Coastal Carolina kicks off season with home opener as campus sees big gains in enrollment

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CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – Successful athletic programs do really impact the university as a whole, so the 2020 football season may have just paved the way for years of financial and athletic prosperity.

An undefeated regular season, and a Sun Belt Championship later, the Chants are ready to tackle another season at Brooks Stadium, this time to a full capacity crowd and with freshmen who just can’t wait.

“Oh yeah, come on now. I mean, the football team. Look at the colors on the field too. Amazing,” says first-year student Ian Strauss.

Strauss is one of nearly 2,500 freshmen at CCU this fall. That’s the biggest class in the university’s history.

And the success of the football team last year could be one of the reasons why.

“I saw them in 2016 win the World Series and I was like, ‘Oh maybe’,” said James Goff, first-year student. “Then when my time came to pick a school and I saw them win three, four games in a row, I was like, “I like football. This is where I want to go.”

The nationwide spotlight with ESPN’s College Gameday brought the Chants back in early December.

“At the time that it came, students were finishing their college applications and they were in those deadline phases,” says Amanda Craddock, associated vice president, enrollment management.

“Obviously, I think anything that we’re getting in the press that is good press, that is getting Coastal out there on a national scale, that’s getting students to hear our name for the first time or checking out our website, and doing more research, those things do not hurt our recruiting efforts,” Craddock says.

The freshman class has a lot to look forward to as well.

Head Coach Jamey Chadwell’s contract was extended through 2027. And the CCU Board of Trustees recently approved the construction of new athletic facilities.

“What we envision is really a redevelopment over the years on that South end zone area,” said Matt Hogue, athletic director for CCU. “It’s certainly a need to help us continue to take our program farther and compete on the national level.”

University leaders believe a state-of-the-art football practice facility like this will be good for attracting top athletes.

“When you talk about the recruiting climate, which is fierce, you’ve got to have facilities that meet that,” said Hogue.

Which very well could lead to recruiting more students.

The university also just recently approved plans for a new soccer stadium. They hope to have that finished by 2023.

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