Football Returns to Rollins after 62-year Hiatus
By Stephen M. Combs ’66
Defending national champion Auburn University couldn’t beat Clemson in football this year…but Rollins did. That’s something for a school that hadn’t played the sport for 62 years.
Financial pressure and low enrollment forced Rollins out of football after its 1949 undefeated season. Football came back this year as a club sport, thanks to the laserbeam determination of Jeff Hoblick ’14, a sophomore who is club founder, president, and starting quarterback. The Tars finished their first season 1-1, losing to Webber International JV and beating Clemson University’s club team.
Hoblick was quarterback for three years at Winter Park High School. When he got to Rollins, he saw something missing: the electrifying school spirit that surrounds college football. When the Tars played their first game at Showalter Field, the spirit came alive, with more than a thousand spectators, including several hundred fans gathering two hours before game time for tailgate parties. The 48-17 loss to Webber did nothing to dampen the excitement.
Hoblick was motivated to start the club not just because he missed playing, but because “students, faculty, and alumni have been itching for one for quite some time,” he said. “It’s a program to make football awesome for everyone, not just people on the team.”
The club took shape early this year when player prospects, volunteer coaches, and alumni fundraisers gathered for organization meetings. They raised the needed $50,000 to pay for travel, insurance, and equipment.
Ten games are on the 2012 football schedule, including away games at Boston University and Virginia Commonwealth. The club is working on admission to the National Collegiate Football Association, which sanctions regional conferences and a national championship game. The club is also working to establish a homecoming parade and game in November of 2012.