By Marty Gordon
David Seabaugh moved to the New River Valley last year to take over the Auburn High School football program. Six months later, the school didn’t have enough bodies to field a junior varsity team, and the school put football on hiatus. People were wondering if Auburn would ever see
the gridiron in the near future.
Now, Seabaugh and school officials are using a unique way to guarantee there will be football in Riner.
Seabaugh recently followed in the popularity of the NFL draft and college football by holding his own signing and uniform pictures for individuals who plan to play this fall.
The second-year coach said Auburn will be playing football this fall.
“We are seeing a much better interest-level this off season,” Seabaugh said. “Right now, we have a little over 30 kids signed up to play this season. I’m expecting to add more. We are hosting a 7-on-7 league at Auburn this summer on Wednesdays, and I think that has sparked some interest.”
During the recent special “signing,” players walked out on the stage at the high school and joined Coach Seabaugh in holding up a jersey similar to the NFL draft. Each individual then sat at a table with the coach and Athletic Director Paul Dominy and officially signed with the school.
Seabaugh said the idea came from new assistant coach Travis Reed, who is joining the staff after serving as the head coach at Bland High School.
“The rest of the staff agreed that it was an awesome idea, so we ran with it. Adding Coach Reed to our staff has been a huge addition already. I’m very excited to have him with us this season,” Seabaugh said.
According to Seabaugh, the goal is to build some excitement around the football program. “We thought the signing day was a way to do that. I think it was a really cool event that highlighted the kids who are planning on playing football.
“I think the kids really enjoyed doing it, and the community seemed to think it was a cool idea as well. This is definitely an event that we want to continue to have and hopefully make an even bigger event next year,” the head coach said.
Seabaugh’s vision for the football program isn’t just to have a team but to be competitive.
“I believe Auburn has the best athletes in the area at the 1A level,” the coach said. “The proof is in the 30+ state championships (in other sports than football) the past eight years. We have sure-fire college football players walking in the halls that haven’t been playing football. We just need to get them playing. With the guys we had last year, plus the guys that should be playing, we believe that we would be very competitive. All we can do is keep rowing the boat and trust we are heading in the right direction.”
Auburn opens the 2022 season Aug. 2 against Narrows.