Where are they Now: Bill Ragans

Where are they Now is a feature that started on Noledigest. This week Noledigest had the pleasure to speak with former Seminole Bill Ragans. Ragans discusses his experience at FSU as a player , his current profession, the infamous punt-a-rooskie & his thoughts on the program.

What are you up to now?

BR: I am the head coach at Leon High School and I am a family man raising two beautiful children. I have a son who is going to be 5 and a daughter who is 4. They are real close together. I love it. They are awesome. I really enjoy working with these young men helping mold them from boys to young men.

How did you get the job at Leon?

BR: Well since I left FSU as a player, I pretty much went into coaching. After college I came back to Florida State as a Graduate Assistant for two years, and then I went to Valdosta State where I was the secondary coach for a year. After that I got into the high school scene in Tallahassee. I coached at Leon for a couple years, then I went to Colquitt County in Georgia. My wife and I really love this area and want to raise our kids here, so I commuted back and forth for 2 years. After that I realized I wanted to be closer to home so I came back to Leon expecting to be an assistant. The head coach resigned, maybe due to the grind of it all, so I got my opportunity after that. This is my first year as a head coach. It's going pretty good right now. It's been tough so far but I got my first win last weekend. We are looking to match up well with the rest of our schedule so there are other opportunities for positives for the rest of the year.

How did you get to FSU?

BR: I was just fortunate that my style matched Mickey Andrew's style. He recruited me out of high school. Actually FSU was my only Division 1 offer, as I had some from 1AA and DII schools. I grew up a Florida Gator fan. When I was a senior they were on probation and there wasn't a lot of opportunity there. I think they only singed like 7 kids that year. My father is Nole, but he still buys tickets to the UF games. FSU gave me the chance to realize my dreams to play college ball. I would not change anything at all. I love FSU and I love Tallahassee.

Can you talk about playing for Bobby Bowden?

BR: Looking back, had I known I was going to get into coaching, I would have paid a lot more attention to what he was doing and how he handled his coaching style. His style is so conducive to young kids, the way he treats them and the respect he has for them and what he earns. College football is a business, and the way he runs his business is great. He allows guys to do their jobs and makes young men out of these kids. The best way to for me to explain it is he is a mentor and I try to emulate my style after him, as well as Mickey Andrews. They are tough and want them to do it right, but they also show the kids love when they need it.

You mention the role Mickey Andrews has played on you. Can you talk about that?

BR: Just the success he has had; he is the kind of coach I want to be like. I had the honor to coach under him as a GA and I wanted to learn from him what I could. My wife actually makes fun of me because she says I act just like Mickey when I am coaching. I like how he is tough on his kids, but the love he shows and has for them is evident. He is just an awesome coach.

How was your overall experience as a player for FSU?

BR: It was great. My senior year I was a captain and I won the leadership award that year. The fact that my coaches and my teammates thought enough of me to earn that was great. It gives me a lot of personal pride. A little known trivia fact that people don't know is there have been 6 players from Live Oak that have gone on to play at FSU and become captains. Kyler Hall is the last one to have that distinction. If the coaches are able to get other kids from there, it looks like they will be successful for the Noles.

You played in the game against Clemson that had the infamous punt-a-rooskie. Can you talk about that?

BR: That was a great game. I was actually playing the tackle position on that play for the punt coverage team. Also, I played punt return in that game and had one of the blocks that sprung Deion Sanders for the return earlier in the game. This play is always talked about when people mention the best plays in college history. This play helped us get the victory that vaulted us to the top. In the huddle we were hoping it was going to work because it was such a huge risk. None of us wanted to be the guy who messed it up, but we were able to get in there and do it the way were coached.

When you played at FSU the Noles had several encounters with Nebraska. How was it playing against them?

BR: We played them in 87 when Danny Mac threw the game winning TD. That was a pretty close game. My junior year we thumped them pretty good. I have to say that Coach Osborne was a great coach. He is a Hall of Famer that ranks right there with Bobby Bowden in their career achievements. He is another guy that I have tried to model my coaching style off of. He had a first class organization there and had first class players. We had a good little rivalry.

What did you do after college?

BR: I was able to play in the Hula Bowl my senior year. I went into camp with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent but didn't make it. I then went to Frankfurt and played in the World League in the spring of 1992. I hurt my knee twice with PCL injuries. After that I figured it was time to move on. I was nothing special, but the injured made my knee unstable and made it harder to play. I didn't want to make a spectacle of myself. In 1993 I came back to Live Oak and coached that fall, and then I headed to Tallahassee and worked on my teaching certificate while I was a GA. I was a GA in 1993 when we won the National Title. That was an awesome, magical ride. We fought back, got some breaks, and won it.

How often do you make it back to FSU?

BR: I meant to give them a call this week to see what was going on. I went to Mickey Andrews' son's funeral and saw some of the older guys there. My wife and I always go to the home games. I was actually at the Seminole Showtime this past summer. Man that was a great thing. The people there working with the recruits, seeing Jerry Rice there…it was awesome. It was a great thing for the kids and for the program. I hope they are able to keep it going.

What are your thoughts on the coaching changes?

BR: They are already making a great difference, especially on the recruiting trail. They have always had the Mickey Andrews mentality there on the defense, now it looks like they are bringing it on the offensive side of the ball. I am not sure where they lost it, but the coaches are trying to instill toughness and aggressiveness to that side of the ball. They want to get back to the physical style of offense. When it comes to recruiting, these guys are really hustling. I have heard a lot of the local coaches saying great things about them and how they are always accessible, especially when they are recruiting your kids.

What are your expectations for FSU this year and beyond?

BR: I would like to think that they are going to make it back to where they were. This year is going to be tough due to their schedule. That has got to be one of the toughest in the country. I will tell you this, win or lose, this team is not going to give up and they are going to hustle all game until the final whistle. They will get it done. I just want them to beat the Gators this year.

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