Augusta, Georgia – A rivalry that runs deep between two local basketball teams.
Augusta University hosted Paine College for their home opener, but Saturday night was more than just about the basketball game. Students, faculty, and parents showed up to show their support for Paine College. News Channel 6’s Stefany Bornman spoke with people about the largest event, since the Build It Back Campaign started last week.
WJBF News Channel 6 spoke with a man who says it’s odd to him that a school with so many financial problems can afford a basketball team. Although the problems were unforseen, he hopes they can get back on track and resolve the issues.
Just a few weeks ago, Paine College couldn’t afford to pay their employees, but at Saturday’s basketball game people wearing their purple filled the stands of Christenberry Fieldhouse.
“I don’t know where the problems went wrong,” Dexter Lucette, the father of Paine College Women’s Assistant Basketball Coach, told WJBF News Channel 6.
Dexter Lucette’s daughter attended Paine where she played basketball. Now, Kisha Lucette returned to her Alma Mater as the Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach and Head Volleyball Coach. Lucette says he supports his daughter, but worries about her financial situation.
“To tell you the truth if it affects her she’s not showing it,” said Lucette.
He says his daughters loyalty is to the school and although he’s unsure if she took a pay cut, she would still coach her team no matter what.
“She will do what she has to do. If it comes to the point where she has to seek other employment. I’m quiet sure she will. I don’t think she would have a problem, but I think her heart lies with the lady lions of Paine College,” Lucette said.
Yet, there is some speculation about how the financial problems may have started.
“I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, but I just think that when they tried to implement that football program I think it was a little bit too soon.” Lucette told WJBF News Channel 6.
But the loyalty to the college is very strong among the school’s alumni.
“I just wanted to support Paine College since I used to go there,” said former Paine College student Christina Oliphant.
They have hope that things will get back to normal again.
“When she was attending there they did everything to keep her comfortable and I think she just wants to do what she can.” Lucette said.
The build it back rally was a success, raising $250,000, but there’s still work to do to meet the goal of $1.5 million by the end of the year.