INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- It's been a year of new beginnings at West Virginia State.
New athletic facilities are popping up around the Institute campus, the school's sports teams are ready to set sail with the fledgling Mountain East Conference and the football program sports a new coach.
The Yellow Jackets just hope the changes don't stop there.
West Virginia State has posted only two winning records in football since 1992, and has gone 3-28 combined the past three seasons.
Incoming coach Jon Anderson, 36, who worked with an NAIA powerhouse program in Sioux Falls (S.D.), looks to complete the metamorphosis at State.
"The vision that was sold to me throughout the interview process,'' Anderson said, "was that what had been done here wasn't good enough, and that was obvious through the records. But there has been administrative support and significant investment not only in football, but in all athletics that made this a very attractive job for me and for my family and for the assistant coaches who have come here with us as well.''
Anderson, who was part of three national championships in his 11 years of coaching at Sioux Falls, fancies himself much like the workers toiling on the school's new convocation center - constructing something from the ground up.
"To be able to build something was very intriguing to me,'' he said Saturday during West Virginia State's fall sports media day held on campus.
"I've been in a program that had been very successful for quite a while, and it was a great experience. We did it for a long time, and I'm blessed to have coached a lot of great athletes and worked with some great coaches. But I wanted a challenge to see if what we did there and what I had learned there through that process can work someplace else. I always think it's so rewarding when you build something and get to that level of success as opposed to maintaining a level of success.''
Anderson said there's been a lot of competition for playing time during preseason workouts, with 38 returnees dotting a roster that currently has 97 players.
"All the old guys are looking over their shoulders,'' Anderson said, "and looking at pressure from the new guys that can play. And the young kids - they're too young to know any better, so they're just going to go out and play. So that's exciting and it's also nerve-wracking and it's also frustrating, to coach as many young kids as we are in some spots.''
Running back LeFloyd Phillips, a fifth-year senior, has seen dramatic changes in the past few months since Anderson came on board.