A group of Ragin' Bulls is being welcomed to Grovetown.
Owners of the Georgia Ragin' Bulls made an announcement at the Grovetown City Council meeting April 10 that the minor league professional football team wants to call Grovetown home.
"We're going to stay in Grovetown," said Jimmy Cronan, a co-owner/player, adding that the team is based at his home in Grovetown, where all team business is handled. "Grovetown is where we need to be. They haven't had anything like this there and Grovetown is where we need to be."
The Ragin' Bulls is one of 20 teams in the Southern Football League. The 60-member team began practice at Glenn Hills High School's football stadium April 11.
"We're going to pass a resolution next Monday at the council meeting, more or less, welcoming them into our city," Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau said.
Cronan and co-owner William Owens told the city council Monday that they would like to have 15 to 20 acres of land donated to the team for a $224,000 stadium to be built by the team's affiliate Youth Education Sports Pop Warner at the expense of the National Football League. Mayor Trudeau said city officials have no plans to donate the property.
"We don't have anything of that nature at all," he said. "We're just going to say that we support the project and welcome them home."
Cronan, who helped start and play for the Palmetto Dragons in the spring of 2005, started the Ragin' Bulls with co-owners Owens and Ronnie Cushman. The team will play the four other teams, possibly others in the league, at their home field at Glenn Hills High School until the stadium is built. The first game is slated for June 3 against the Tennessee Irish.
Cronan said programs through the Southern Football League, which does not allow players to be paid according to NCAA rules in order to keep the team's minor league status, help develop young players to move up to Southeastern Conference college teams and professional football teams.
"We're one of the first programs that I know of in minor league football to actually have a GED program for our guys," Cronan said, adding that the team would not be possible without volunteer coaches.
Six of the team's players do double-duty as Augusta Spartans, an American Indoor Football League team, Cronan said.
But Cronan, who plays as a linebacker, said he's looking forward to bringing the Ragin' Bulls home to play in Grovetown.
"Not only will it help us it will actually help the city of Grovetown because they will be able to have events there, whatever they want to do. Plus, Pop Warner will have little league football there. It'll be great," Cronan said, adding that if city officials wanted Grovetown in the name, the team would oblige. They have several ideas already, including the Grovetown Grizzlies and the Grovetown Growl. "We're ready to go. We just need somebody to come in there and help us out.''
Trudeau agrees that having the team in the city with the eventual possibility of a stadium would bring more tourism to Grovetown, which would be a good thing for the city.
"It sure would be great," Trudeau said. "It would be a big plus for us."
For information, visit www.garaginbulls.com.
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