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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2011 9 years ago

Rollins returns to the gridiron

by: Isaac Babcock Managing Editor

Sixty-two years ago, Rollins College played its last football game. In a few months, Jeff Hoblick hopes to lead the Tars back onto the field.

"We feel like it'd really unite the school," Hoblick, the Rollins College Football Club's new president, said.

He's been slowly building a team for the last two months, growing a group of players, numbering more than 20, who practice every Sunday.

They even have a new coach on the way — Marty Dickinson, who has coached for the Winter Park Tigers and Bishop Moore.

"He has a lot of great connections with Rollins alumni, and works well with younger players," Hoblick said.

Now the team is looking to make the leap into the 21st century. For Rollins, that leap will have to bypass most of the history of organized American football. The last time somebody slapped on pads for the Tars’ blue and white, the helmets were made of leather, the pads were almost nonexistent, and the team played the likes of the Florida Gators.

Two years before the team disappeared for more than half a century, the president of the school, Hamilton Holt, canceled the Tars’ homecoming game because their opponent, Ohio Wesleyan, was bringing a black player, according to a historical article by Rollins historian Dr. Julian Chambliss.

But they’re on the fast track. The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership has already officially recognized the football club. So has the Athletic Department.

Donor Bill Caldwell has already agreed to be the first founder of the Rollins College Football Club for $5,000, Hoblick said.

Now he's hoping for more donations to get the program off the ground, while the players work hard in spring practice.

"I don’t think we’ll have any problem with funding because Rollins is so prestigious and has so many successful alumni," Hoblick said.

Come early summer, he's hoping to pull another club team onto his field to play for the first time in 62 years.

"We're all trying to work toward the goal of that first game," He said.

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