Cleveland Stroud was the first black head coach at Rockdale County High School. He's known for his integrity, something that showed after Stroud reported to the Georgia High School Association that one of his players on the 1987 state championship was ineligible to play because of his grades. The honorable act forced GHSA to strip Rockdale of its 1987 state championship.
Stroud has since become a pillar of the community, as he has transitioned from janitor to school bus driver to coach to Conyers councilman.
According to Pastor Aldren Sadler, president of the Citizens Progressive Club of Rockdale County, and the community came together to raise $5,000 for a plaque that will be permanently mounted on the walls of the RCHS' Cleveland Stroud Gym. Stroud also coached Sadler's son at RCHS.
"He's been a mentor to me," Sadler said. "One of the things that I admire about him is that he went back to college later in life and finished up his degree. He worked at Lithonia Lighting. He worked as a school bus driver, he was a janitor at a school where I went to high school...and he did all that with a family of three children," Sadler said.
"So when I was going through college myself I went to school and dropped out. I looked at him and saw what he had accomplished and that was the thing that kind of kept me going to finish up my degree at Georgia State," Sadler added.
Sadler says he looks at Stroud as a mentor, coach and community leader. He added that Stroud is very well respected in the community by all walks of life.
"I think that he's been a great asset for our community. I believe personally that he does what he can to help the community. He loves this place, he grew up here and I believe he is dedicated to making this community come together as one," Sadler said.
Sadler said that the community was overwhelmingly supportive in terms of giving money for Stroud's dedication and bust.
"I just hope the public will be there tomorrow to show coach Stroud how much they appreciate (him) as a teacher, as a coach and as a community leader," Sadler added.
The dedication to Stroud will take place Saturday evening between the varsity boys and girls basketball games at Cleveland Stroud Gymnasium at RCHS.