Former GSU coach Erk Russell dies

September 8, 2006

Erskine "Erk" Russell, former head coach of the Georgia Southern Eagle football team, has died. He was 80.

Russell was found after a single vehicle accident on Brannen Road near Cypress Lake Road in Bulloch County. Georgia State Patrol was called to the scene at 8:46 this morning, and Russell was transported to East Georgia Regional Hospital in Statesboro.

It was found that Russell did not die of injuries from the accident. The CEO of East Central Georgia Medical Center says he may have suffered a stroke that led to the wreck.

Russell served as defensive coordinator for the University of Georgia for 17 years, including the 1980 national championship season, before he was asked to restart Georgia Southern's football program in 1982. During his time at GSU, he led the Eagles to three National Titles and was named National Coach of the Year three times. He left the Eagles in 1989. That same year, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Georgia Southern, under its new coach Brian Van Gorder, opens its season in Statesboro Saturday night against Central Connecticut State. Coach Russell had addressed this year's team earlier in the week.

To read a personal remembrance of Erk Russell by News 12's Richard Rogers, click here.