Georgia Southern to dedicate Erk Russell statue Saturday - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Fans, university to dedicate Erk Russell statue Saturday

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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) -

Derek Sills delivered an odd but iconic piece to the statue to Erk Russell, a bronze replica of a milk jug. It is inscribed with "eagle creek water",  just like the ones Russell carried as part of Eagle football history.

The statue to be dedicated Saturday outside Paulson Stadium captures Russell looking out over his players in pre-game warmups. Sills began a drive two years ago to memorialize Georgia Southern's founding football coach with a statue.

"It started with a tour of the Maryland Sports Hall of Fame. They had a statue of the University of Maryland mascot. I thought if a turtle can have a statue, Coach Russell must have one," he recalled.

Sills found donors to raise most of the $80,000 cost of the marble and bronze work. He also collected photographs of Russell and worked with a sculptor who'd done many of the statues of college football coaches across the Southeast. He settled on an image from Russell's final game.

"I thought the best would be after he pulled off his game day sweater, showing the team his original One More Time t-shirt that was by now faded and thread-bare."

Eagle Nation will debut the statue at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, timed with the arrival of the football game at the Bishop Fieldhouse prior to the 2 p.m. playoff game against University of Central Arkansas.

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