Rice, longtime coach and Ga

Jun 10, 2024, 10:56 PM ET ATLANTA– Homer Rice, who as athletic director hired a few of Georgia Tech’s most effective coaches and carried out the school’s Overall Person Program, has died. He was 97.

Rice died Monday, according to the school.Rice was Georgia Tech’s athletic director from 1980-97. Amongst his notable hires were basketball coach Bobby Cremins, football coaches Bobby Ross and George O’Leary and baseball coaches Jim Morris and Danny Hall. Georgia Tech won a share of the 1990 nationwide football championship and its very first Atlantic Coast Conference basketball championship in 1985 while advancing to the Last Four in 1990. The Yellow Jackets won 16 ACC championships in five sports throughout Rice’s time leading the athletic department.Rice was a high school, college and NFL football coach before beginning his career as an administrator. He coached the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals in 1979-79 before beginning his time at Georgia Tech. Homer Rice delighted in coaching stints in college and in the NFL with the Bengals before becoming an administrator, especially functioning as AD at North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

Rice was a college assistant at Kentucky (1962-65) and Oklahoma (1966) and was the coach at Cincinnati (1967-68) before leaving to serve six years as North Carolina’s athletic director. He was worked with in 1976 as athletic director and football coach at Rice in Texas and held those positions for two years.Rice’s Total Person Program is considered as the model for the NCAA’s Life Abilities Program. The Homer Rice Award is presented every year to a FBS athletic director in recognition for substantial contributions to college sports.

“Homer has advised us throughout his career that the supreme objective of intercollegiate sports is to help student-athletes grow fully as people,” Georgia Tech president Ángel Cabrera said in a declaration launched by the school. “At a time of profound changes in athletics, Homer’s message and tradition of quality is more crucial than ever.”

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips stated in a statement Rice’s Total Individual Program “was ahead of its time and led the way for NCAA shows by preparing student-athletes for life beyond collegiate athletics. Each of the 7 pillars of the Total Individual program continue to resonate with not only myself, however every one of Dr. Rice’s peers, associates, and former student-athletes.”

Phillips said Rice, a local of Bellevue, Kentucky, “was exceptionally prominent in the development of student-athletes, not just at North Carolina and Georgia Tech, but throughout college sports.”

Former ACC commissioner and UNC athletic director John Swofford said Rice, advertisement at UNC when he graduated in 1971, was his motivation to pursue a profession in athletic administration.

“He was my coach then, and has been throughout my adult life,” Swofford said in a statement. “I had the privilege of serving for 17 years as an A.D. with him in the ACC while he was at Georgia Tech and I was at UNC. Put simply, he was the best Athletic Director that I ever observed throughout my half century in college sports. He was the best leader, the most organized, the very best motivator, the best innovator. He was full of stability, decency and class.”

Rice taught a management class at Georgia Tech up until recent years and composed a number of books on management success.Georgia Tech committed a statue of Rice beyond Bobby Dodd Stadium in 2021. Dodd and John Heisman are the only other in Georgia Tech athletics to be honored with a statue.Rice’s other half of 64 years, Phyllis, died in 2013.

He married his second spouse, Karen, in 2015.

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