Middle Georgia is familiar territory to Kevin Porter and after traveling around the country playing and coaching football, he was ready to return home.
Fort Valley State is looking to build a program, not just a team, and the person they chose to build that is Porter, who was announced as the Wildcats’ head coach June 7.
Athletics director Joshua Murfree said Porter was the right choice because he best fit what the Wildcats were looking for in a coach.
“I’m excited not just to get a new coach in,” Murfree said, “but to get a new coach with the vision to do what we are trying to do.”
That vision is to have a program that is strong in football as well as academics, and Porter is ready to take on the challenge of turning the program around.
Porter’s career started at Warner Robins as a defensive back. From there, he went on to play at Auburn as a four-year starter. After four strong years at Auburn, he was selected in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1988. After six seasons in the NFL, he moved to the sideline as a coach.
He coached in the Arena Football League and af2 for eight years, starting with the Pensacola Barracudas and finished with the Kansas City Brigade. He also coached the Macon Knights
And after bouncing around a little more, he decided to make his way back to Middle Georgia.
“I am very excited about being here,” said Porter, who most recently was the head coach at Point, an NAIA program, in 2011 and 2012. “I have a lot of supporters here. I have a lot of people here that have helped me grow up, and it’s just good to get back to the community that has given me so much.”
What the community is expecting out of Porter is wins. His goal is to play championship football.
He wants to bring national attention to Fort Valley. To make that happen, he is going to need resources. Both Porter and Murfree acknowledged the resources aren’t at the level of Albany State or Valdosta State. But if Porter can get the support from the community, he thinks he can bring in the necessary talent to put his team on a national level in NCAA Division II.
He said he wants a goal of having 36 available scholarships for football. And according to Murfree, getting where the Wildcats want to be will require a little more than $400,000. The program currently has around nine scholarships, so Porter knows how much work needs to be done to reach 36.
Bringing a successful football team is only half of what Porter has on the agenda. The other half is building a foundation that his players can go through for four years at FVSU with a 3.0 GPA and 100 percent graduation rate.
“The theme in my presentation was graduating student-athletes of character and playing championship-level football,” Porter said. “We’ve got to get our young men believing that it’s not just football. They need to realize that one day it will end, and if you don’t have the tools in your toolbox, then you have basically wasted a bunch of time.”