When Quinn Gray became the head coach of the Albany State Golden Rams, he said he would use his experiences from his journey as a collegiate coach to uplift the program. Not only is he concentrating on the Xs and Os to make the Golden Rams the team to beat in the SIAC, but he also said he wanted to make sure to be responsive to the student-athletes.
“When I played, the things that my college did to promote me meant the world to me,” Gray said. “While my concentration was on being a better player, when I would see a poster or a promo or a game program that included me it made my chest stick out a little more. I want that for my players as well. While I don’t want them concentrating on things like that, if they are deserving, I want us to do everything within our power to promote them.”
With the Golden Rams’ 2023 posters and schedule cards, Gray turned to an old friend from college to help make his vision come to fruition. He called in a favor from another former FAMU football player, Vaughn Wilson. Wilson owns Mega Ace Media and is a former sports information director (SID) at FAMU and a contributor to HBCU Gameday. Wilson also spent time as the interim SID at Albany State at the request of assistant director of Athletics Dr. Darlene Moore. Wilson’s media team would visit Albany for a special shoot with the six players Gray chose to be on the cover of the poster.
Collaborating on the schedule cards, Gray and Wilson decided to mix up the schedule cards and make six versions, one with each of the players Gray had selected to be the cover guys. Rashad Jordan, Ralph Lovette, Jalen Mitchell, Marlon Pollack, Josh Simon, and Jaree Turner got the opportunity to represent the blue and gold on Gray’s first poster and schedule cards as head coach of the Golden Rams.
It’s not common for a D-II school to have this much effort put into schedule cards and posters, but Wilson said it’s something that didn’t take much thought. “If it can be done at other larger schools, it can be done at the D-II level,” Wilson said. “It just takes a little thought and planning. While working at ASU for the year I did, I took to the student-athletes. Several of the current team members still remember me and are very cordial to me. It was something that we could do to promote the kids, then I was all for it.”
Gray is preparing for his first season as head coach of the Golden Rams with a tough SIAC schedule to play. With some of the members of the 2021 SIAC championship team returning as seniors, he will have a mixture of returnees with a good 2023 recruiting class to begin the trek to unseat Benedict College who won the 2022 SIAC Championship.
“It’s what you get into coaching for. Building a program back is its own unique challenge. If you go to a program that hasn’t been on the winning end, it’s one job. But, to build back a program that has had the success of Albany State over the years, it’s a unique monster that we are prepared to undertake,” Gray said.