Several played a role in breakthrough season

Saturday, November 23, 2002

With the regular season complete with an overall record of 8-4 and an Ohio Valley Conference record of 4-2, I have a lot of people to thank.

It was a great turnaround season that included 28 school records and a number of firsts, including a victory over Division I-A Middle Tennessee and OVC power Eastern Kentucky.

First of all I would like to thank our players. They took a chance by coming to Southeast when the program was down, but these players had confidence and belief in me and the assistant coaches. Through commitment, hard work and diligence to turn the program around we joined together and got the job done.

I would like to thank my assistant coaches who did a tremendous job. They are the ones who do all the work and make things go. They have put in the time, recruiting and coaching, needed to get this program headed in the right direction. That has meant time away from their families and I am thankful to the families for their understanding.

It is difficult to put together a good football staff. You want people who are different with different strengths, but they all have to be able to get along. Our coaching staff this season had great chemistry and I think that helped our team have a great chemistry. The players see that the coaches get along and it really helps create the winning atmosphere that is so important.

I would like to thank the administration at Southeast for continued support of the football program even when times are tough. The new exterior at Houck Stadium has been a very visible sign for the players and the community.

The support staff, including trainer Lance McNamara and his staff, sports information director Ron Hines and his staff and equipment manager Robby Rasco and the student managers have all done a tremendous job. Strength and conditioning coach Paul Helsel has done an outstanding job in helping our players get bigger and stronger. Through private donations, we have a completely revamped weight room that benefits all the athletes at Southeast.

I am very thankful for the families of the players who entrusted their sons to us. I see the family members at games both at home and on the road and I know they are offering constant encouragement to their sons.

I would particularly like to thank our fans who have believed in me and our program since we arrived at Southeast three years ago. Without the support, we would not have accomplished what we have been able to enjoy this season.

I am excited the we now have a football program that you can be proud of.

Football is a game that provides excitement, but it also provides great exposure for our university and the community.

Our goal is to make sure this just isn't a one year success story. I think our players now understand what it takes to be successful and we want to continue to improve so winning seasons are a tradition not an oddity. I am thankful that you have stuck by me the last few years. My children and I are proud to be citizens of Cape Girardeau and I am proud to be the head football coach at Southeast Missouri State University.

Tim Billings is the football coach at Southeast Missouri State University

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