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RCHS Sports Wall of Fame inaugural induction 2023
Group photo of RCHS Sports Wall of Fame inducteesCongratulations to the Rockdale County High School Bulldog legends inducted into the RCHS Sports Wall of Fame! Coach Cleveland Stroud, Willie Gilstrap, Jesse Baker (posthumously) , Traci Waites, Coach Harry Kustic, Grady Jarrett, Alonzo Allen were honored August 18, 2023 at Reid Stadium before the game. Long-time Athletic Director Coach Chad Suddeth was also spotlighted in a surprise celebration as he retired from 29 years in education, with 23 of those years in Rockdale County, including at least seven years as RCHS Athletic Director.

Coach Cleveland Stroud

Coach Cleveland Stroud is truly a legend in Rockdale County. He played basketball at Morehouse University, going back to finish earning his college degree while working multiple jobs. He served as an educator at Rockdale for 41 years (from 1957-1998) while coaching basketball, track, softball, and baseball, winning numerous Region Championships in each sport. He was named GHSA Coach of the Year in 1987 and was a seven-time winner of the Region Coach of the Year Award. He was named Rockdale Teacher of the Year in 1988 and has served on the Georgia Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He has earned many state, national, and international awards recognizing his character and integrity - including the Pierre de Courbertain Fair Play Award from the International Olympic Committee in 1988. He moved on to serve our community as a Conyers City Councilman for 28 years and served on the Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission, the Rockdale Citizens Progressive Club, and the Rockdale Recreation Commission. He's been named the Conyers Citizen of the Year three times as well as the Georgia Citizen of the Year & received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce. The RCHS gymnasium was dedicated and named after him.

Willie Lamar Gilstrap
RCHS Class of 1969

Willie Lamar Gilstrap integrated Rockdale County High School in 1965 as the first black student-athlete in school history. He was a multi-sport athlete who lettered in football, basketball, and track for the Bulldogs. In 1968, he led the Hoop Dawgs to victories over three #1 ranked teams on their way to a State Runner-Up finish (missing the state championship by one point). He was a two-time Region Champ & a two-time State Runner-Up in the Triple Jump. He earned All State recognition in football & named "Most Athletic" at Rockdale while earning a basketball scholarship to the University of North Georgia. The Rockdale Progressive Club recognized him with the 50th Anniversary Trailblazer Award.

Jesse Baker (posthumously awarded)
RCHS Class of 1975

Jesse Baker put Rockdale football on the map. He was a multi-sport athlete at RCHS, lettering in football, wrestling, and track. He was named First Team All State in football in both 1973 and 1974. He earned a football scholarship to Jacksonville State University where he was a two-time All American and a 1989 JSU Hall of Fame inductee. He was a 2nd round NFL draft pick by the Houston Oilers where he had a successful 10 year NFL career compiling 35 career sacks in 128 NFL games. Accepting the award in honor of the late Jesse Baker was his brother, Mr. Calvin Baker.  

Traci Waites
RCHS Class of 1984

Coach Traci Waites was Team Captain for the Lady Bulldogs Basketball Team, leading them to the 1984 State Championship. She was a three-time Parade All-American and two-time Miss Georgia Basketball. During her career, she set and currently holds most basketball school records - including career points, career rebounds, career steals, and career assists. She earned basketball scholarships to the University of Georgia and then Long Beach State University - and is the only female to lead two different teams to the NCAA Final Four. While at UGA, she led the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship and the National Championship game, scoring 19 points in the title game. She was named Team Captain for the USA at the World University Games in 1989. She moved on to play professional basketball in Europe for 8 years before serving as Assistant Coach at University of Arizona and Head Basketball Coach at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. While Head Coach at Pitt, she earned Big East Coach of the Year honors as her team recorded the biggest single-season turnaround in program history.

Coach Harry Kustick

Coach Harry Kustick has dedicated his life to soccer and serving others and has been a vital part of the Conyers soccer community for over 30 years.  He served as a special education teacher and Head Boys Soccer Coach at Rockdale from 1991-1999, winning six Region Championships and a State Runner-Up finish in 1997. The Georgia Soccer Coaches Association named him the Northeast Coach of the Year in 1992 and the State Coach of the Year in 1997. His 1997 and 1998 Rockdale teams won the Team Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America; Rockdale was the only public school in the country to win that award two years in a row. He was named Rockdale Youth Soccer Association Coach of the Year in 2010. He currently holds an Advanced Coaching License from the NSCAA. He also served as Head Coach of the United Cerebral Palsy Wheel-Chair Soccer Team who won the 1994 National Championship. He moved on to coach the women's club soccer programs at Georgia State University and Georgia Tech. He also coached the Georgia Revolution to the Southeast Conference Championship in their inaugural season. The City of Conyers named August 25th as Coach Harry Kustic Day in honor of his achievements as a coach and educator.

Grady Jarrett
RCHS Class of 2011

(Grady was unable to attend the Sports Wall of Fame Ceremony because the Atlanta Falcons had a game against the Cincinnati Bengals). Grady Jarrett was a multi-sport letterman at Rockdale participating in football, wrestling, and track.    He was a two-time All-State selection in football and won State Championships in both wrestling and track. In 2009, he led Rockdale to the best football season in school history, advancing to the Final Four State Semi-Finals. He earned All-Region honors for Offense and Defense, participating in both the North/South All-Star Game and the Georgia/Florida All-Star Game. He earned a football scholarship to Clemson University where he was named to the ACC All-Conference team. He was a 5th round NFL draft pick in 2015 and currently stars for our hometown Atlanta Falcons where he is a two-time NFL pro-bowler and 2nd Team All-Pro. He recorded three sacks in Super Bowl 51, tying the record for most sacks in a Super Bowl game. He was nominated for the NFL Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award in 2022 and started a non-profit organization called "Grady Gives" which focuses on bullying prevention. Each year, his organization offers free youth football camps, holiday shopping sprees with local police departments, and donates holiday food to needy families - among other generous community contributions. Accepting the award on his behalf was his teacher from Conyers Middle School, Ms. Sonja Lewis.

Alonzo Allen
RCHS Class of 2014

Coach Alonzo Allen was a two-time State Championship wrestler for the Bulldogs. He was a four-time State Finalist with a career record of 163 wins and only 11 losses. He finished third overall at the NHSCA Senior Nationals and earned a wrestling scholarship to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. At UTC, he was a two-time NCAA Qualifier and two-time Southern Conference Finalist, winning the SoCon Championship in 2018. He earned Dean's List honors three times and after college, he returned home to RCHS and coached wrestling and flag football for five years. As Head Wrestling Coach, he coached one State Champion and 24 individual Region Champs. He is currently the Assistant Wrestling Coach at Morgan State University in Maryland.

Group photo of RCHS Sports Wall of Fame inductees

Group photo of RCHS Sports Wall of Fame inductees