Edward Waters head football coach Greg Ruffin, whose contract was set to expire on March 31, has been relieved of his duties after just one game of the Tigers’ 2021 spring season, athletic director Paul Bryant confirmed Sunday night to the Times-Union.
Defensive coordinator Joseph Carter will take over as interim head coach, but no further details as to why Ruffin was replaced were provided. Bryant added an announcement would be forthcoming in the next couple of days.
When asked if Ruffin had been fired, Bryant replied: “You know I can’t talk about personnel issues, but what I can say is coach Carter is now the interim head coach and we’re moving on.”
Bryant added without comment that he expected the Tigers – scheduled to debut their new on-campus football stadium on Saturday afternoon against Erskine College – to play the remaining four games of their spring schedule.
Ruffin concludes his EWC tenure with a record of 5-18 in two-plus seasons. Before arriving in Jacksonville, he had served as a head coach at Shaw, at Paine and at Texas College. He was working as tight ends coach at Bethune-Cookman when EWC hired Ruffin in December 2017 to take over from Alvin Wyatt.
Ruffin went 4-7 in his debut season with the Tigers, but EWC slipped to 1-10 in 2019. During the latter season, the school played most of its games against NCAA opposition, including Division I Southern University in Baton Rouge, as part of a plan to lay the foundation for a future move into the NCAA from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Edward Waters did not play a fall season because of the coronavirus pandemic, but kicked off a short spring season on Feb. 21. The Tigers lost 53-0 to Jackson State, a game noted as the coaching debut of Deion Sanders for the Mississippi school.
Edward Waters' most recent winning season in football came in 2004.
Carter, the newly-promoted head coach, joined EWC's staff in May 2020 after serving 12 years on the staff of Tuskegee as safeties coach and defensive coordinator. During his tenure there, Tuskegee won six titles (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2017) in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. EWC has expressed interest in joining the SIAC, which competes in NCAA Division II.