Troy opens the 2022 Trojan Tour

Published 11:15 am Monday, May 16, 2022

Troy University Athletics opened its annual Trojan Tour with a special kickoff on Tailgate Terrace ahead of Troy’s baseball game with Coastal Carolina on Saturday.

Troy football coach Jon Sumrall, men’s basketball coach Scott Cross, women’s basketball coach Chanda Rigby, and Troy Athletic Director Brent Jones mingled with Trojan fans at a BBQ lunch before the four took questions and spoke about their upcoming seasons at an event hosted by the “Voice of the Troy Trojans” Barry McKnight.

Troy baseball coach Skylar Meade, just a few hours ahead of his team’s game with Coastal Carolina, also stopped by to speak to the fans briefly.

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“Our guys have maxed themselves out,” Meade said about his team. “Our guys for all 40 games have put incredible effort in. We have guys that have been outfielders for five years and are now pitching in their sixth year.

“We have guys that have never seen innings (pitching) that are up to 30 now. There’s a reason for that, they sell out because of the fact that they want to be successful but also because they’re so proud to wear that ‘T’ and to be a Troy Trojan.”

Rigby said that the annual Trojan Tour is her second favorite time of year.

“We get to connect with fans and deepen the relationship we’ve already built with our fans,” Rigby said of the Trojan Tour. “It’s also a time to create new fans, as well.”

Sumrall, Rigby and Cross all talked about their teams and the upcoming seasons, including what their next few months looks like.

“Our staff is hard at work recruiting, recruiting never stops,” Sumrall emphasized. “If you’re not recruiting, you’re going to get beat.”

Along with summer workouts and camps, Rigby pointed to a new mental health initiative her team is taking part in.

“We’re going to be proactive with mental health,” she said. “We’re doing something that’s called the ‘Joy Project,’ where we meet every day and we come together and learn something new about building joy in our lives.

“We start with gratitude and go from there. We learn everything we can to make ourselves more joyful because we think that will make us bigger and stronger women and help us win more championships, too.”

The coaches also spoke in depth about the changing world of college athletics, including the transfer portal.

“It changes every single year it seems like,” Cross said. “Today’s athletes, with NIL and the transfer portal, there’s not as much loyalty as there used to be. Each year you’re almost coaching a completely different team.

“Back (when I started) you had your guys and you had them pretty much for four or five years and that was a way a mid-major program, by the time those guys got to be seniors, really had a chance to knock off some of the big boys. The climate now, with the way things are, you have a one or two-year window to make a run, unless you’re Coach Rigby and can pull it off every year, of course. It definitely has its challenges but we have to adapt and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Sumrall emphasized that when recruiting athletes he’s looking for players that fit the culture of Troy football team.

“I tell kids that if you’re looking for ‘big city, bright lights’ then I don’t want you anyway,” he emphasized. “I want kids that love the college environment and love playing football at the highest level and love getting better every day. We’re looking for unique kids that fit the culture of our program.”

Jones mentioned that in the coming years Troy student-athletes would have more opportunities to see more of the world. He announced that the Troy golf team will be traveling to the Bahamas for a tournament, while the men’s basketball team will head to Costa Rica for a tournament, as well. He said that more announcements of foreign trips will be coming, too.

“We want them to have the best experience possible,” Jones said of Troy’s athletes. “We want them to graduate with a championship ring in one hand and a diploma in the other.”

The Trojan Tour continues throughout the summer, including with a stop in Enterprise on June 21. For more information on all the stops of the Trojan Tour, visit https://tinyurl.com/2vb5jakn.