Sports With Walter Moore

SSU Parts Ways With Football Coach

Savannah State University and head football coach Erik Raeburn parted ways on December 7, 2018.

In a statement released by the university, it said that Raeburn has been relieved of his duties as head football coach, effective immediately.

“We thank Coach Raeburn for his three seasons of service at the helm of the football program and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” interim athletics director Opio Mashariki said.

Raeburn became SSU’s 25th head football coach in 2016 and compiled an 8-23 record over the span of three seasons. The Tigers finished 3-7 in 2016, 3-8 in 2017 and 2-8 in 2018.

Raeburn came to SSU from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind. where he served as the head coach from 2008-2015.

The termination comes about three weeks after the Tigers footballseason ended.

Although SSU won just two games in 2018, the season produced two all conference players (Stefen Banks and Mulik Simmons) and a defensive unit that is currently ranked third in the nation in pass defense and 19th in total defense. Sophomore return specialist Jamichael Baldwin is currently ranked 24th in the nation in combined kick return yards.

Erik Raeburn
Erik Raeburn

The year before Raeburn arrived, the Tigers averaged 15.4 points a game while giving up 43.6. In his three years, SSU’s defensive numbers improved. Savannah State gave up 30.8 points a game in his first year, 31.5 points in his second year and 29.3 points a game in 2018. The Tigers best offensive year under Raeburn was in 2017 when SSU averaged 19.5 points and 270.8 yards per contest.

Raeburn, 47, was hired at Savannah State with a salary of $125,000 per year, taking over a program that has not had a winning season since 1998 when Daryl McNeil posted a 7-4 mark.

When you hear the phrase ‘one and done’ you think of college basketball players who leave school early for the NBA. When you hear ‘two and done’, SSU football coaches come to mind.

Raeburn and Earnest Wilson both last three seasons at SSU while eleven men who came before them were not as fortunate.

Steve Davenport went 2-20 in his two seasons, Julius Dixon was 1-10 in his only season, Robby Wells was 7-15 in his two years, Theo Lemon won three of his 21 games in his two years, Richard Basil lasted a year and a half and went 2-26, Ken Pettiford was 1-14 in his year and a half, Bill Davis was 4-15 during his second go round before he passed away and Steve Wilks went 5-6 in his lone season. The only two coaches who had winning campaigns in their two seasons were Wendell Avery who posted a 13-8 mark from1995-96 and Joe Crosby who put together a 13-6-2 record from 1993-94.

Including Raeburn, SSU has now lost five members of its 2018 football staff since the start of December.

Offensive coordinator/ offensive line coach Bill Rychel was hired as head football coach at St. Thomas University, a NAIA program in Miami, Florida. Running back coach Nathan Scola and tight end coach Tony Neymeiyer followed Rychel to St. Thomas while safeties coach Paul Humphries resigned due to personal reasons.

Defensive coordinator/ linebacker coach Shawn Quinn has been named the Tigers interim coach.

Quinn, who was hired by Raeburn in February 2018, will lead a skeleton staff which includes wide receiver coach/recruiting coordinator Russell De- Masi, defensive line coach Paul Sims and cornerback coach Glenn Davis.

Quinn came to Savannah State from The Citadel where he served as a defensive analyst for the 2017 season. Before that, he was the assistant head coach/ defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Tennessee Tech (2016-17).

A native of Chicago, Quinn has also coached at Western Carolina, Charleston Southern, Northwestern State, Georgia Southern, Louisiana Lafayette, Tennessee and Louisiana State.

Quinn has coached or recruited a number of NFL players, most notably Jason Whitten (Dallas), Tyson Jackson (Atlanta), Darius Eubanks (Tampa Bay), Jeremy Lane (Seattle), Antwoine Williams (Minnesota) and Edwin Jackson (Indianapolis).

A four-year starter along the defensive line at Carson-Newman College, Quinn was an All-South Atlantic Conference (SAC) selection, helping the Eagles claim four conference championships. He graduated with a degree in history and political science in 1995 before earning a master’s degree from Lincoln Memorial University.

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