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Friday, December 3, 2021

Former Highlands Football Coach Honored with Statue Unveiling at Georgia Tech

Dr. Homer Rice, alongside his statue at Georgia Tech. 

The Georgia Institute of Technology unveiled a statue on campus in Atlanta to pay tribute to Dr. Homer Rice, a 1945 graduate of Highlands High School and the Bluebirds’ football coach from 1954-1961.  

Rice went on to serve with great distinction as the Georgia Tech athletic director from 1980-1997.  It was his long-standing vision to create a department that focused on developing the “whole athlete” through the Total Person Program, and his ideas are considered a model for life skills initiatives in college athletics across the country.

As the head football coach at Highlands, he won two Class AA state championships and one "mythical" state championship in 1957. Kentucky high school football did not begin playing statewide championship games until 1959.
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“Dr. Homer Rice is one of our most accomplished graduates in Fort Thomas, and I am so thrilled for him and his family to achieve recognition of this magnitude at Georgia Tech,” superintendent Brian Robinson said.  “He has always represented Highlands with great integrity as he has moved on to different positions across the country, and our community congratulates him.”

Enshrined with the inaugural 2015 class into the Highlands High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Rice was a three-sport athlete for the Bluebirds in football, basketball and as a sprinter in track.  He also served in World War II in the United States Navy before embarking on his coaching career.  In addition to leading his alma mater in Fort Thomas, Rice coached at the University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, and the University of Oklahoma and for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals in 1978 and 1979.  Rice was an athletic director at the University of North Carolina, Rice University, and at Georgia Tech.  Dr. Rice also played minor league baseball in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization.

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With his high school success, Rice earned the moniker “Winningest Football Coach in America” with a record of 102-9-7.

Rice, 94, attended the ceremony at Georgia Tech on Friday, November 12th alongside his family.  The statue stands on Callaway Plaza, an area on campus next door to the football stadium that recognizes prominent figures in Georgia Tech history.

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