Paine College is expected to announce the return of football Friday after a 50-year absence.
Lions athletic director Tim Duncan said Wednesday that he could neither confirm nor deny what a Friday morning news conference will address.
“It’ll be good news,” he said. “It’ll be an exciting time for Paine College.”
Roscoe Williams, a Paine alumnus and former assistant to the president, said the announcement would be about restarting a football team. He said the last year of the program was 1962.
“There’s nothing like having a football program,” Williams said. “My guess is it is to regenerate some school spirit.”
He said the talks have been going on for some time.
“It’s not a spur-of-the-moment thing,” he said. “I think it’s been planned out.”
Williams said he expects Augusta to support the team, particularly if it wins.
“It’s just like anything else,” he said. “It’s going to be a function of how successful the team is.”
The Lions are longtime members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which features 10 football-playing schools. Claflin, LeMoyne-Owen and Paine are the only SIAC schools without football programs.
The high point for Paine football was from 1938-41, when the Lions compiled a 16-4-1 record. Paine fell on hard times starting in 1955, when it started a 36-game losing streak that ended three games shy of matching the national record of the day. The Lions snapped their spell with an 8-0 win over Livingstone College in 1962.