Homer Rice: NFL and American Football legend dies aged 97

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An American sports legend has died at the age of 97.

Former American footballer player and athletic director at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Homer Rice, died at the age of 97 on the evening of Monday, June 10.

A revolutionary figure at Georgia Tech, he is known for implementing its student-athlete Total Person Program - he also remained with the University instead of the Cincinnati Bengals, taking a massive pay cut in the process.

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During his time at Georgia Tech, Rice helped guide several of their sports teams - including basketball, baseball and American football - to major success, both as a team and as individuals.

Upon Rice’s passing, Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera said in an official statement: “Homer has reminded us throughout his career that the ultimate goal of intercollegiate athletics is to help student-athletes grow fully as people. At a time of profound changes in athletics, Homer’s message and legacy of excellence is more important than ever.”

Meanwhile, former ACC Commissioner John Swofford said: “Homer Rice was my inspiration to pursue a career in athletic administration when I graduated from UNC in 1971 while he was the athletic director. He was my mentor then, and has been throughout my adult life.

“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. Simply put, he was the best Athletic Director that I ever observed during my half century in college sports.

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“He was the best leader, the most organized, the best motivator, the best innovator. He was full of integrity, decency and class. He was understated and humble, yet extremely successful. He lived his faith and his values every day. We have lost a truly special and positive man who had an immeasurable impact on uncountable lives. Nora and I send our heartfelt love and prayers to Karen and the entire Rice family.”

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