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After 27 years, Rayburn changes colors

Posted: July 23, 2013 - 11:07pm
Burt Rayburn, who won the Columbia Area Youth Football Association championship in 2011, this season will coach a youth team not named the Raiders for the first time since 1986.   Special Photo
Special Photo
Burt Rayburn, who won the Columbia Area Youth Football Association championship in 2011, this season will coach a youth team not named the Raiders for the first time since 1986.

Twitter @ScottRouch

Burt Rayburn is going to have to go shopping.

Rayburn started as a head football coach for Columbia County Recreation in 1985, and since 1986, has coached a team named the Raiders.

He jumped ship in 2012, going to the fledgling East Georgia Pop Warner League, where he coached the 9- to 11-year-old Martinez Raiders. After coming to an agreement with Lakeside High School this summer, when the team begins practicing on Aug. 1 they will officially be the Lakeside Panthers.

“I have nothing to wear,” Rayburn said, adding that his team will wear black practice uniforms and game uniforms that will mirror their high school counterparts’ maroon and silver color scheme. “I have black and silver everything.”

Because of his long service to the youth in Columbia County, the name Raiders was not used in 2012 and will not be used again in the fall football recreation league.

“I did away with the Raiders last year when he stopped coaching just in deference to him,” said Jim Mock, who has been Columbia County athletic coordinator for 18 years. “I didn’t want anyone else using it. If he comes back we’ll resurrect it. I did that for him. He’s been an integral part of our program.”

During his run from 1985-2011, Rayburn coached 298 games for the recreation department, going 221-71-6. He coached five years in the spring Columbia Area Youth Football Association with a 43-14-1 record and went 4-2-1 with his first Pop Warner squad.

The 1971 Butler High School graduate initially got into youth coaching to escape his estrogen-rich home life.

“I have four daughters,” Rayburn said. “That was the motivation for me to start coaching in the first place, was to kind of get a little bit of a break from four daughters and the wife and the female dog and female guppies and everything in the house being female. Just having a little bit of male bonding.”

Rayburn said he always liked the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League growing up.

“They were the bad boys, the guys in black,” Rayburn said. “In my years in Columbia County we always wore black. We had that effect. It was a mystique I did not shy away from.”

Greenbrier Wolfpack quarterback Adam Sasser heard about the Raiders and hoped he would be picked by Rayburn when he first started playing.

“Coach Rayburn was my first tackle football coach and I will never forget him,” Sasser said. “He built up a great ‘Raiders Nation’ here for CCRD and provided a lot of memories for a lot of kids.”

Rayburn’s coaching plan is to keep things at a level his players can understand.

“They’re going to get better coaching the older they get, but if I can instill a love of the game for them so they enjoy it, then I’ve done my job,” Rayburn said.

Sign-up day for the East Georgia Pop Warner Lake­side Panthers is Saturday at Sports Authority, 245 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway. They will also weigh players and collect paperwork including copies of report cards.

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