NOT EVEN a full year removed from his coaching tenure at East Jackson Comprehensive High School, Bob Roller already has a meet named after him.
East Jackson will host the Bob Roller Invitational Thursday in a nod to the coach who started the Eagle cross country program.
“I’m honored; I’m just glad that it’s not a memorial meet,” quipped Roller, who retired from East Jackson after last school year.
The girls’ race starts at 4:30 p.m., while the boys will follow at 5:15 p.m.
Roller coached for 34 years at several schools and worked in about every sport.
Ten of those years came as a cross country coach in stints at Jackson County and East Jackson high schools.
“I had a good run over there,” Roller said. “Maybe that’s it. I started the program, so maybe that’s why they did it.”
He is now the head cross country coach at North Georgia Tech, another program that he’s also started.
Roller said he didn’t know his name would be attached to the meet until he was given a list of the teams for this meet from Tomy Sitton, his successor at East Jackson, and saw the name of the race.
“I said, ‘what’s this?’” Roller said. “He said, ‘well you’ve done a lot for the program and the school.’”
Sitton said he came up with the idea during the spring when he was putting together the schedule.
“It’s just to recognize him,” Sitton said. “He’s going to be there. We’re going to have 13 schools.”
Roller will certainly be at the meet, which will feature East Jackson, Apalachee, East Hall, Forsyth Central, Franklin County, Gainesville, Hart County, Jackson County, Johnson, Lakeview Academy, Oglethorpe County, Stephens County and Winder-Barrow.
With 13 teams running Thursday, it will give him a chance to get a look at runners that have already committed to North Georgia Tech and scout other potential talent.
“It’s going to be interesting to watch that meet there,” Roller said.