosse (Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference). The athletic department features 19 varsity squads and one club team.
Board of Trustees chairman Archer Frierson spoke about the board’s support for this new initiative.
“We are very excited about the future and believe that this decision will result in positive growth all across the College, not only in athletics,” said Frierson. “As a former college football player, I understand that having a football team playing on campus generates excitement and brings the community together. I am grateful for the work of the Football Feasibility Study led by my fellow Trustee Ross Barrett, that examined the question from all angles and did due diligence with regard to finances and other resources.”
On Wednesday, Holoman announced that Centenary has already received gifts of over $1.25 million to support the re-establishment of football. Improvements will be made to Mayo Field, current home of the Ladies and Gents soccer teams and the Gents lacrosse team, in preparation for the facility to also host the new football team. In conjunction with The College’s upcoming bicentennial in 2025, Centenary will be embarking on a number of capital and curricular projects to support students, professors, and programs.
“Today represents one of the final steps in a careful process rooted in our current strategic plan that, along other initiatives, calls for exploring new athletic opportunities,” said Holoman. “I am so grateful for the enthusiastic support that we have received from the Shreveport-Bossier City community and we look forward to hosting exciting college football Saturdays right here in the heart of the city.”