Troy University’s annual Trojan Tour made its way to Enterprise last week with the coaches from the four major sports at the school discussing the current state of the athletic program at Troy.
New Troy football coach Chip Lindsey and new men’s basketball coach Scott Cross joined longtime baseball coach Mark Smart and women’s basketball coach Chanda Rigby on stage at the Enterprise Country Club.
Rigby and Smart discussed in detail the school’s “One Troy” slogan and commented on how both Cross and Lindsey have quickly adopted the mantra, as well.
“That ‘One Troy’ thing is genuine,” Smart said. “I don’t know who came up with it but it perfectly fits who we are and who we try to be at Troy.”
Rigby relayed a story about Lindsey during the spring that she said perfectly describes what “One Troy” means.
“We played the first WNIT game at home and Coach Lindsey and those guys are in the middle of spring,” Rigby said. “He completely changed his (practice) schedule around and had those guys in the stands there to support us. That might sound common but it’s not common in Division I (athletics). Not many coaches do that and that’s what ‘One Troy’ is.”
Smart coached his 1,000th game at Troy this past season and he said that he didn’t realize it until right before the game.
“That 1,000th game snuck up on me and I wasn’t aware of it until someone made me aware of it right before the game,” Smart said. “When I was told before the game I thought that’s pretty great but let’s go play the game because that’s what you do.
“After the game ended is when I started to think back through and I realized that it is a really big milestone and something I’m really proud of. My son, Chase, also has the record for most baseball games played at Troy, too. That’s a really nice milestone for our family.”
Rigby discussed Troy’s big win over Ole Miss this past season and said that Troy and the entire Sun Belt are trying to schedule more big games like that to try and secure a second team in the NCAA Tournament as the Sun Belt only gets one automatic qualifier as is.
“We’re trying to get our conference to the point where we get those two teams in the tournament,” Rigby said. “We had six SEC teams – two within the borders of this state – that turned us down, which I took as a huge compliment.
“We feel like the program is in great shape when you offer to play those games at their place and they decline. That just sets us on fire to get more big wins like that.”
Cross has implemented a slogan – “take the stairs” – for his team that he hopes will make his team do all the little things necessary to win on the court and in the classroom.
“‘Take the stairs’ means we’re not going to take any shortcuts in anything that we do,” Cross emphasized. Whatever we do we’re going to do the hard work.”
Cross said his team takes the stairs wherever they go on campus rather than the elevator and that even the younger players have already began to buy into the mindset.
“Some of the older guys said the new guys are already taking the stairs,” Cross said. “(Freshman) Desmond (Williams) moved in like a week ago and he said that he noticed everyone was taking the stairs instead of the elevator and asked them why.
“The older guys had to explain to him and now Dez is taking the stairs, too.”
Following the event Lindsey spoke to The Sun and discussed a number of topics, including how important recruiting the Wiregrass is to his staff.
“Enterprise is one of those communities in the Wiregrass that we want to do a good job of connecting with the fans at and recruiting,” Lindsey said. “There are a lot of really good Troy people already here from alums to former players. It’s always great to come down here and reconnect with the Troy fans.”
One of Lindsey’s first hires at Troy was former Enterprise head coach David Faulkner, who was tapped to be the new Director of Player Personnel and High School Relations on Lindsey’s staff.
“He’s been huge for us,” Lindsey said of Faulkner. “He’s coached in basically every part of this state and he’s an outstanding guy.
“He has a lot of great relationships with the coaches here and between us we probably know every coach in the state, which is huge. He’s doing a great job for our program.”
Lindsey also pointed to former Enterprise all-state offensive lineman Dylan Bradshaw as one of the leaders of the team.
“He’s a phenomenal young man and represents everything we’re about at Troy,” Lindsey said of Bradshaw. “He loves coming to practice and coming to workouts and he’s one of our leaders.
“He was voted onto our leadership council by his teammates. He has two more years to play and I’m excited that he’s on our team for sure.”
Troy has faced a number of transfers during this offseason and while Lindsey acknowledged it, he said that his attention is on the players that are still on the team rather than those that have left.
“Football is a different world today but my feelings are if you don’t want to be here then don’t be here,” Lindsey flatly said. “We have a lot of really good players on our roster and we’re focusing on those guys. We’ve recruited well here so I think we can fill those holes and sometimes you have to be a little bit creative to do that but we’re excited about the players we have.”
One big time player that Troy hopes can fill some holes and is a transfer himself is former Texas A&M running back Charles Strong. Strong is currently awaiting a response from the NCAA on a request for a waiver he submitted to hopefully be allowed to play in 2019 rather than sitting out the season.
“We haven’t heard anything back yet, so everything is still on hold there,” Lindsey said. “He’s doing great with his workouts and school, though.”
Lindsey said that after so long of talking about football, he’s ready for the season to get here.
“It feels like I’ve been talking about for a long time so I’m ready for the season,” Lindsey emphasized. “We have a lot of work to do and we need to have a great summer, which we are off to a great start with. Our guys are getting bigger, stronger, faster and using the meeting time we’re allowed right now to our advantage.”