How do you actually start a D1 football team from scratch? I asked UTRGV head coach Travis Bush
How do you recruit when you have nothing to sell yet?
Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.
Back in September, I wrote that UTRGV may very well be the most interesting FCS "expansion team" ever. Starting a D-I program from the ground up is an expensive, arduous undertaking that few schools even attempt. To potentially further complicate matters, UTRGV is geographically isolated (Edinburg is over 200 miles south of San Antonio), relatively new, and spread out over multiple campuses.
Some of the hardest problems have already been solved. UTRGV students voted to support a student fee increase needed to pay for the program, something multiple other D-I schools have failed to do. Local support is already so strong that the school has sold over 1,000 season ticket deposits...for a team that isn't even scheduled to play until 2025. The team already has a conference home (the WAC), even if it isn't entirely certain what that league will look like in 2025, or whether they will be playing FCS or FBS football.
So the school has a coach, a budget, and a long-term goal. But as of today, the football staff has exactly two people...head coach Travis Bush, and a Director of Football Operations & Administration named John Simmons. John started less than two weeks ago.
So, uh, how does a program go from two people to an actual, D-I football program? What happens next?
I called Bush and asked him.
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