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The hiring of Ryan Sulkowski marked a new chapter in the book of Red Raider football.
But Sulkowski is more interested in writing a whole new book.
The Coffee County Central High School administration paraded its shiny new football coach out to the public Saturday in a meet-and-greet in the CHS auditorium that drew an estimated crowd of a hundred people putting an exclamation point on an exciting week that pumped instant life into a floundering football program that has won just five games in three years.
“The moment [my wife Heather and I] walked in the door [at Coffee County] something happened and we just knew it was going to be the right fit,” said Sulkowski, who spent over an hour answering questions from the audience and shaking hands of supporters. “That spark, I just can’t explain it right now. A year from now, maybe two years down the road, you will see it. We wanted to come in and meet people. We are community people and having relationships is important.”
Sulkowski was introduced as the new Red Raider head coach last Tuesday after winning 32 games in four years and a district championship at Baker County High School in Florida. His teams won at least seven games in each of his four seasons. He also turned a winless Rifle High School in Colorado into a 4-6 team and has made college coaching stops at Clemson University, Austin Peay State University, Hargrave Military Academy and Valdosta State in Georgia.
He explained his decision to leave and come to a struggling Coffee County team.
“I get the questions of why I left college football and I left college for the same reason I came to Coffee County – quality of life,” he told the audience.
“When we were at Clemson Heather was driving two-and-a-half hours round trip to coach volleyball [and] I would go to the office for 100-plus hours a week and we would see each other about the time we got into bed. We were roommates and that is why after two years we got away.
“We are in that same position now. Baker County has been great for us; we have great relationships with the kids and the community but at the same time we found ourselves getting bogged down and that is not to say I’ll be standing here in four years says I’m bogged down. We have gotten to a point in our lives to find a place to settle down and we knew that Baker County was not it.”
The hiring of Sulkowski has certainly boosted the energy level around the football program.
“I can not wait to play for coach Sulkowski,” said tailback Cody Howes. “I wish it was August already, I know We had a lot of negative publicity this year and we are ready to begin a new chapter. These are exciting times in Red Raider football and it feels good.”
Howes says the new coach made it clear how he wants to run the football program when he met with the team on Friday…
Continue reading this story in this week’s (Dec. 18) print edition of the Manchester Times. Click here to subscribe to the print and/or full online edition of the paper or call 931-728-7577.