ATLANTA — Greg Ruffin faced the questions at Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Media Day and passed with flying colors.
Upon first gaze at the table of football coaches Thursday you couldn’t tell that Paine hasn’t had a program since 1962.
Ruffin carries himself with confidence, which is infectious even though he knows the road will be rough.
“I know we’re going to be everyone’s homecoming next year,” Ruffin said.
Ruffin is undeterred by the challenge he faces with a fledgling team.
“They got to be careful when they schedule me for those homecomings because I’m not putting together a flag football team in Augusta,” Ruffin said. “We’re going to play real ball, and we’ll be solid.
“People (in Augusta) love football, they leave (the area) to watch and play college football all over the South, and if we can close those borders we’ll be a program people can be proud to have.”
Paine won’t begin official play in the SIAC until 2014 but the four games against prep colleges will give fans an idea on how far the Lions have to go in order to compete next year.
“We’re going to keep the offense really simple, pro-style with two backs and playing tough,” Ruffin said. “I need to see who can play on the field, stay eligible; we’re basically going to treat this time like an extended tryout for SIAC play next year.”
Ruffin was asked how fans can gauge the progress of the program.
“There’s a motto you have to look at when you’re building a football program and it’s in four facets.” Ruffin said. “Lose big, lose close, win close, win big. If we’re losing games close in conference next year then you’ll know we’re on the right track.”
Ruffin showed his zeal when asked how he plans to attract players to a new program which could be years away from being a winner.
“I wanted to sell guys on the core values of Paine,” Ruffin said. “I want kids who want to be at Paine, I want kids who understand the historical importance of building this program not only for the school, but the city of Augusta.”