JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chief Athletics Officer Dr. Donnie Horner welcomed the third head football coach in Jacksonville University history, Ian Shields, at a press conference Tuesday at the River House on-campus.
"This is an opportunity for us to be respectful about the past, and excited about the future," said Horner. "Today we are announcing our third coach in about two decades. Three coaches in two decades is a happy thing and that speaks to the quality of this program with which the seriousness that we take football at Jacksonville University."
"Today is a special day and I'm certainly humbled and honored to be named the head football coach at Jacksonville University," said Shields. "I see this as a great opportunity professionally, a great opportunity to work with a great institution, and for my family and me to enjoy Jacksonville."
Shields spoke on his desire to win on and off-the-field, including his acronym, W.A.D.L., or "Win All Day Long".
"Our mission as coaches is simple. It is to develop young men within our program to be the best people, students, and athletes that they are able to become," said Shields. "We have four core values, the team, the ball, our style, and faith."
He also touched on what his first task was as the new leader of the program.
"The most important recruiting that I have right now is with the young men on the team that I'm meeting this afternoon. They've been through a lot, and I empathize with them having been in their same shoes years ago at Oregon State," said Shields. "Change is hard, but what they also need to understand is that change is inevitable in life. What we can do is be respectful of the past and be excited about what's happening in the near future. My coaching staff and I will put our arms around these young men and embrace them."
Horner also spoke about the future direction of Jacksonville's program.
"The President (Tim Cost) has decided and we are fully committed to playing in the Pioneer Football League for the foreseeable future and for playing non-scholarship football," said Horner.
"I'd like to thank the former and current players here at Jacksonville University and the former coaching staff for the great foundation that's in place," said Shields. "The future of Jacksonville football is extremely bright. We have a great product here, institution to sell, winning tradition, academics, and everything you could want."