ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The 2021 Southern Conference Football Media Day took place Monday at the Amherst at Deerpark at the Biltmore Estate. All nine league coaches and Commissioner Jim Schaus were on hand to meet with the media and discuss the upcoming season, while ESPN senior writer and New York Times bestselling author Ryan McGee was the keynote speaker at the event’s luncheon.
The Citadel’s Brent Thompson, ETSU’s Randy Sanders, Furman’s Clay Hendrix, Mercer’s Drew Cronic, Samford’s Chris Hatcher, Chattanooga’s Rusty Wright, VMI’s Scott Wachenheim, Western Carolina’s Kerwin Bell and Wofford’s Josh Conklin were the coaches in attendance.
After off-site morning meetings of coaches and school and league administrators, WSPA Sports Director Pete Yanity welcomed the media, coaches, Asheville dignitaries and school personnel to the luncheon before introducing Schaus, who spoke about the excitement of returning to fall football and the strength of the league. McGee then regaled the crowd with stories of his youth growing up near the Furman campus and his affinity for FCS football and the SoCon.
Following the luncheon, the coaches were available to speak with the media in attendance in addition to rotating through a series of scheduled media and social media opportunities. Each coach, as well as Schaus and McGee, joined Yanity on-stage for one-on-one interviews that will air Tuesday on ESPN+ at 10 a.m.
The SoCon preseason polls and all-conference teams were also revealed Monday, with Chattanooga picked by the coaches and media to win the league.
Furman is picked as high as third in the preseason rankings and Wofford as high as seventh.
Samford quarterback Liam Welch was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while VMI linebacker Stone Snyder, who helped the Keydets to their first SoCon title since 1977 last season, was the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The 2021 season gets underway for four SoCon squads on Thursday, Sept. 2, with the remaining five in action on Saturday, Sept. 4.