Savannah State Athletics announced the hiring of a number of new coaches and several additions to its staff ahead of the fall semester.
Head Women’s Tennis Coach Chuck Keenan had the interim taken off his title after a nationwide search.
Despite several early season obstacles, as interim head coach last season, Keenan put together a full team of players, scheduled a full season and ended up earning the program’s first Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) win, beating LeMoyne-Owen College 4-1.
Keenan comes to Savannah State from the Savannah Area Tennis Association where he served as the Community Tennis Coordinator. Prior to those positions, Keenan was the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) from 1999-2011.
He was named the Sun Conference Women’s Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 as well as the SCAD Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2008.
The football program added Georgia Southern graduate Favian Upshaw to its roster as a wide receivers coach. Upsahw comes to Savannah State from Tulane University where he served as a graduate assistant coach since 2018, earning a master’s degree in liberal arts.
Upshaw is no stranger to Savannah. As a backup quarterback for Georgia Southern, Upshaw played against the Tigers in 2014 and again in 2016. His breakout year for the Eagles came in 2015. He played in all 13 games, starting two and was on the field for 374 snaps. He completed 19 of 48 passes for 227 yards.
Upshaw was named the MVP of the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl, leading his team to a 58-27 stomping of Bowling Green in the Eagles first bowl game in school history. He helped secure the championship with a career-high 199 rushing yards on 12 carries with four touchdowns.
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Justin Vandusen added four new interns as well this semester. Zoe Lincoln, Isabel Delgado, Robert McGhee and Mark Christiani will assist Coach Vandusen during the 2020-21 season.
The Savannah State Athletics Media Relations Department also introduced a new scholarship and position within the department. The Video Coordinator/ Intern Media Relations Director position will be the recipient of the Pearson Media Relations Scholarship each year.
The position will work directly under Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations Joshua Peacock and will be charged with leading the football program’s video department, as well as assist with live streaming and video work.
For the Fall 2020 semester, the position was awarded to Mass Communications major and former football star Desmond Young. The scholarship is named after Lee Pearson, a longtime Sports Information Director at Savannah State. While studying at Savannah State, Pearson was one of the first six students to receive a minor in Mass Communications before it was offered as a major.