During the awards ceremony Thursday afternoon at Bullock County High School, Athletic Director Willie Spears announced Jokyle Smith as the winner of the Rudy Cooper Servant Leadership Award.
Coach Marcus "Rudy" Cooper had no idea there would be an award named after him. He was told he was needed to present an award, but had not clue the award would bare his name.
The Servant Leadership Award is given to a student athlete who exemplifies a consistent heart of service throughout the school year. The award is named after 1991 Bullock County High School graduate Marcus "Rudy" Cooper.
Cooper played quarterback for the Hornet's from 1988-1991. Coach Rudy, as he is affectionately called, has served as a volunteer football coach for over twenty five years. In 2003 he saw a need for a youth football program and started raising money with the help of the community churches.
It took him eight years to raise the money after almost giving up in year two. Community leaders including Nathan Dickson, Jenks Parker, and Burt Smithhart gave him the push he needed to carry out his dream of helping young people in the community.
Coach Rudy has always served in some capacity starting as a ball boy while watching his brothers play for the Hornets in the early 1980's. He is truly a lifetime Hornet. One of his greatest joys came after his first group of players won a championship under Coach Wright at the middle school. The second group of players are currently at the high school and Coach Rudy believes this group is going to accomplish great things.
When asked how he feels about the award he said, "I was truly surprised because I didn't expected this. It is nice for someone to recognize things I have done in the community." A plaque will sit in the trophy case in the gym lobby with the name of each winner for the community to see.