Coach Kinne’s first year achievements

By James Horton

SAN MARCOS TEXAS- On Dec. 2, 2022 Texas State Athletic Director Don Coryell hired G.J. Kinne from Incarnate Word as the new head football coach of the Bobcat program, and his first regular season with Texas State ended on November 25. 

Kinne came to Texas State exactly one year ago after leading Incarnate Word to a 12-2 season in the FCS in just one year as their head coach. Moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, Kinne wasted no time trying to repeat his success. Immediately getting to work on out recruiting the rest of the state, he and his staff formed a slogan to draw more eyes to the program. 

“I came up with the ‘Take Back Texas’ slogan,” cornerbacks coach Matthew Gregg said. “Me and the d-line coach were throwing names back and forth and then ‘Take Back Texas’, I thought, ‘let me clear it with the head coach’. And then it took off.” 

With the help of things like the ‘Take Back Texas’ slogan, Kinne set off on an aggressive recruiting campaign that left him with the second newest roaster in the country; behind only Deion Sanders in Colorado. The 2023 Bobcat football team included over 50 new players that weren’t on the 2022 team, along with an entirely new coaching staff. 

Bringing a new roster together is the priority of any new head coach. Kinne’s players responded quickly to the culture he was trying to build from the moment he stepped onto campus. 

“The way we’re starting to gel together is getting to the way where it was when I was at UIW,” transfer redshirt-senior lineman Caleb Johnson said. “Last season we almost went to an FCS National Championship. I think the gelling of the team is the biggest thing I start to see coming together.” 

Reshaping a program takes time, and the number of coaches who find success in year one is small. Kinne was not bashful about his goals during the hiring process. Making it clear to the Athletic Director Don Coryell and University President Kelly Damphousse that he wanted to not only win games but bring excitement back to the program. 

“Being a head football coach is no longer about X’s and O’s only,” Damphousse said. “It’s also about the social part of it. He’s on Instagram and Twitter, and he has a great team around him that does that. He understands that being in the community is important.” 

Kinne’s work to bring attention to Texas State football paid off on Nov. 25 against South Alabama when a crowd of 15,617 fans brought the season attendance total to a record breaking 127,102 for the season. Getting people’s attention is not possible without winning. Kinne’s first season produced more success on the field than Bobcat fans have seen in recent memory. 

Finishing the regular season with seven wins, Kinne and his staff won more games than any Texas State team since 2014. After the South Alabama victory, Texas State notched a fifth home win, making them 5-1 at Bobcat Stadium for the first time 2012. 

“We believed in this room,” Kinne said. “There’s something special about playing at home. I thought we were able to put on a really good show for those guys.” 

The regular season debut for Kinne was as good as any Sun Belt Conference coach could hope for. The Bobcats were set to go on the road in week one to play Baylor in week one. Texas State was winless against the Big 12 opponent in the history of their series. But starting the season strong, Kinne brought the most impressive win in school history to Texas State. 

“That was pretty fun,” Kinne said. “Just really happy for our players and the university. This is. big-time win, beating a Big 12 opponent on the road for our first game.” 

Texas State joined the FBS in 2013 after a long history at the FCS level. Since joining the bowl subdivision, the Bobcats have failed to reach a bowl game in every season. One of the more impressive year one feats for Kinne is ending the drought and bringing a bowl selection to the university. 

On Dec. 26 Texas State will ply the Rice Owls in the SERVPRO First Responders Bowl.

Big wins, and larger crowds were the goal for Texas State football in year one of the coaching change. Players bought in from the beginning. 

Cutline: With the larger crowds, Texas State cheerleaders are constantly working to keep them engaged. With a high scoring Bobcats offense, their work was never done (photo credit: James Horton). 

It’s difficult to turn a team around in one year, but Kinne did just that. In year two, Kinne and his team hope for more. 

“The first goal is obviously a conference championshi

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