Though coaching college football has kept him moving around, there is still a sense of home for Ted Roof in Gwinnett County.
A good number of his family members and friends still live in the area and remember him just as much from his playing days, as a Central Gwinnett and Georgia Tech linebacker, as they do for his long career in coaching.
The Auburn defensive coordinator, fresh off winning the BCS national championship back in January, plans to catch up with some of those friends Sunday when he is inducted into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame during the Gwinnett Braves’ home game.
“I hope I get to see a lot of (people I know),” Roof said Tuesday at Norcross High, where he was on a recruiting trip for Auburn. “I think Sunday is going to be a lot of fun. It should be a great thing. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Though he has coached elsewhere, Roof is in a comfortable spot at Auburn. He’s about two hours from his family in Gwinnett, when he gets free time to come back. And his work brings him back here regularly, too.
As was the case this week, he recruits Gwinnett for the Tigers, so the local high school coaches know him well. He signed North Gwinnett athlete C.J. Uzomah out of the county back in February.
Roof has a pretty good product to sell after Auburn’s big season, which culminated with his defense stealing the show in a 22-19 title game win. The Tigers held Oregon, leading the nation in scoring at 49.3, well below its scoring average while holding the nation’s leading rusher, LaMichael James (152.9 per game) to 49 yards.
Roof began his football career in Lawrenceville, playing for longtime Central coach Tally Johnson. His hard-hitting play earned him a scholarship to Georgia Tech, where he became an All-ACC linebacker and made 417 career tackles. The Yellow Jackets inducted him into their hall of fame back in 1998.
His coaching career has included stops at West Georgia, Duke, Massachusetts, Western Carolina, Minnesota and his alma mater, Georgia Tech, where he was the defensive coordinator. He was Duke’s head coach for four seasons before returning to a coordinator role, most recently at Auburn, where he’s clearly happy.
“Is this a good place for me?,” Roof said following Auburn’s BCS win. “Well, we’re national champions so I’d say it’s a great place to be.”