COVINGTON — Good-byes and well wishes were extended to two well-known community figures Tuesday night.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners expressed its appreciation to Newton Rams head boys basketball coach Rick Rasmussen and Covington-Newton County Chamber President Ralph Staffins, both of whom are leaving for positions in other communities.

Rasmussen, who is leaving for the head coaching job at North Oconee County High School, has been at Newton High for 21 years, 14 of those as head boys basketball coach. He has also been the golf coach for five years.

During his time at NHS, Rasmussen earned 308 career wins, seven region championships, four Final Four appearances and 17 state-ranked finishes. Forty-three of his players have gone on to play at the collegiate level, 15 of them in Division I. Rasmussen was named Coach of the Year in Class AAAAAA in 2016, and in 2017 was named head coach of the State Senior Boys All-Star Team.

“His commitment to excellence in his own life and in the life of his students and his athletes is bar none,” said District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz. “He expects it out of each one of his players and each one of his students.”

Commission Chairman Marcello Banes thanked Staffins for both his friendship and his community involvement.

“He’s not just the Chamber prresident, he’s involved in the community,” said Banes. “He lives in the community, and he has his handprint all over the community. We appreciate your leadership; we appreciate what you have established in this community.”

Staffins was tapped to take the helm of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce following a nationwide search.

While in Newton County, Staffins led the Chamber to earn the 4-Star Certification by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, one of the highest designations available to chambers of commerce.

Staffins is also vice chair of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and will be chairman of the organization next year. He is also designated by the International Economic Development Council as a certified economic development professional.


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.