Tanner pegged as Central coach
After the departure of former head soccer coach Ashley Fromson, R-S Central was left with the task of filling the vacant position.
That search came to an end Thursday when Ruffin Tanner was named the new head coach for Hilltoppers soccer.
“We had a lot of people in the community give us his name as a bright young coach,” R-S Central principal Phil Rogers said. “He has a real enthusiasm and energy about him that I believe will be great for not just R-S Central, but the soccer community in general.”
Rogers praised Tanner’s enthusiasm countless times when asked about his new head coach, but the man himself had another word to describe it.
“Passionate is probably the best word to describe how I feel about being named the head coach,” Tanner said. “ I think I have the knowledge and enthusiasm to take over this program an reestablish what this soccer program once was.”
Tanner, 24, worked on the Thomas Jefferson women’s team that made a run to the state championship in 2012 before joining the R-S Central women’s team coaching staff midway through 2013.
A native of Rutherford County, Tanner attended boarding school in his younger years but feels his outside approach could be beneficial.
“I think bringing in a coach outside of the family of alumni can be a breath of fresh air,” Tanner said. “While I didn’t attend R-S Central it was the school I would have attended if I had stayed in the county. I remember them being a soccer powerhouse that no team wanted to play. I remember that 1999 state championship team. I get chills thinking and talking about it.”
The soccer teams of old set the standards that Tanner hopes to return the Hilltopper program to.
“I want to just re-energize the program and show people that R-S Central soccer is back and isn’t a program to be overlooked anymore,” Tanner said. “I think a lot of people have lost a lot of respect for the name on the jersey.”
“He can be a real catalyst for renewed energy,” Rogers added. “He has a plan of where he wants this program to go, and it’s exciting.”
The process starts tonight as Tanner and R-S Central are holding a parent/player meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the seminar room beside the library.
“I want to get the program back on track with a winning season and a playoff run. I don’t see any reason why in a county that’s so rich, talent-wise, that if we put in the hard work and I prepare the players correctly that we can’t make a run,” Tanner said. “I want to develop a system that brings state championships.”