Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Five months ago, Paine officially made waves, announcing they're bringing a college football team to Augusta for the first time in fifty years.
Wednesday was arguably the most important step in that process, the announcement of a head coach.
Greg Ruffin's the guy charged with bringing the football dream to life on the field, and it's not the first time.
Back in 2002, ruffin resurrected the Shaw College program, and that experience was huge in the decision to bring him in.
It made him more desirable for this situation and made the new coach more comfortable with what he's getting himself into.
"When I came in to interview, I had something to compare it to you know, having done it before," Ruffin said. "I was able to compare what happened twelve years ago, I was able to compare the campuses and I was able to compare the surrounding area. It's great to be the only show in town, so that made it right for me."
One of the keys for success will be getting people in the stadium. Ruffin plans to do that by effectively handling two tasks at once.
First, he wants to recruit largely within the CSRA, taking all the top talent from nearby. And with that comes friends and family to fill the seats.
Ruffin said, "We've got to be able to draw a line in the sand and convince kids, 'Hey, there's nothing wrong with being home. Your people can get a chance to see you play, and you can help something move forward."
Athletic Director Tim Duncan added, "This area is just so fruitful with potential student athletes, particularly in football, especially with the success of a Laney High, Burke County, Thomson and all the other schools in this area. It gives us an opportunity to give them an opportunity to come here and play in front of their friends and family."
With a football coach on hand now, let's take a look back at the Paine football timeline.
The Lions last played a football game in the fall of 1962, then Duncan started the process of resurrection.
The program was officially added in October, 2012, nine months after a feasibility study was announced. Now, five months later, the team has a coach.
They will play against club teams this coming fall before playing an official Division II schedule in 2014.