Jan. 11, 2013
Letterwinner Ronnie Mabra is an outstanding Georgia Tech alum who was recently elected to represent the 63rd district in the Georgia House of Representatives. He played safety for the Yellow Jackets and graduated in 2000. Mabra went on to earn his law degree and currently runs his own practice.
How did you end up coming to Georgia Tech?
Fayette County is known for its school system, and everyone knows that academics go a long way in Fayette. I always did what I was supposed to do and made good grades. My cousin went to Georgia Tech and graduated in the early 90’s. I went to a lot of basketball and football games since she was a cheerleader.
Of course, growing up here, I knew Tech was known for its academic prowess. I decided athletics and academics would be a prefect fit for me at Georgia Tech.
What was it like balancing schoolwork and sports at Tech?
It was rigorous. It’s a strong, strong academic regimen. You don’t get any special treatment for being a football player. Either you can make it or you can’t. They push you in the classroom, to say the least. They required you to do good work, learn and participate in class.
It was a balance to try to make sure I was pushing myself on the football field and classroom. Not everyone could make it, so you had to follow a strict schedule and prioritize. I knew if I worked hard, I could play later.
How did you become interested in the legal field?
I wanted to be a lawyer from about the time I was in middle school. We had a few attorneys in the family, so I thought it would be a good career. When I was playing football at Tech, I figured that being an agent would be an awesome job. “Jerry McGuire” had just come out, so it seemed like a way to stay involved with sports.
I saw the writing on the wall that my athletic career was going to go only so far. Football was my second priority behind academics. I made sure my grades were strong, so I could get into law school.
Was it tough to go to Georgia for law school after attending Georgia Tech?
It sure was. I talked to several people in the athletic department, including Jack Thompson and Lucius Sanford, before making a decision. There’s definitely “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,” but they knew it was a good program for me. They told me that if I wanted to stay in this state to work, I’d have my bases covered.
What motivated you to run for office this year?
My hometown. I wanted give thanks to all the people that looked out for me as I was growing up. Now I want to be able to return that favor and represent them. I want to make all those people proud, because so many people helped me along the way. I didn’t get to this point on my own, it came from that foundation in Fayette County. What better honor than to represent those people?
I’ll be sworn in on January 14, and I know it’ll be a special day for me and my family.
How often do you attend Georgia Tech games?
As much as we can. My wife Dawn and I love going to campus, and we’ll go on the road a few times. We were up at Clemson this year. McCamish Pavilion is beautiful. My law office is just a few blocks away.
Who are some of the teammates you see regularly?
There are a bunch – Felipe Claybrooks, Joe Hamilton, Joe Burns, Shannon Ashmon, Jerry Caldwell, Travares Tillman, Chris Young, Kofi Smith, Brian Wilkins. I see those guys all the time, and it’s always great to catch up with them.