|Troy Trojans football|
|Athletic director||Brent Jones|
|Head coach||Jon Sumrall |
1st season, 0–0 (–)
|Stadium||Veterans Memorial Stadium|
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Sun Belt Conference|
|All-time record||554–424–28 (.565)|
|Bowl record||5–3 (.625)|
|Claimed national titles||3 (1 NAIA, 2 Division II)|
|Rivalries||South Alabama (rivalry)|
Middle Tennessee (rivalry)
Jacksonville State (rivalry)
|Colors||Cardinal, silver, and black|
|Fight song||"Trojans One & All"|
|Marching band||The Sound of the South|
The Troy Trojans football program represents Troy University in Troy, Alabama, in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, of which it has been a member since 2001. The football program joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2004. The current head football coach is Jon Sumrall. Troy has won 21 conference championships, with 6 in the Sun Belt Conference. Home games of the Trojans are played in Veterans Memorial Stadium.
See also: List of Troy Trojans football seasons
Troy University has fielded a football team continuously since 1946. Prior to that year, the team was fielded with many interruptions from 1909 to 1942. Eight years were skipped from 1913 to 1920 due to lack of participation and later World War I, while the Wall Street Crash of 1929 kept the team from playing that year.
Coach George Penton led the Troy Trojans for two seasons, 1911 and 1912. Under his tutelage, the Trojans completed their only undefeated season, a 3–0 record.
Albert Elmore was the head coach from 1931 to 1937. A University of Alabama alumnus, he is credited with changing the team name to "Red Wave" (a variation of Alabama's "Crimson Tide"). In seven years at Troy State, five of which were winning seasons, Elmore compiled a 35–30–3 record.
In 1947, Fred McCollum took the head coaching position at Troy State. From 1947 to 1950, he compiled an overall record of 20 wins, 18 losses and three ties (20–18–3) with the Red Wave, which included back to back six-win seasons in 1948–1949.
William Clipson was head football coach from 1955 to 1965. His overall record of 20–68 included a 6–3 winning season in 1964. He had previously served as football coach at Troy High School from 1942 to 1951 and head basketball coach at Florida Southern from 1952 to 1955.
On January 8, 1966, Billy Atkins was named the head coach of the Troy football team. In 1968, he coached Troy State to the NAIA National Championship and was named the NAIA Coach of the Year. Atkins finished at Troy State with a 44–16–2 record before leaving in 1971. He is the second-winningest coach in Troy history, only behind Larry Blakeney. Atkins was inducted into the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Tom Jones was hired as Troy State's head coach in 1972. He served as the head football coach from 1972 to 1973, compiling a record of 11–7–2. In addition to his head coaching duties Jones also served as the Troy University Athletic Director from 1972 to 1974.
Byrd Whigham led the Troy Trojans football program for two seasons and his teams compiled a 12–8 record in his two seasons. Whigham departed after the 1975 season.
Former Kentucky head coach Charlie Bradshaw came out of retirement in 1976 to accept the position of head coach for the Trojans, which had become the school's nickname just a short time earlier. Under Bradshaw's tutelage, the Trojans compiled a 41–27–2 record, which included three eight-win seasons and one conference championship. However, a 3–7 campaign in 1981 and a 2–8 season in 1982 ended Bradshaw's tenure at Troy State.
In 1983, Chan Gailey took over the head coaching duties at Troy State, where he led the Trojans to a 12–1 record in 1984 en route to the Division II championship. Gailey departed Troy State after two seasons to accept the position of tight ends coach and special teams coordinator with the NFL's Denver Broncos.
Rick Rhoades, previously the Trojans' defensive coordinator, was the head coach at Troy State from 1985 to 1987. In 1987, he led the team to the NCAA Division II Football Championship. Rhoades left Troy State after three seasons.
At Troy State, head coach Robert Maddox inherited a team which the previous season had gone 12–1–1, winning the NCAA Division II Football Championship. Despite this, in 1988, Troy State had its first losing season since 1982, going 4–6. The following season, the team showed little improvement, finishing with an identical 4–6 record. In 1990, Troy State improved slightly to 5–5, and Maddox resigned following a season-ending 24–23 win over Nicholls State.
Larry Blakeney became the twentieth head football coach at Troy State University on December 3, 1990. The program was officially still a Division II program, but were already approved to transition to NCAA Division I-AA the following season. He took over a program that won two national championships the previous decade, but were 13–17 the previous 3 years.
The first full year at Division I-AA, the Troy State Trojans made it to the semifinal game and finished 12–1–1, 10–0–1 in the regular season. This marked the first undefeated, regular, full season of Troy State Trojans football and they finished ranked first in the end of season poll by Sports Network. In 1995, the team improved on that record finishing 11–0 in the regular season for the first undefeated and untied season in history. During the eight seasons the team was a member of I-AA football, they made the playoffs seven seasons and won the Southland Conference championship three times and made the playoff semifinals twice.
Troy State transitioned to Division I-A in 2001. During that season they defeated three Division I-A schools, including their first win over a BCS conference school, Mississippi State. The transition makes Blakeney one of two coaches to ever take a football team from Division II to I-A (the other is UCF's Gene McDowell).
In 2004, Troy's first year in the Sun Belt Conference, Blakeney coached his team to one of the biggest victories in the school's and the Sun Belt's history after defeating then No. 17 ranked Missouri 24–14 at home, in front of a national audience on ESPN2. He once again coached his team to a victory over a BCS school in 2007 at home, routing Oklahoma State 41–23 on ESPN2
After losing the 2008 New Orleans Bowl in overtime against Southern Miss and losing the 2010 GMAC Bowl in double-overtime against Central Michigan, Blakeney would get his second bowl victory in the 2010 New Orleans Bowl, defeating Ohio 48–21.
ESPN recognized Blakeney as one of the top 5 non-AQ recruiting closers in 2009.
Troy University football began playing in the NCAA's Division I-A in 2001, became a football only member of the Sun Belt Conference in 2004, and joined that conference for all other sports in 2005. The Trojan football team made its first bowl game appearance in the Silicon Valley Football Classic on December 30, 2004, that same season, but lost to Northern Illinois, 34–21. In 2006, Troy won the Sun Belt Conference for the first time after defeating Middle Tennessee in dramatic fashion in the last game of the 2006 season in a game that is now referred to as "The Miracle in Murfreesboro". As the 2006 Sun Belt Conference champions, Troy played in the New Orleans Bowl on December 22, 2006, against Rice University, routing the Owls of Conference USA by a score of 41–17. The New Orleans Bowl victory was Troy's first bowl victory in history.
Under Blakeney's tutelage, many quarterbacks at Troy University broke school records and some national records. From 2010 to 2013, Corey Robinson broke the school record for career passing yards and is ranked No. 11 in the NCAA for all-time career passing yards with 13,477. One of his more memorable performances came the first game of his senior year when he rallied his team from a 31–17 deficit vs. UAB to a 34–31 OT win, in the process breaking Steve Sarkisian's record for highest completion percentage in a game with a minimum of 30 attempts. Robinson completed 30 of 32 attempts for a new record of 93.8%.
Upon Robinson's graduation, new freshman quarterback Brandon Silvers stepped in and set yet another national record in 2014. During Silvers' freshman campaign, he broke Sam Bradford's 2007 Oklahoma NCAA record for completion percentage by a freshman as he completed 70.5 percent of his passes (191-of-271); whereas Bradford had completed 69.5 percent of his attempts.
Larry Blakeney officially retired at the end of the 2014 season. He led the program to three Southland Football League titles and five straight Sun Belt Conference titles, as well as guided the Trojans to seven FCS playoff appearances and four FBS bowl games. Blakeney finished with an overall record of 178–113–1 as head coach at Troy. Blakeney is the winningest coach in the Troy University history and he is the 4th winningest collegiate coach all-time in the state of Alabama, only behind greats Paul "Bear" Bryant, Cleveland L. Abbott, and Ralph "Shug" Jordan.
Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown, who had served in the same capacity at Troy from 2008 to 2009, was named the Trojans head coach in November 2014. In 2015, Brown's Trojans posted a 4–8 record. Troy was ranked for the first time in the AP top 25 on November 13, 2016, they became the first team from the Sun Belt Conference to be ranked in the Top 25 and finished the year with a record of 10–3. Troy capped off the 2016 season by defeating Ohio in the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
In Brown's third season at the helm in 2017, he led Troy to a fast 3–1 start to begin the season. In the fifth game of the season on September 30, Troy faced No. 25-ranked LSU. After leading in the 3rd quarter by a score of 24–7, the LSU Tigers began to mount a comeback in the 4th quarter by scoring 14 unanswered points and trailing just 24–21 with less than 30 seconds left in the game. LSU began to move the ball down-field before having only 8 seconds left on the clock. The very next play wound up being an interception for Troy, which sealed the upset victory. The win over LSU snapped the Tigers' 46-game non-conference home winning streak, which was the longest such streak in the country at the time. Ironically LSU's last non-conference home loss came to another Alabama school UAB 13–10 back in 2000. The Trojans would wind up winning the Sun Belt title after defeating Arkansas State in a thriller, 32–25. Afterward, Troy met North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl, with Troy defeating the Mean Green by a score of 50–30. Troy's 11–2 overall record is the programs best season finish since joining the FBS in 2001.
Following Troy's record season in 2017, Brown would lead Troy to yet another 10+ win season in 2018. The Trojans began the season with a home-opener against No. 22 Boise State, in front of a Veterans Memorial Stadium record crowd of 29,612. The Trojans came up short, losing 20–56 to the Broncos, but would go on a 5-game win streak following the loss. During the 5-game win streak, Troy repeated what they had done the season before, beating another power conference team as they ventured into Lincoln, Nebraska and defeating Nebraska by a score of 24–19. In Troy's sixth game of the season, starting quarterback Kaleb Barker suffered a knee injury that kept him out for the remainder of the season. Brown decided to make Sawyer Smith the new starting quarterback for Troy afterwards. Upon suffering an upset loss to Liberty, Brown led Troy on another 4-game win streak, which included a win over South Alabama to win the Battle for the Belt rivalry trophy. In the last game of the regular season, Troy would play Appalachian State at Kidd Brewer Stadium in what turned out to be the deciding game to see who would win the Sun Belt's East division. Appalachian State would come away with a 21–10 victory over Troy, effectively knocking Troy out of the Sun Belt championship hunt. Troy finished the regular season with a 9–3 overall record, 7–1 in conference play.
Upon receiving an invite to the 2018 Dollar General Bowl, the Trojans were pitted against Mid-American Conference East division champion Buffalo, who was 10–3 on the season and was considered the favorite to win the bowl game. Buffalo featured future NFL Draft Picks in QB Tyree Jackson, WR Anthony Johnson, and LB Khalil Hodge. Despite what the oddsmakers were predicting, Brown was able to lead Troy to victory over Buffalo, 42–32. The win secured Neal Brown's third consecutive 10+ win season, and set a new record in Troy football history as the first time Troy had ever had three successive seasons with ten or more wins. It also marked three straight bowl wins for Troy.
Following the season, West Virginia went on to hire Neal Brown as their new head coach.
On January 10, 2019, it was announced that Chip Lindsey would become Troy's 22nd head coach. He was previously on staff at Kansas as offensive coordinator for less than two months before being hired by Troy to be its head coach. Lindsey came to Troy with additional experience as an offensive coordinator for Auburn, Arizona State, and Southern Miss. On November 21, 2021, Troy fired Lindsey with one game remaining in the 2021 season. He posted a record of 15–19 over three years with no bowl appearances.
On December 2, 2021, it was announced that Jon Sumrall would become the 23rd head coach of the program. He previously served as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Kentucky.
The program won the 1968 NAIA National Championship against Texas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville). Troy beat North Dakota State in 1984 to win their first Division II national title. They won their second Division II national title in 1987 after defeating Portland State.
|1968||NAIA||Billy Atkins||11–1||Texas A&I||W 43–35|
|1984||NCAA Division II||Chan Gailey||12–1||North Dakota State||W 18–17|
|1987||NCAA Division II||Rick Rhoades||12–1||Portland State||W 31–17|
Troy has won 21 conference championships, 15 outright and six shared.: 180–187
|Season||Conference||Coach||Overall Record||Conference Record|
|1939||Alabama Intercollegiate Conference||Albert Choate||7–4||4–0|
|1941||Alabama Intercollegiate Conference||Albert Choate||5–4||3–0|
|1942||Alabama Intercollegiate Conference||Albert Choate||4–3||2–0|
|1967||Alabama Collegiate Conference||Billy Atkins||8–2||3–0|
|1968||Alabama Collegiate Conference||Billy Atkins||11–1||3–0|
|1969||Alabama Collegiate Conference||Billy Atkins||8–1–1||3–0|
|1971†||Gulf South Conference||Billy Atkins||6–3||5–1|
|1973||Gulf South Conference||Tom Jones||7–2–1||6–2|
|1976||Gulf South Conference||Charlie Bradshaw||8–1–1||7–1|
|1984||Gulf South Conference||Chan Gailey||12–1||7–1|
|1986||Gulf South Conference||Rick Rhoades||10–2||8–0|
|1987||Gulf South Conference||Rick Rhoades||12–1–1||8–0|
|1996||Southland Conference||Larry Blakeney||12–2||5–1|
|1999†||Southland Conference||Larry Blakeney||11–2||6–1|
|2000||Southland Conference||Larry Blakeney||10–2||7–0|
|2006†||Sun Belt Conference||Larry Blakeney||8–5||6–1|
|2007†||Sun Belt Conference||Larry Blakeney||8–4||6–1|
|2008||Sun Belt Conference||Larry Blakeney||8–5||6–1|
|2009||Sun Belt Conference||Larry Blakeney||9–4||8–0|
|2010†||Sun Belt Conference||Larry Blakeney||8–5||6–2|
|2017†||Sun Belt Conference||Neal Brown||11–2||7–1|
The Sun Belt Conference began divisional play in 2018, with Troy being in the Sun Belt's East Division. Troy has won 1 divisional championship.
|Year||Division||Coach||Overall Record||Conference Record||Opponent||CG Result|
|2018†||Sun Belt East||Neal Brown||10–3||7–1||N/A lost tiebreaker to Appalachian State|
Since moving up to FBS, Troy is 5–3 all time in bowl games with the Trojans' latest bowl win in 2018.
|2004||Larry Blakeney||Silicon Valley Football Classic||Northern Illinois||L 21–34|
|2006||Larry Blakeney||New Orleans Bowl||Rice||W 41–17|
|2008||Larry Blakeney||New Orleans Bowl||Southern Miss||L 27–30|
|2009||Larry Blakeney||GMAC Bowl||Central Michigan||L 41–44|
|2010||Larry Blakeney||New Orleans Bowl||Ohio||W 48–21|
|2016||Neal Brown||Dollar General Bowl||Ohio||W 28–23|
|2017||Neal Brown||New Orleans Bowl||North Texas||W 50–30|
|2018||Neal Brown||Dollar General Bowl||Buffalo||W 42–32|
Troy made seven appearances in the I-AA/FCS playoffs from 1993 to 2000. They had a 5–7 record.
|Stephen F. Austin
|1994||First Round||James Madison||L 26–45|
|1995||First Round||Georgia Southern||L 21–24|
|1998||First Round||Florida A&M||L 17–27|
|2000||First Round||Appalachian State||L 30–33|
Troy made three appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs, winning the national championship twice.
Championship (Palm Bowl)
North Dakota State
In their time in the NAIA, the Trojans played once in the playoffs, having a record of 2–0, with one NAIA national championship.
Championship (Champion Bowl)
When Troy was a member of the Alabama Intercollegiate Conference (which not affiliated with an athletic organization such as the NCAA), they played in the inaugural Paper Bowl in Pensacola, Florida in 1948.
|1948||Paper Bowl||Jacksonville State||L 0–19|
Head coach list from the 2018 Media Guide.
|J. W. Campbell||1921-1923||12–13–1||.481|
|Ross V. Ford||1924||2–1–4||.571|
Main article: South Alabama–Troy football rivalry
Troy has an annual intra-conference rivalry with in-state foe South Alabama, known as the Battle for the Belt. The two schools first met on the gridiron in 2012, and have played every year since. Even though both schools are in separate divisions in the Sun Belt Conference, they have a protected rivalry and play each other annually. The rivalry is in Troy's favor 7–3.
Main article: Troy-UAB football rivalry
Troy and UAB have met a total of 12 times. Both teams met fairly consistently until the shuttering of UAB's football program in 2014. UAB has since resurrected their football program. The teams are scheduled to renew their rivalry in 2028. Troy holds the series lead, 7–5.
Main article: Battle for the Palladium
Troy's rivalry with Middle Tennessee, now dormant following Middle Tennessee's 2013 move to Conference USA, is known as the Battle for the Palladium. Troy and Middle Tennessee first played each other in 1936, but it wasn't until 2003 that the schools started playing annually for the Palladium Trophy.
Main article: Battle for the Ol' School Bell
When Troy was a member of Division I-AA in football, they played Jacksonville State almost annually in the Battle for the Ol' School Bell rivalry. The idea for a school bell trophy stemmed from the two schools' common origins as teachers' colleges from the late 1800s to the 1930s. The last meeting between Troy and Jacksonville State was in 2001, with Troy (then known as Troy State) winning 21–3.
Main article: Veterans Memorial Stadium (Troy University)
Larry Blakeney Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium is nicknamed "The Vet" and has a seating capacity of 30,000. The stadium was originally dedicated to the Troy State Teachers College students and Pike County residents who had died in World War II. The stadium solely consisted of a small, 5,000-seat grandstand on the west side of a running track, and was built into the natural slope of the ground. It was expanded several times, including the addition of upper deck in 1998 that brought capacity up to 17,500, until receiving a large addition of seating in 2003 which expanded the capacity of the stadium to 30,000. After the addition of the north endzone facility in 2018, the capacity once again expanded to 30,402.
The north endzone facility at the stadium is the largest featured end zone facility in the Sun Belt Conference and features a 3,150 sq.ft. Daktronics 15HD video board, which is also the largest in the conference, and the 6th largest among Group of Five schools.
Before each Troy home football game, hundreds of Troy fans and students line University Avenue on campus to cheer on the team as they march with the Sound of the South band and cheerleaders from the Quad to Tailgate Terrace, surrounded by fans who pat them on the back and shake their hands as they walk toward Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Before each home game, the Sound of the South marching band performs a pre-game show on University Avenue in between all of the tailgating areas before the Trojan Walk begins.
During the pre-game show at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Sound of the South will perform what is known as the "Trojan Fanfare." The band will line up around the concourse of the stadium, from the east side, to the south side, to the west side, and begin to play the "Trojan Fanfare". They later run down the steps around the stadium toward the field, and get into formation on the field to begin pregame. It is a favorite among most fans and energizes the fanbase leading up to kickoff.
One of the more popular traditions of gameday, during the pre-game show the band marches onto the field to prepare for the football team to run out of the gates. The band falls silent, and the announcer then recites the phrase from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Fans in the stadium will yell out "Havoc!" in unison along with the announcer before the last line of the phrase:
And so, with mighty warriors clad in strongest armor
and well prepared to receive the lot dealt by fate
the contest is at hand.
And the commander's spirit, ranging for revenge
shall in a monarch's voice cry, 'Havoc!'
and let slip the dogs of war.
The phrase "Havoc!" is also used as a motto or battle cry among Trojan fans.
After Troy wins a home game, the players will go to the corner of the stadium where the Sound of the South marching band is and will sing the fight song, alma mater, and sometimes do chants with them.
There is also a post-game band show after every home football game, where the Sound of the South marching band sets up to perform on the football field in the south endzone, and performs a final show for all remaining fans still in attendance.
Before every game and after every touchdown, the Trojan Warrior or Trojan Princess would blaze down the football field on a horse named "Big Red." This tradition is no longer used because the football field turf was changed from grass to artificial grass.
Since 2001 when Troy joined the FBS, the Trojans have not finished a season ranked in the Top 25.
Troy spent one week ranked in the AP Poll in 2016, debuting at No. 25 after defeating Appalachian State and having a record of 8–1. Troy is the first football program in the Sun Belt Conference's history to be ranked in the Top 25 in either the AP Poll or the Coaches' Poll.
|Year||Record||Sports Network Rank||USA Today/ESPN Rank|
|1996||12–2||No. 4||No. 12|
|1998||8–4||No. 11||No. 13|
|1999||11–2||No. 6||No. 6|
|2000||10–2||No. 9||No. 3|
|Year||Record||Committee Poll||AP Poll||UPI Coaches' Poll|
|1968||11–1||No. 11||No. 7|
|NFL Draft selections|
Announced schedules as of June 26, 2020.
|Army||Western Kentucky||Florida A&M||Nicholls State||at Mississippi State||Mississippi State||Southern Miss||at Southern Miss||UMass||Army||UAB||at UAB|
|Alabama A&M||Stephen F. Austin||Southern Miss||Memphis||at Missouri||at UMass||at UAB||UAB||at Army|
|at Western Kentucky||at Army||at Memphis||at Clemson||NC State|
|at Ole Miss||at Kansas State||at Iowa||at Clemson|
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)