Originally created 02/22/06

Spartans have new owner



The Augusta Spartans will announce local businessman Jimmy Young as the team's new owner at a news conference today, Young and American Indoor Football League president Andrew Haines confirmed Tuesday.

Young will be introduced by the team and Haines at Dudley's Dawg House Bar & Grill on Washington Road this afternoon.

Young, who owns Dudley's, and Haines were finalizing the deal Tuesday, they said.

The purchase - its details will be released today - came about through Young's interest in bringing arena football back to the area after the Augusta Stallions' last season in 2002.

"I was a big fan of the Stallions - went to every game - and I was really disappointed when they left," said Young, who also has a mortgage business. "One thing led to another, and the next thing I know I'm buying a team.

"I don't think it's going to be a big money-making thing, but it's going to be a lot of fun," he said. "It'll be good for Augusta and good for me."

Haines and the league started up several teams, including Augusta, throughout the off-season with the hope of acquiring quality local ownership. Young fit the bill for the Spartans.

"We always want a local owner, in any market we're in," Haines said.

"From the (Spartans') first press conference we made it clear that local ownership would definitely be a plus, and hopefully if everything works out, this will be a great fit."

Said Young: "I showed some interest and had some financial and business ability. They felt like if they had a local owner it would be better. It's kind of hard to run a team in Augusta from Canton, Ohio (where Haines and the league are based)."

Augusta is one of 10 expansion teams the league welcomed this off-season, growing in size from six to 16.

The Spartans, coached by former Stallions assistant coach Bubba Diggs, will play their home games at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.

They open the season March 3 at Carolina. The home opener is March 10 against Florence.

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steven.l.sanders@augustachronicle.com.