Troy University Football: From Club Sport to Bowl Victories

Troy University Football's evolution from its humble beginnings as a club sport in 1909 to its recent string of bowl victories is a testament to the program's resilience and enduring success.

From its inaugural game against Luverne High School to its triumphant NAIA National Championship win in 1968, the team has navigated challenges and milestones with unwavering determination.

The transition to Division I competition and subsequent dominance in the Sun Belt Conference underscore the program's sustained excellence.

Recent coaching changes and a resurgence in performance, culminating in a conference championship and Cure Bowl victory in 2023, further solidify Troy University Football's position as a formidable force in collegiate athletics.

Key Takeaways

  • Troy University football began as a club sport in 1909 and was initially known as the Teachers.
  • The team experienced success in the NAIA, winning the national championship in 1968 and 1987.
  • Troy successfully transitioned to Division I-A in 2001 and joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2004.
  • The team has had recent success under coach Jon Sumrall, winning the conference championship and the Cure Bowl in 2023, with successful seasons in recent years.

Early Years and Origins

In 1909, Troy University football began its journey as a club sport, initially known as the Teachers, and played its first game against Luverne High School.

The early years were marked by challenges and growth, with the team facing financial limitations that led to the suspension of the football program in 1929.

However, in 1931, under the guidance of coach Albert Elmore, the team was revived, setting the stage for its eventual success.

Notably, the historical significance of Troy's rivalry with Jacksonville State College began in 1924, marking the start of a long-standing and intense competition.

This rivalry would come to shape the identity and competitive spirit of the Troy University football program, showcasing the team's determination and resilience in the face of formidable opponents.

Rise to National Championships

The Troy University football team gradually rose to national prominence, culminating in two NAIA national championships. The rise to success was fueled by strategic coaching strategies that propelled the team to victory.

In 1968, under the guidance of a skilled coaching staff, Troy University clinched its first NAIA National Championship. This triumph served as a testament to the team's dedication and the effectiveness of the coaching strategies implemented.

Nearly two decades later, in 1987, the Trojans secured their second national championship, further solidifying their standing in collegiate football. The coaching strategies employed during this period played a pivotal role in shaping the team's success and establishing Troy University as a force to be reckoned with in the football arena.

These victories were pivotal milestones that showcased the effectiveness of the coaching strategies and the team's relentless pursuit of excellence.

Transition to Division I

Troy University's transition to Division I marked a significant milestone in the evolution of its football program. The move to Division I presented both challenges and benefits. While it meant increased competition and higher expectations, it also provided the opportunity for greater exposure and enhanced recruitment prospects.

The impact of this transition on recruitment and program growth was substantial, attracting more talented athletes and elevating the overall caliber of the team. The decision to move up to Division I-A in 1999 was a pivotal moment that shaped the future trajectory of the program. It not only raised the level of competition but also positioned Troy University to establish itself as a formidable force in college football, setting the stage for the team's subsequent successes in the Sun Belt Conference and in bowl games.

Sun Belt Conference Dominance

Amidst the landscape of collegiate football, Troy University's football program has asserted its dominance within the Sun Belt Conference in recent years.

Sun Belt Conference Dominance

  1. Conference Expansion: Troy's entry into the Sun Belt Conference in 2004 marked the beginning of a new era for the program. The expansion provided a platform for the team to showcase its prowess at a higher level of competition.
  2. Rivalry Intensification: The move to the Sun Belt Conference intensified existing rivalries and sparked new ones, igniting a competitive fire within the team. Notable rivalries with conference teams have further fueled Troy's drive for dominance and success.
  3. Consistent Title Contention: Troy's consistent presence at the top of the Sun Belt Conference standings has solidified its status as a force to be reckoned with. The team's tenacity and skill have propelled them to contention for conference titles year after year.
  4. Bowl Victories: The program's dominance within the Sun Belt Conference has translated into remarkable success on the national stage, culminating in notable bowl victories and a strong presence in postseason play.

Troy University's football program has truly left an indelible mark on the Sun Belt Conference, setting a standard of excellence and competitive spirit within the collegiate football landscape.

Recent Success and Coaching Changes

In the last decade, Troy University's football program has achieved remarkable success and undergone significant coaching changes. Neal Brown, the former offensive coordinator, made a profound impact, leading the team to a top-25 ranking and three consecutive bowl victories.

However, after Brown's departure, Chip Lindsey took over as head coach but struggled to maintain the same level of success.

In 2022, Jon Sumrall was hired as head coach, and under his leadership, the team experienced a resurgence. In 2023, Troy won the conference championship and the Cure Bowl, showcasing a remarkable turnaround.

Recent years have seen the team achieve impressive records of 11-2, 10-3, and 12-2, cementing their status as a force to be reckoned with in college football.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Specific Challenges and Obstacles That Troy University Football Faced During Its Transition From Club Sport to Division I?

During the transition to Division I, Troy University Football faced challenges in funding, recruiting, and infrastructure, hindering its evolution. The rivalry with Jacksonville State College had a significant impact, yet the team overcame obstacles to achieve success.

How Has the Rivalry With Jacksonville State College Evolved Over the Years and What Impact Has It Had on the Team's Success?

The rivalry with Jacksonville State College has evolved from early matchups to a significant influence on team dynamics and success. Historical matchups have fueled competitive spirit, driving the Trojans to elevate their performance and achieve notable successes.

What Were Some of the Key Factors That Contributed to Troy University's Successful Seasons With Records of 11-2, 10-3, and 12-2 in Recent Years?

The key factors contributing to Troy University's recent successful seasons with impressive records of 11-2, 10-3, and 12-2 include exceptional team chemistry, an astute coaching staff, effective recruitment strategies, and a focus on player development.

Can You Provide Insight Into the Decision-Making Process Behind the Coaching Changes, Including the Hiring of Jon Sumrall as Head Coach in 2022?

The decision to hire Jon Sumrall as head coach at Troy University Football in 2022 was based on strategic assessment of the program's transition challenges, Division I obstacles, and the need for sustained success. The coaching changes reflect a commitment to the program's evolution and a quest for excellence.

What Are Some Notable Moments or Standout Performances in Troy University Football's History Against Ranked Opponents?

Troy University Football has showcased standout victories and memorable performances against ranked opponents, exemplified by their triumphs over Mississippi State University in 2001, and the team's consistent ability to compete and succeed on a national stage.


In conclusion, Troy University's football program has evolved from its humble beginnings as a club sport to become a powerhouse in collegiate athletics. With a rich history of national championships, successful transitions, and recent coaching changes, the team continues to make strides towards even greater success.

As the program looks ahead to the future, fans and supporters can anticipate even more thrilling victories and continued excellence on the gridiron.

Our Reader’s Queries

Is Troy University a d1 school?

Troy University Athletics is part of the NCAA and competes at the Division I-A level.

What NFL player went to Troy University?

LB Anthony Henton was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 9th round of the 1986 NFL Draft. WR Jerrel Jernigan was picked up by the New York Giants in the 3rd round as the 83rd pick in the 2011 draft. CB Marcus Jones joined the New England Patriots as the 85th pick in the 3rd round of the 2022 draft. And there are 40 more players to check out.

Has Troy football ever been ranked?

On December 3, 2022, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, the Trojans triumphed over Coastal Carolina with a score of 45-26, securing their seventh Sun Belt Conference Football championship. The very next day, Troy earned the impressive national ranking of #24 by the College Football Playoff Committee.

Has Troy ever won a bowl game?

Troy has conquered the past five bowl games since 2010, the second-longest winning streak in the nation after Minnesota and on par with Georgia. The Trojans have secured 23 victories since the beginning of the 2022 season, placing them fourth in the country. Their total of 69 wins since 2016 ranks 15th nationally.

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