Former Georgia Tech greata Randy Rhino was announced on Tuesday as an inductee to the ACC Legends class. The induction ceremony will be the week of the championship game in Charlotte in December.
A defensive back and punt-returner, Rhino was a three-time All-American from 1972-74. He had 14 interceptions, the second-most in Tech’s history. He once returned a punt a school-record 96 yards for a touchdown.
Rhino took a few minutes to talk about his playing career at Tech (questions and answers have been paraphrased):
On being named as an ACC Legend:
A legend…always means your old, doesn’t it?
On the differences between the school then and now:
I can still visualize the way it was when I was here.
We are standing in an area [in the Edge Center] that was the old swimming pool or the old gym. The AA was the gray building up the hill.
The old locker rooms are up under the stadium. The ghost of Sarge is running around down there. Sarge was our equipment guy in the 70s.
I can remember very well how things were. The stadium hasn’t changed that much except for the old horseshoe. They had that full track that went all the way around the stadium. That’s where we had to do our testing. There were stories of guys hiding when they got under that part of the stadium and waiting on the guys to come back around.
I never did that [laughs].
My dad, Chappell, still tells me the story of in the ’50s, the old swimming pool. He still has nightmares of this drown-proofing class that you had to take to graduate. My dad couldn’t swim a lick. He was petrified. This old marine taught the course. He called everyone bloodsuckers. He says to this day he doesn’t know how the guy passed him because he still can’t swim.
On Paul Johnson and the “old-timey” spread-option offense:
I don’t really consider it an old-time offense, even though my senior year was Pepper Rodger’s first year. I played in that era of option football. It’s a great philosophy because you can still get the wings out in pass routes or run the triple option. It’s a great offense to watch when it’s rolling.
As a DB, absolutely the worst offense [to play against]… the veer and the wishbone were just brutal to play against.
On the great players he got to compete against:
Being an independent we were able to play some pretty unique schedules. We actually played Southern Cal the year after their national championship. That was Pat Hayden at QB and Lynn Swann at wide receiver. He was one of the top wide receivers I’ve ever gone against.
We played Pittsburgh. They brought a guy in named Tony Dorsett. I think I missed five tackles that day. I knew he was something special.
We played Notre Dame coming off a national championship.
Could you have covered Demaryius Thomas, who was 6-3, 230 pounds?
Bay-bay and I became fairly close friends. He always asked how I would cover him. I covered some guys like him, but they were tight ends. You never saw a guy like Bay-Bay at wide receiver. He would have played tight end.
I used to kid him a lot in his younger days that if he got any bigger they would move him to tight end. He would always cringe.
On his son Kelley being the third Rhino to play at Georgia Tech:
Very few athletes have gotten the thrill of having their son break your records. Of course, his mother was pulling for every single record to get broken.
One day he was getting close to both of them. He said he was going to try to leave one intact. He said coach [George] O’Leary would have had a cow if he caught a punt inside the 10-yard line. So he left my 96-yarder intact.