Football

Pepper Rodgers
Pepper Rodgers

Position:
Head Coach

Sport:
Georgia Tech Football, 1974-79



Georgia Tech Head Football Coach, 1974 - 1979

** Inducted into State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, 2004

PEPPER RODGERS YEAR BY YEAR

At Georgia Tech, 34-31-2, 6 years 1974 6-5 1975 7-4 1976 4-6-1 1977 6-5 1978 7-5 Peach Bowl (L) 1979 4-6-1

• Hired as the sixth full-time head football coach in Georgia Tech history on Dec. 5, 1973

• One of four Georgia Tech alums to serve as the head coach of the Rambling Wreck

• Compiled a record of 34-31-2 in six seasons as the Tech head coach, including four winning seasons

• Coached five all-America players, including first-team selections Randy Rhino, Lucius Sanford and Don Bessilieu and second-team honorees Eddie Lee Ivery and Leo Tierney

• Coached 11 different players who earned All-Southeastern Independent honors

• Saw 24 of his player selected in the National Football League draft, including a pair of first-round selections in 1978 in Eddie Lee Ivery and Kent Hill as well as future NFL standouts such as Drew Hill, Reggie Wilkes, David Sims, Don Bessillieu, Jimmy Robinson and Steve Raible

• Coached Eddie Lee Ivery to a place in the NCAA record book with his 356 yards rushing vs. Air Force in 1978, a performance that stood as the NCAA single-game rushing record until 1984

• Guided the Yellow Jackets to a berth in the 1978 Peach Bowl

• Orchestrated a stunning 23-14 upset of 11th-ranked Notre Dame on Nov. 6, 1976, a game in which Tech defeated the Fighting Irish without completing a single pass

• Coached the top four rushing teams in Georgia Tech history, including a school record 329.7 rushing yards per game in 1975, when the Jackets ranked third in the nation in rushing

• In 1974, his first year at Tech, he was named Coach of the Year among Southern Independents

PEPPER RODGERS AS A GEORGIA TECH PLAYER

• Three-year letterwinner (1951-52-53) as a quarterback and placekicker for Georgia Tech and legendary head coach Bobby Dodd

• Part of Georgia Tech's most glorious football era, helping the Yellow Jackets to a 32-2-2 record, three major bowl victories and the 1952 national title

• Most Valuable Player of the 1953 Sugar Bowl, in which he had a touchdown pass and a field goal to lead Tech to a 24-7 victory over Mississippi, capping the Yellow Jackets' 12-0 national championship season

• Booted the game-winning field goal with less than three minutes to play in Tech's 17-14 victory over Baylor in the 1952 Orange Bowl, giving the Jackets an 11-0-1 undefeated season

• Still ranks 12th in Georgia Tech history in career points by kicking (92 points) and 16th in career scoring (128 points)

• Inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1970

PEPPER RODGERS' CAREER

Head Coach, UCLA (1971 - 1973)

• After a 2-7-1 record in his first year in Westwood, he guided UCLA to a 17-5 record the next two seasons, including an 8-3 record in 1972 and a 9-2 mark in 1973

• In 1973, UCLA led the nation in rushing while ranking second in scoring, third in total offense and first in interception return yardage

• In 1972, his Bruins were the No. 1 rushing team in Pac-8 Conference history and ranked second in the nation • Tutored three all-America players in 1973 in halfback Kermit Johnson, offensive tackle Al Oliver and defensive back Jimmy Allen

Head Coach, Kansas (1967 - 1970)

• Twice named Big Eight Coach of the Year and once was runner-up for National Coach of the Year honors

• Led the Jayhawks to a 9-2 record in 1968, including the Big Eight Conference title and a berth in the Orange Bowl

• Coached all-Americas Bobby Douglas (quarterback) and John Zook (defensive end) in 1968

• Coached future NFL Hall of Famer John Riggins

• Compiled a 20-22 record in four seasons as head coach

• Inducted into the University of Kansas Hall of Fame

Future head coaches who served as Rodgers' assistants include Steve Spurrier, Jerry Glanville, Terry Donahue, John Cooper, Dick Tomey, Dick Bestwick and Barry Wilson

PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL HEAD COACH

Memphis Showboats, USFL (1984-85)

Memphis Mad Dogs, CFL (1995), Head Coach and

Managing General Partner

Memphis Hound Dogs - Named Head Coach of the proposed NFL expansion team in Memphis in Oct, 1993

PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL ADMINISTRATOR

• Washington Redskins Vice President of Football Operations, 2001-2004

• Tennessee Oilers (now Titans), Vice President for Memphis Operations, 1997-98

• Former President of Mid-America Football, an enterprise with the charter of attracting an NFL franchise to Memphis. Worked in partnership with Frederick W. Smith, Chairman of Federal Express, and later with Billy Dunavant and Memphis Pro Sports.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL ASSISTANT COACH

• Served 10 years as an assistant football coach, including one year at Georgia Tech, as well as stops at the U.S. Air Force Academy (1958-59), Florida (1960-64) and UCLA (1965-66)

• In 10 years as an assistant coach, he was part of programs that compiled a record of 72-27-6 and earned five bowl berths

• Worked with two future Heisman Trophy winners in Florida's Steve Spurrier and UCLA's Gary Beban

OTHER

• After graduating from Georgia Tech, he served in the U.S. Air Force as a Lt., Pilot (1956-60) and serves as Captain, USAF Reserves

• Has authored a textbook on the Wishbone Offense, a novel, Fourth and Long, and an autobiography, Pepper

• In his efforts to lure the NFL to Memphis, he organized NFL exhibition games in Memphis' Liberty Bowl Stadium that raised over $300,000 for such charitable organizations as St. Jude's Children's Hospital, March of Dimes and Junior Achievement

• Honored as "American of the Year" by the Liberty Bowl

• Also involved with Big Brothers-Big Sisters

  Printer-friendly format   Email this article