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Coastal Carolina University celebrates offensive-defensive line blocking drills during practice. The first home game is slated for 3 p.m. at Brooks Stadium with Eastern Michigan on Aug. 31. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

When Coastal Carolina kicks off the season at home against Eastern Michigan on Aug. 31 at the newly expanded Brooks Stadium, a new chapter will officially begin for the Chanticleers.

The past two seasons have been unusual, to say the least, as the Coastal football program has seen numerous changes in coaching and a stadium that keeps getting bigger and better.

After Joe Moglia stepped down as the head football coach on Jan. 18, the reins of the program were handed to Jamey Chadwell, the team’s offensive coordinator and the man who served as the interim head coach in 2017 after Moglia took a medical sabbatical. 

While Moglia is no longer the head coach, he still will be a part of the program serving as the chairman of athletics. 

“We check in with each other regularly, maybe once or twice over a few weeks,” Chadwell said. “He’s doing different things so he’s in and out of his office, but whenever I need his opinion on something, I am sure to reach out. He tries to give as much space as I need, but if there is something I need guidance on, I reach out to him.”

Chadwell, who was the head coach of Charleston Southern from 2013 to 2016 before coming to Coastal in January 2017, talked about what the past seven months have been like for him.

“I’ve been a head coach before, so that part isn’t really new to me,” he said. “And being here for the past two years, you’re familiar with the lay of the land. There is still a learning curve, but not as much because of being here. Now the main focus is instead of having to try to learn constantly about how Coastal works, I can now spend a lot more time investing into the team and try to get them to take on the personality that you want them to take on.”

With Chadwell now serving as head coach, running backs coach Newland Isaac and quarterbacks coach Willy Korn will serve as co-offensive coordinators.

Another change in the coaching lineup was former Furman defensive coordinator Chad Staggs being brought in as the linebackers coach in February, only to be promoted to the defensive coordinator position earlier this month after Marvin Sanders left for the XFL. Sanders served one season as the Chants defensive coordinator.

Defense will be one of the main focal points for this Chanticleer team going into the season. For the second consecutive year, the Chanticleers defense allowed 400 points, with four different opponents notching 40 or more 

Before 2017, the Chanticleers had allowed only 400 points in a season once – in 2013, which saw the Chants go 12-3 and make it all the way to FCS Quarterfinals. With a new defensive coordinator and a new mindset ahead of the new season, redshirt junior defensive tackle CJ Brewer is ready for Aug. 31.

“I’m looking forward to see how close we have come as a team,” Brewer said. “We have clearer minds ahead of this year and have been working on not just improving ourselves but each other as well.”

Last season, the Chants needed just one win in their final four games to become bowl-eligible for the first time in program history. The Chants lost all four games.

“We talk about how bad that felt and how that hurt our minds knowing that we should have at least won one of those games,” Brewer said. “Last season left us with a bad taste in our mouths and we’re ready to show everybody that that is not Coastal football.”

Chanticleer fans experienced another disappointing first last season — back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in program history.

Despite a difficult two years, a newly expanded 21,000-seat stadium with more amenities and options for fans of all ages is giving hope to Coastal Carolina Athletics Director Matt Hogue that the stands will be filled throughout the 2019 season.

“We want as many people in the stadium as possible,” Hogue said. “This stadium, in my view, is a structure that is here to be a permanent icon of our region and what our region has grown into for many years to come. I hope that this stadium is something that becomes a community treasure that allows people to recognize it when they see the stadium on television and say, ‘That’s Horry County. That’s Coastal Carolina.’”

Ahead of the 2019 season, Coastal is offering three new season ticket options. In the new Myrtle Beach Family Golf Family Zone, fans get two adult and two youth tickets for $179. The Tidelands Health Better for Life section is catered to Chanticleer fans 50 or older. With their $150 season ticket purchase, each seat receives a $20 concessions voucher to be used throughout the season. Lastly, there is the Young Alumni section and it is designed for alumni who have graduated within the last five years. The Young Alumni season ticket package includes a discounted price of just $100.

“We wanted to be able to have an option for anyone,” Hogue said. “With a bigger place to work with now to create those sections … these are the kinds of things that hopefully will provide an option that meets everybody’s budget and really become supporters of Coastal Carolina.”

On July 18, the Sun Belt Conference released its 2019 preseason standings, predicting Coastal to finish in fifth place of the East Division ahead of only Georgia State.

As the interim head coach in 2017, Chadwell said the Chanticleers “wouldn’t finish last” as the Sun Belt preseason coaches poll had said they would. While the Chants didn’t finish last, they still ended the year with a 3-9 record.

“I learned from that year so I won’t promise anything,” Chadwell said. “But I will say this — to our fans, our community and our supporters — the team that you will see will play with a relentless passion and enthusiasm for each other, this university and this community. I don’t know what’s going to be on the scoreboard, but what I do know is that you will witness a team that will never give up, never quit and a team that will fight for each other.”

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