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Former Edward Waters football coach says school president wanted to fire him last year

Edward Waters College spring football begins

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Greg Ruffin confirmed to News4Jax on Monday that he was fired as the head coach of Edward Waters’ football team on Friday.

There has still not been a statement made by the school.

Ruffin says that the school’s president A. Zachary Faison Jr. wanted to fire him last year, but was advised against it because the season had been canceled amid the pandemic.

After one game this spring, a 53-0 loss to Deion Sanders’ Jackson State team, the move was made. It’s notable that the Edward Waters schedule has still not been listed on the school’s website, although some other schools have Edwards Waters listed as their opponents, including this Saturday where Erskine College is scheduled to come to Jacksonville. As far as we know, that game is still on.

The Tigers were scheduled to face Erskine twice and Shorter College once this spring. Erskine relaunched football for the first time in 70 years last week.

Ruffin also says that Faison was upset that the coach had been a candidate for the Savannah State coaching job two years prior.

“I was called in 2019 and asked to be a finalist for the Savannah State job,” Ruffin said. “So, of course, I informed my athletic director at the time, Stanley Cromartie, what was going on. I followed that protocol. I told my direct supervisor that I was called and asked to come in and be a finalist for the Savannah State job. Of course, I didn’t get the job, I actually pulled it out before they named a head coach. But ever since then, this president has been bringing that up.”

Ruffin’s record at EWC was 5-18 including the loss to Jackson State. He took over a program that went winless in 2017 and guided them to a four-win season in 2018. The following year, the program began the process of moving up from the NAIA ranks to the Division II ranks. With the transition came a tougher schedule and a one-win season.

The 2020 season never got started because of the pandemic. When the decision was made to play football in the spring, Ruffin says he was given a contract through the end of March, after the season would have been over.

“I knew at that point I was a lame-duck coach,” Ruffin said.

For the time being, defensive coordinator Joseph Carter will handle the coaching duties. He is the only remaining full-time coach on staff, according to Ruffin.

About the Author:

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.