A restart of coaching for Central State once again
Rome’s resignation follows a weekend in Fort Valley State, Georgia, where the Marauders lost 35-14.
Neither he, nor CSU officials, would go into detail on what motivated their split.
“I stepped down from my post on Monday afternoon and look forward to my next opportunity,” said Rome, who lives in Huber Heights with his wife and young son Thursday afternoon.
When asked why he left after he and his players expressed so much optimism about the future just a few weeks ago, Rome replied: “You have to ask the central state for more on this situation.”
Central State spokesman Nick Novy simply said: “The coach let us know he was going to step down on Tuesday and we had to move forward fairly quickly.”
Marauders Athletics manager Tara Owens said much the same in her one-paragraph statement about the change.
Another person close to the CSU program said Rome’s resignation was due, in part, to a situation that followed Georgia’s 625-mile long bus ride on Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Apparently some players, against the Rome directive, lingered at one last rest stop to buy groceries rather than making a quick climb back up so the tiring bus driver could take them home.
Back on campus around dawn, Rome and her coaches reportedly subjected the players to running drills in an attempt to berate them and bounce back. Then the players and coaches talked about the situation. A few players refused to run and left the team.
CSU officials became involved in the situation on Monday and Rome ended up resigning.
While Ragsdale – who was a member of the North Carolina A&T Hall of Fame – played three years in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and coached at six historically black colleges (HBCUs) – is an extremely capable substitute, the loss of Rome is a blow to CSU.
He was hired in February 2020 to replace Cédric Pearl, who had gone from 19 to 46 in six seasons.
Rome, 33, was hired by Owens and touted as the man who could turn CSU’s recent fortunes around.
After winning the NAIA national titles in 1990, 1992 and 1995, the CSU ended its program for eight years for financial and other reasons.
Since the 2005 revival, the Marauders had lost 107 of their 146 games before Rome took over.
He was their fifth head coach at the time.
When the COVID pandemic interrupted everything – CSU students were sent home in the spring of 2020, the 2020 fall football season was canceled, as were the spring drills in 2021 – Rome became the player flute of promise.
He worked daily trying to reseed the well-worn grounds of McPherson Stadium until, several months later, NFL Hall of Fame member Willie Lanier announced his Honey Bear project would give CSU close to a million dollars to install artificial turf.
Rome has brought in several new coaches and over three dozen new players. The team got new uniforms and got a new attitude.
“We’ve all signed up for Coach Rome,” veteran defensive back Malik Johnson said ahead of the opening game. “It’s going to be awesome this year.
But the Marauders, who only had 16 days of training before playing their first game on Aug. 28, were wiped out by injuries, especially on defense.
In six games, CSU allowed 215 points (35.8 per game), while scoring only 77.
They lost their two demonstration games: 20-6 to Kentucky State in the Classic For Columbus season opener, then 46-34 to Allen University, an interim NCAA Division II schedule, in Homecoming earlier. this month, the match in which their new field was unveiled.
In between, there were back-to-back losses to Shaw and Miles by a combined score of 107-4.
Rome, who had been back at the University of North Carolina and All Pro in the United Football, had a reputation for creating programs, both at the Federal University of the Far East in Vladivostok, Russia, and then at the University of Virginia, a small HBCU in Lynchburg, Virginia. ., who was leading a 44-game losing streak when he took over in 2018
His team won four games that first season, but went winless in 2019.
Then came the CSU offer. At the time, Owens spoke about the school’s national research and how perfect he was.
But now, after just six games, CSU has had to return to the dressing room, yet again.