Published 10:44 pm Thursday, June 19, 2014

There was so much excitement in the air Thursday at the first Trojan Tour ’14 stop, that Troy head coach Larry Blakeney just couldn’t take it.

Blakeney, the last of five speakers of the evening pounded the podium with his fist to drive home the importance of recruiting and fundraising. He talked loud when discussing the history of Troy football. And he got even louder with excitement talking about the upcoming Troy football season.

“When you follow four great speakers (Athletic director John Hartwell, baseball coach Bobby Pierce, women’s basketball coach Chanda Rigby and men’s basketball coach Phil Cunningham) it is hard not to get excited,” said Blakeney with a laugh. “It was great to start the tour here in front of some many familiar faces. I think it was the perfect way to get this train rolling.”

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Hartwell and the four head coaches each spoke briefly about the past year in Troy athletics, but spent the majority of the night discussing the future.

Pierce talked about the task of returning the baseball program to prominence after a “very difficult” 2014 season.

Rigby, complete with a PowerPoint presentation, discussed the transition of Troy Women’s basketball over her two seasons at the helm. Cunningham talked about the future of the men’s basketball program, and Blakeney’s lecture centered on recruiting and fundraising.

Cunningham said he didn’t know a sole at any of the Trojan Tour stops a year ago, but liked looking out in the crown Thursday and seeing dozens of familiar faces.

“I think it was a great move (to make Troy the first stop),” Cunningham said. “Night in and night out, these are people you have to have in your arena to create that home atmosphere. These guys are our local fan base, and they really deserve to be the first on the tour.”