A local, semi-pro adult amateur football team, the Hernando County Leopards, hosted a free football camp for the community kids. Team owner Mr. Eric Riggins, a lifelong resident of Hernando County, has put his passion for football back into the community.
Mr. Riggins responded to our questions on who he is and why he’s so passionate about the game. He provided information on his vision for the Hernando County Leopards semi-pro football team.
My name is Coach Eric Riggins Sr. I’ve been married for 23 years to my lovely wife, Stephanie Riggins. God blessed us with three handsome young men Eric Riggins Jr., 23, Xavier Riggins, 21, & Isaiah Riggins, 17.
I have been coaching for roughly around 23 years and counting. My coaching career has been successful on the youth league level, which I enjoy very much because I can instill discipline, respect, hard work, and character at a very young age. The youth is my pride and joy. It’s a joy just watching these young men grow up to become productive citizens in our community and world. I have seen and continue to see so many young men that I had a chance to impart something good into their lives to be successful, and that’s what it’s all about. I have coached on the high school and semi-professional levels as well & loved every single minute of it. Coaching is a special gift and talent that God has blessed me with, and I don’t take any credit for it. All of my accomplishments, I give glory and honor to God! We have won many championships on a few levels under my leadership or me being on a great staff of coaches that were all committed to the same vision and goals for the programs. I can never win a championship on my own. I have been blessed to have some great coaches on my staff and great young men on the team! When assembling a staff, I’m always looking at an individual’s body language, character, experience, how they handle conflict, how well they communicate, and their commitment level.
Right now, we are still building the Hernando County Leopards coaching staff because I want the right kind of guys so that we can make a solid foundation for many years to come and can see my vision for this organization. I started the HC Leopards because I have a passion for this game and see another avenue to give our athletes another opportunity to live their dreams and play the game they love. This is a necessity in our county for our young men. I want this organization to be an outlet for young men to come and be a part of a structured and very organized A1 type of organization so that they can come to have fun doing what they love to do. This will not be an organization where individuals will come and do as they please; there’s a vision, and everyone will have to line up with that vision. I love our community, and we will need our community to be successful! We will show our community by doing as much community service and giving back as much as possible. I believe community service is the main ingredient to our success! Handling adversity and criticism is a part of the game. It comes to strengthen you as an individual, a team, and organization… We will see and hear but won’t respond to it in any such negative way, take it with stride and get ready for the next play! We will build this organization on these core values:
Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Teamwork, Sportsmanship, and Commitment.
My Coaching style is discipline, hard work, passion, commitment, straightforward and caring. I’m looking for players that have a D.O.G mentality, discipline, obedience, and grit! Committed, loyal, respectful, and a team player. The Hernando County Leopards hosted its first community event on July 22nd. We have the youth participate in different drills learning the fundamentals of football and having fun while doing it. Hard work will definitely be implemented. The camp was held at Ernie Weaver Park.
During a conversation with some camp participants, Jason Owens Jr. expressed his positive opinion of the camp, stating that he enjoyed it and would participate again. Isaiah Riggins definitely knows how his father, Coach Riggins, runs his camps; great work and conditioning always come to the camp; it makes you better. The first time attending one of Coach Riggin’s camps, Joe Raulerson liked the camp, but it was tough, it was nothing like the football workouts at school. Amari Jones also stated that he enjoyed the camp and would come again. Coach Riggins felt great about the outcome of the camp, and he stated that the young men were working hard in this heat, and it was a hot 90 degrees. If anybody knows Coach Riggins, he’s going to get the butter from the duck, and he believes these kids are giving it their all. Each participant received pizza and a camp shirt.