Thomas University establishes college football program for military veterans


THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) – A new college football program is coming to the area.

According to a news release provided by Thomas University on Tuesday, its new football program will be the first in the nation designed specifically to help veterans transition from military to civilian life.

The team will serve veterans and those currently serving in the Reserves and National Guard.

Service members will be students on the Thomas University campus in Thomasville and working toward an undergraduate degree.

The team mascot will be the Night Hawks. The team is expected to enter the field in the fall of 2023.

“We see this as a win-win situation for everyone,” Stephen Ferguson, TU’s vice president for military and corporate relations, said in a statement. “We know that soldiers learn to function as a team. We will take this training and apply it to football as a team sport. It’s more than football. It’s about preparing veterans for the next phase of their lives and using football as a vehicle to get there. Meanwhile, these veterans will set an example for our fellow students on the importance of dedication and teamwork.

Orlando Mitjans, Jr. was announced as the football program’s first head coach on Tuesday.

“We are thrilled to have Orlando Mitjans, Jr. as the inaugural head coach for this exciting program.” Thomas University athletic director Rick Pearce said the TU athletic director in a statement. “Mitjans brings over 20 years of coaching experience, including positions at the Citadel and West Point. Additionally, he has completed NFL internships with the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis and the New York Jets.

Mitjans is ready to seize the opportunity to build a football program from scratch.

“I am truly honored and very excited to have been chosen as the head coach of this unique program focused on service to our military community,” Mitjans said in a statement.

Thomas University is a member of Division I of the NAIA.


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