JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bobby Ramsay is taking on the biggest challenge of his high school football coaching career.
Ramsay, the former Mandarin and Yulee high school head coach, accepted a job to start the program at Impact Christian Academy and build it from scratch on Friday. The Lions will begin play this fall as an independent program.
Ramsay has coached a pair of Mr. football award winners, Carson Beck at Mandarin and iconic running back Derrick Henry at Yulee’s but a challenge like this is somewhat new. Ramsay started at Yulee in the second year of its existence and said the Impact position was something he could relate to. The Lions will start spring practice Monday and have their spring game on May 13 against Hollis Christian.
“I think the main thing is being at a place where the programs and the student athletes are put first and that hasn’t been the case the last couple years,” Ramsay said.
“There’s a lot of things you have to educate them on and show them how to be successful. In that regard it felt like meeting the kids at Yulee. When the opportunity presented itself, I saw the advertisement and the ad kind of connected to me as to what I wanted to do, ultimately compete long term on the state level. I think the support is going to be very, very strong. It’s been great so far.”
Fired up to start the 11 man football program at Impact Christian Academy!! A big time program is in the making!!!Excited and grateful for the new opportunity, off to a great start!!! @JustinBarneyTV @FlaHSFootball @FloridaPrepsFB @CFreemanJAX @DuvalSports pic.twitter.com/yVN0DTqAVY— Bobby Ramsay (@CoachRamsay1) April 22, 2022
He led Mandarin to the Class 8A state championship in 2018 and went 29-27 in five seasons there but was not retained following a 5-5 record in 2021. Ramsay was the Florida Dairy Farmers coach of the year in 2018. Ramsay was 64-36 during his tenure at Yulee.
That state championship marked just the second Duval County Public School program to win an FHSAA state title. Outside of Ramsay at Mandarin, only Welton Coffey (1997) and Deran Wiley (2017-18), both at Raines, have won FHSAA state championships for a DCPS program.
Impact Christian has made a name for itself as a boys basketball program under couch Benjamin Jones, playing for a pair of state championships. But the Lions will be starting the football program from scratch.
“I’m trying to plan for all different scenarios, throw a coaching staff together and hopefully run as good a practice as we can,” Ramsay said. “I know there’s going to be bumps in the road. I may not like them when we run into them, but we’ll get through them. If the guys hang in there with us, the light at the end of the tunnel will be bright. I think working at a school with people you really want to do well for, there’s genuineness there that I haven’t been apart of for the last couple of years.”