Georgia Southern announced Sunday that it is firing coach Chad Lunsford after a 1-3 start to his fourth season leading the program. Lunsford took over as interim coach for the last six games of the 2017 season and ends his tenure with a 28-21 overall record, including a 17-14 mark in Sun Belt play.

"After a thorough review and evaluation of our football program, I have made a decision that a change in leadership is in the best interest of our team and University," Georgia Southern athletic director Jared Benko said. "I want to thank Coach Lunsford for his hard work and the impact he has had on the student-athletes within our program. I wish Chad and his family success in the future."

Benko named cornerbacks coach Kevin Whitley the program's interim head coach. The former Georgia Southern star player is in his third season on the staff after spending more than two decades as a high school coach in Georgia. Georgia Southern hosts Arkansas State on Saturday.

The Eagles made three straight bowl games under Lunsford's direction from 2018-20 and won two of them. Their lone victory so far this season came in the season opener against FCS Gardner-Webb, while their three straight losses were to FAU, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Georgia Southern joined the FBS ahead of the 2014 season, but the program has a strong record at the FCS level with six national championships.

Lunsford spoke this week like a coach who knew his job may be in jeopardy before his team took on Louisiana.

"If the product on the field is not to the liking of our fan base, they have every right to get upset about it," Lunsford said. "We're a form of entertainment. We're a production, and that's my job. It's our job to go out there and perform for our fan base."

Georgia Southern is the third FBS program to experience a coaching change so far this season, joining USC and UConn.