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Technical Tidbits 5/15: Pepper Rodgers Passes Away

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Tech loses a legend.

Pepper Rodgers (left) and Vince Dooley before COFH.
Georgia Tech Archives/[Georgia Tech Photograph Collection] (https://history.library.gatech.edu/items/show/6224)

With the unfortunate news of former Tech player and coach Pepper Rodgers’ passing last night, I thought I would bring back the article above that ran on FTRS in 2010. BirdGT had the unique chance to interview the Tech legend, and took a look through his long career as a player, coach, and administrator in many levels of football. As a coach, Rodgers led the Kansas Jayhawks to their most recent conference championship in 1968, and was instrumental in the development of the wishbone offense. While Rodgers wasn’t the most successful coach at Tech (34-31-2), his colorful personality and offensive scheme will always be remembered on the Flats.

While the 2021 Georgia Tech recruiting class has been on an upward swing these past few days, there are still no offensive lineman committed. It’s still rather early in the cycle and I’m not sounding the alarm yet, but even after taking six offensive linemen with the 2020 class, the Jackets are in need of depth. OT Jakiah Leftwich out of Westlake High School in Atlanta could change the no offensive linemen trend, as he’s received multiple crystal balls to Tech in recent days and posted a tweet that just reads, “Soon.” While this is all speculation, the article above makes it seem like Leftwich feels really good about the Jackets and the program that Geoff Collins & co. are building. He would be a great local addition to the class.

Georgia Tech’s newly announced basketball series with Georgia State was featured in yesterday’s Tidbits, but the AJC’s Ken Sugiura has added some insight on the series from Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner. It seems like it was mainly a financial decision between the Yellow Jackets and the Panthers, with the trips between the schools a short bus ride away, lowering the cost of playing the game. There will be many financial problems for college athletic departments across the nation, so I would expect to see more local basketball (and possibly football) matchups in the next few years as schools recover.

This is a great honor for Tech Baseball players Michael Guldberg and Luke Waddell. The two were named to the 2020 Academic All-District First Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Even with all of the cancellations and changes caused by COVID-19, Guldberg and Waddell kept up with their studies and were rewarded for their academic performance. Congratulations, Michael and Luke!

Here’s a great picture of Rodgers during his time as coach of the Jackets in the 1970s. Rest in peace, Coach.

Question of the Day: Do you have any memories of Pepper Rodgers?

For instance, my Dad remembers his humor and quick wit at the Pepper Rodgers Youth Football Camp in the 70s. He also remembers drinking a Gatorade-like drink called “Mule Pee” on Rose Bowl Field at those camps. Sounds delicious.