STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Coach Ronnie Hodges has taught a variety of sports to students for about 20 years in Bulloch County.
"When I was growing up, that's all I did," said Hodges. "It was all I wanted to do. I like to not have gotten out of school because that's all I wanted to do."
And he actually came out of retirement four years ago to continue fulfilling his dream of sports education.
But according to one special student, his granddaughter, he is more than just a coach. "He's a good friend, not just as a papa but to every kid at this school," said Tayler Wickham. "I see that because like if somebody's hurt, he'll always be at your side helping them out. It doesn't matter if it's a little bruise. He'll be right there with you."
"You never know what goes on at the home, and I find out a lot about these kids and how they live and what circumstance they live under, and then you can better cope with the kids if he's having a problem or something like that," said Hodges.
And the problems don't seem to be as bad after a conversation with the coach.
"They are always wanting high fives or a slap on the hand and things like that, and I try to provide that, and they seem to get excited about it, so I love that," said Hodges.
So while it was a surprise to Coach Hodges, his students were not surprised that he has been awarded the title of this week's WTOC Top Teacher.