Paine College expected to announce return of football program

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.

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