From coaching to cooking… Roper looks for success
By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
April 29, 2001
So, what is a successful high school football and soccer coach from Georgia doing in Meridian, running a Chick-fil-A restaurant at Bonita Lakes Mall?
Tracy Roper has been the owner and operator of the local Chick-fil-A since August. After working nearly 12 years as an educator, he decided it was time to move to on to something else.
A native of Greensboro, Ga., 30 miles south of Athens, Roper grew up a Georgia Bulldog fan. He played sports while in high school, but concentrated on his studies while attending Shorter College in Rome, Ga. He received a degree in natural science with an emphasis in biology.
He took a teaching and coaching job at Greene-Taliaferro High School. Over the next five years, he took on extra responsibilities and coached football, basketball and baseball. He later taught and coached in Coffee High School in Douglas, Ga., and Lumpkin High School.
His teams won more than their share of games on the field, and Roper was honored as "Teacher of the Year" in 1999. He was a regional coach of the year in girls soccer, and his 1999 team won the regional championship.
Roper said his Christian beliefs are very important to him. As a teacher, he sponsored a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. While he was looking for other career possibilities, he came in contact with Chick-fil-A.
That clicked with Roper. He was interviewed by the company and became an owner/operator of the Meridian store after going through training.
Since moving to Meridian, Roper has coached his children's teams in youth soccer. This fall, he may be back on the sidelines with an area school as a part-time assistant.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.