Former UGA athlete Bohannon given chance to shine as Kennesaw State coach

There aren’t many high schools in the state of Georgia that Brian Bohannon hasn’t set foot in.

The former Georgia wide receiver has lived and coached all over the state at all levels.

“I’ve been here for a long time,” Bohannon said earlier this month at the Pigskin Preview in Macon. “I think that’s a huge asset in recruiting the state of Georgia, which is unbelievable football and coaching and the whole deal.”

He probably won’t need a map on the recruiting trail either.

Bohannon was given the keys to begin building Kennesaw State’s football program in March, and if anyone is going to construct a program from almost nothing, Bohannon’s résumé bodes well for him.

Born in Macon, Bohannon grew up in Griffin after living in Athens from ages 2 to 8 while his father, Lloyd, was a coach on the Cedar Shoals football staff.

The elder Bohannon took the head coaching job at Griffin High School and stayed there for 18 seasons.

After high school, Brian flourished into a two-year starter at Georgia. And Georgia legend Vince Dooley served on the Owls’ advisory committee for the football program and was on the exploratory committee to find a head coach for the start-up.

“It’s going to be something special if he puts his name on it,” Bohannon said.

Bohannon would soon realize he wanted to be apart of that “something special.”

After stints with the coaching staffs of West Georgia, Gardener-Webb and Georgia Southern, Bohannon settled in the ranks of Division I football. He spent six years coaching wide receivers at the Naval Academy before following Paul Johnson to Georgia Tech to coach the quarterbacks and B-backs.

The thought of becoming a head coach was in the back of Bohannon’s mind after 16 years learning from Johnson at Georgia Southern, the Naval Academy and Georgia Tech.

“This is the point of his career where he wanted to a head coach, and I think it’s a great opportunity for him and I’m sure he’s going to do a great job,” Johnson said.

But one afternoon in particular the thought wasn’t so fleeting.

Bohannon was making his way down Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw when the tall parking structures and large student housing at Kennesaw State caught his eye.

“I’m like, ‘What is going on at this place?’ And I had a chance to go to a basketball game, it’s packed. And they’re not doing very well at basketball,” he said. “I saw some unique things going on there and there’s a ton of positive energy on the campus.”

Bohannon made Johnson aware of his interest in the position, and the phone calls started.

His first meeting with athletic director Vaughn Williams was on Christmas Eve. He was hired on March 24 and has since hired six assistants and seven total staff members with the most recent hiring coming on Monday (Brian Newberry as defensive coordinator).

He has wasted no time as the Owls’ first recruits made visits to campus in late May, according to Bohannon’s Twitter account. 

He emphasized the distinction between what Kennesaw State can offer student-athletes versus other start-up programs in the state such as Georgia State.

A stadium to fit more than 8,000 fans, including 12 box suites; a locker room with space for 100 players; new student housing; 24,000 students.

“There’s just so many things there that are already in place that there’s challenges every day but a lot of things, with the good plan that’s established, it gives us a chance to show kids right now, and they’re pretty excited about it,” Bohannon said.

Bohannon has two years before the Owls’ first kickoff. And that’s a lot of time to get around his home state and meet recruits.

“They got a couple years to get their feet on the ground, and I’m sure he’s got a lot of irons in the fire right now,” Johnson said.

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