Few, if any, football coaches know as well as Robert Emory Lamb the job that Anderson University hired him to do.
Lamb, known better as Bobby, is a former star quarterback and assistant coach at Furman, head coach at Furman and Mercer, and originator of programs at Mercer and Anderson.
Mercer hired him to build a program from scratch and lead it into the Southern Conference and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Trojans merely aspire to NCAA Division II and the South Atlantic Conference.
“Football will bring new traditions, enhance school spirit, increase alumni corrections, and for three hours on fall Saturdays, we will all cheer the black and gold,” said the new coach in his first day on the job.
Named on Tuesday to build a program that will not begin play until 2024, Lamb said it isn’t any easier than the time before, but he does have a time before. Who else can say that?
“The thing that really took place at Mercer and I expect will take place here, was not only the Mercer benefit but the City of Macon benefit. Anderson is going to benefit. We’re going to really reach out into the community to rally Anderson. I’m going to take some of those things I used at Mercer to build this program, but I’m also going to take some things that we didn’t use, that we can correct, because I’ve done it before.
“Coaching is about building relationships,” Lamb said, and not many have built more.
When you’re looking at Loretta Lynn, you’re looking at country, or so says her song. When you’re looking at Lamb, you’re looking at coaching. Father Ray, 85, is a Georgia coaching legend. At Commerce High School, Bobby played quarterback and current Furman head coach Clay Hendrix played guard. The same was true at Furman, where the two played in the 1985 FCS (then I-AA) national championship game. Lamb’s brother is a high school coach. His son Taylor was a star quarterback at Appalachian State and now coaches at Gardner-Webb. Lamb played with or for, or coached with, Dick Sheridan, Jimmy Satterfield, Bobby Johnson and Hendrix at Furman.
By 2024, Anderson will have a brand-new stadium to go with its brand-new team, populated mostly with redshirt freshmen who will have a year of practice behind them. Since the decision to add football on Oct. 11, 2019, Anderson has taken the time and raised the money to do it right, which is why Lamb agreed to take the wheel.
“When I came up here, I was blown away,” Lamb said, “because I’ve been here (on I-85) a million times. My dad lives in Commerce, Ga., and I lived in Greenville forever. I never knew what they were doing over here in Anderson. It’s amazing what this university has done, and I salute the leadership.
“Anderson University’s four pillars are great academics, great faith, great hospitality and great purpose. Our coaches will be trained to recruit the best and brightest students [who] have the same values as our university.”
For the next six months, Lamb said his goal is to build relationships on the AU campus, set up recruiting contacts and raise funds. He said he would do everything in his power to bring people together. A staff will be hired next year, and the first recruiting class will arrive on campus in 2023. All of that class will be recruited in order to have four years’ eligibility beginning the following fall.
“Sept. 7, 2024, is right around the corner,” Lamb said. “I promise you. I’ve done this before. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Go Trojans.”
At which point commenced the standing ovation at the G. Ross Anderson Student Center.