Bobby Rome II names new Central State football coach
Central State University’s intercollegiate athletics department has selected Bobby Rome II as the school’s next head football coach.
His first practice game for Central State will be at the second annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic against Howard University at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Sunday, September 6.
CSU athletic director Tara A. Owens emphasized the best interests of student-athletes throughout the hiring process.
“During our national search, we received an influx of interest from qualified candidates. After careful analysis and consideration, we believe that Bobby Rome is the right person to lead and develop our student-athletes,” Owens said. “Coach Rome has an intense passion for the sport and an unparalleled drive to succeed. Under his leadership, we believe our student-athletes will thrive on the court and in the classroom.”
Rome, a former college and professional football player, comes to CSU with six years of experience as a head coach.
“I am honored to have been selected to lead the football program at Central State University. CSU has a tremendous history and provides an excellent opportunity for student-athletes to develop and achieve their aspirations,” says Rome. “Our staff will do everything in its power to prepare our students to become successful individuals on and off the field.Our goal is to produce young men that the CSU community can be proud of.
Rome spent the last two seasons as head coach at the University of Virginia – Lynchburg. Resuming a non-purse based football program on a 44-game losing streak, Under Rome, VUL immediately showed improvement in 2018 as Rome won their VUL coaching debut against Louisburg College. His VUL team went on to defeat Brevard College and upset Fort Valley State University. At the end of the season, Rome was named the 2018 Small College Sport Report National Coach of the Year.
In 2019, the Rome Dragons opened the season with a 48-0 win over Middle Georgia State University. Rome’s lineup of seven NCAA Div. I programs have created monumental revenue for the VUL. Competing with schools with larger monetary resources and scholarship allocations, the Rome team remained competitive. VUL nearly upset Mississippi Valley State University in the Devils’ comeback, narrowly trailing 31-26 and racking up more than 500 yards of offense in a competitive game against the Morgan State University Bears.
In addition to his coaching duties, Rome has also served as VUL’s sporting director and board member. While at VUL, he also participated as a coach in the Tropical Bowl, National Bowl, FBS Bowl and Globe Bowl.
Prior to taking the VUL position, Rome worked in his alma mater as the head coach of the University of North Carolina club soccer team. A program that hadn’t competed since 2012, club side Tar Heels won on Rome’s coaching debut and went on to go 4-4.
Rome has also coached internationally. From 2013 to 2016, he was the head coach of the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia. Rome led all aspects of the program while serving as the American ambassador for the sport of soccer in Russia.
A native of Norfolk, Va., Rome was a four-year starter at quarterback for Granby High School, throwing for over 1,700 yards as a senior and leading Granby to the Eastern District title.
Rome went on to play for the Tar Heels at UNC from 2006 to 2009. Originally recruited from UNC as a quarterback, he moved to fullback in his freshman year and played in 49 of 50 games during his college career, missing just one. gambling due to illness. As a junior and senior, he played on Tar Heel teams that received invites to bowling games.
After graduating from UNC in 2009, Rome spent time in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. After his stint in the NFL, Rome was offered an opportunity to play for the Moscow Patriots in Russia, where he was the team’s star import and the only American player.
Rome will make his CSU coaching debut on Sept. 6 against Howard University at the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic in Canton, Ohio.
“Fans and opponents can expect a well-disciplined, mentally prepared and physically conditioned squad every week,” Rome said. “Our players will demonstrate an unquestionable level of work ethic as we establish a culture of healthy competition and high standards.”
Rome becomes the fifth head coach since CSU reinstated the program in 2005 under the NCAA Div. Governance II. CSU football previously competed as an NAIA program, with a brief dual affiliation with NCAA Div. II in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Marauders were NCAA Div. II national runner-up in 1983 and won NAIA national titles in 1990, 1992, and 1995. From 1997 until the program’s resurgence in 2005, CSU did not field a football team.