JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

ETSU celebrated its return to the Southern Conference Tuesday. School officials also told News 5 WCYB that a coach will likely be named in the next two weeks.

"We want to take our time," ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland told News 5 WCYB.

"This is a critical hire. It's not only someone who is going to be a football coach but the founder of our program."

ETSU's return to the SoCon has been a few years in the making. They left the Southern Conference after they dropped their football program in 2003. With the football program returning in 2015, the Southern Conference presidents voted them extended a bid to return.

"I think without football it would have been much harder to look at ETSU as a potential Southern Conference member," Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino said.

"We knew we were losing some schools, we had to replace them."

In another announcement Tuesday, Noland confirmed that ETSU Director Of Athletics Dr. Richard Sander has signed a one-year extension with the program.