Southland hires new boys basketball coach

Photo by John Millikan

Photo by John Millikan

AMERICUS -- Rick Scruggs spent Wednesday and Thursday trying to find a new home in Americus.

He hopes his new job won't be as hard.

Scruggs has won on the JUCO, NAIA and NCAA Division I and II levels, and now he hopes to do the same in the GISA, becoming the new boys basketball coach for Southland Academy.

He replaces Ernest Scott, who left for Jasper County after nine seasons.

"It's exciting to come to a new job and start a new adventure," said Scruggs, who's been coaching for 32 years, the last 28 on the collegiate level. "At a new job, you reinvent yourself. It's been a long time since I've been on the high school level, but I've probably seen more high school games over the last 30 years than people have a lifetime from recruiting. It's always a challenge coming and building something."

Scruggs, 55, comes to Southland having spent the last year as associate head coach at Appalachian State. Prior to that, he coached Gardner Webb for 15 years, leading the program from NCAA Division II to Division I status.

During that time, one of his biggest wins occurred when the Bulldogs stunned No. 20 Kentucky in Rupp Arena, 84-68, in the 2007-08 season.

Scruggs had winning records at North Greenville, Belmont Abbey, Pikeville and Milligan. His overall record is 377-333 and 199-205 at Gardner Webb.

An East Point native and Georgia graduate, Scruggs said he wanted to be closer to his father in Peachtree City and be a head coach again.

Under Scott, Southland reached two Final Fours and won one region championship.

Southland has been eliminated in the first round of the region tournament the past three seasons.