Former Georgia Tech basketball star and noted college coach Roger Kaiser received the Bobby Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award at the eighth annual College Basketball Preseason Tip-off Luncheon on Thursday.
"It's one thing to be the greatest college basketball player ever in the state of Georgia. It's another to be the most successful basketball coach," said Augusta State athletic director Clint Bryant, who introduced Kaiser. "But it's downright remarkable to be both."
Kaiser, a two-time NCAA first team All-American at Georgia Tech in 1960, went on to win multiple NAIA national championships as the head coach of Life University and one at West Georgia.
Kaiser, who played at Georgia Tech from 1958-1961, told those in attendance that the stats and records aren't what he's most thankful for.
"Awards are nice to get," he said. "But I like the memories. I'll take this (award) right here and put it somewhere where I can see it because of the memories."
The Indiana native skipped his achievements and focused on memories of basketball and Augusta in his brief acceptance speech. He spoke of a bus ride with James Brown, sneaking into the Masters Tournament in 1958 and meeting Arnold Palmer.
"You can't have better memories than I've got," he said.
Now retired and living in Marietta, Ga., Kaiser still can't fully remove himself from the sport. He coaches middle school basketball at Mt. Bethel Christian Academy in Marietta.
"I told them I'd do it for three years. That was six years ago," he said. "It keeps me young."
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org