Great Dane Grad Running a New Route
By Megan Salle
The flags were blowing in the wind at Bob Ford Field as University at Albany’s football star Randall Exantus, returned to a place he once called home.
Exantus came to UAlbany as a redshirt freshman in 2009 and climbed his way to senior captain within his 5 years on the team. Now as a 23-year-old, he is coaching at Central Connecticut State University.
“As a child playing football I wanted to be as good of a running back as Marshall Faulk was at the time for the St. Louis Rams.” Exantus said. “I knew I loved this game by what I felt inside playing it.”
Exantus walked toward the 50-yard line that reads ‘UAlbany’ in purple and gold. He remembered the self-doubt people casted on him and his dreams of becoming a football player.
“The funny part is I came from a small school. I wasn’t recruited heavily,” said Exantus. “People thought I couldn’t be good since I was from Long Island where football is not as popular as in the South, New Jersey, or even Don Bosco.”
He stood at 5’8” with broad shoulders, sporting gold UAlbany football shorts and a plain black V-neck shirt.
“My high school was literally a box,” Exantus said. “You knew what someone had for lunch the period before.” He added, “Most of the time at Albany I felt like a kid in a candy store, meeting someone new every day.”
Throwing the ball around, Exantus reminisced about how his football career began.
“In my first game for UAlbany the starting cornerback was hurt and the back up wasn’t playing well. Coach said, ‘Are you ready?’ I said, ‘I was born ready Coach,’” Exantus said. “My first college snap I caught an interception and the ball just kept rolling from there.”
It would have been quite a sight to see Exantus as a young boy with his football pads on. Even now looking back, as a child he never thought that he would grow up to lead his team down the purple path at Bob Ford Field to open the season last year.
“I thought for a second up at the top, wow! Who would have thought that little kid from Long Island who had dreams of playing D1 football would be here today,” Exantus said.
Playing in 45 out of the 48 games during his college career, Exantus had more than enough experience to maintain a career in football.
“Last spring I was just relaxing when I got a call from my former Defensive Coordinator,” Exantus said. “He asked me ‘what are you doing? Do you have a plan?’ I told him I was still job searching. Then he said, ‘I have a position for you over here at Central Connecticut if you want to coach our corners.’ So I applied that night.”
Exantus was approved for the job at Central Connecticut State University. He is now coaching the cornerbacks as well as the kick return and punt return teams.
Central Connecticut State University won their first game 31-27 against Towson, the second best team in the FCS last year. The Blue Devils welcomed the Great Danes for their home opener Sat, Sept. 6. UAlbany shut out the Blue Devils 19-0 at Arute Field.
“The whole week leading up to the UAlbany game was a little hard for me considering everything that I’ve been through with those guys on the other sideline,” said Exantus. “I play and coach this game to win. We can go back to being brothers now.”
Even though, Exantus has hit the ground running after college and started his coaching career, he still hopes that everything will workout.
“The game has been my first love, but I don’t know what the future has for me right now. I just know it will be something great.”