Feb. 19, 2015
In celebration of Black History Month, RamblinWreck.com will highlight several African-American student-athletes that left their mark on Georgia Tech athletics. Our fourth profile feature is Ronnie Mabra, who is a member of the Georgia General Assembly.
Communications & Public Relations
It is 2.1 miles from Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field to the Georgia State Capitol building. While a short driving distance from Georgia Tech’s campus, Ronnie Mabra’s journey took 13 years.
Mabra was a hard-hitting defensive back who lettered for the Yellow Jackets in 1998 and 1999. Originally a walk-on in 1996, Mabra worked his way up, becoming a special teams standout. During Tech’s 1998 ACC Co-Champion season, he played on kickoff coverage, kickoff return and punt units, making eight tackles. He was second on the team with six tackles on kickoff coverage in 1999.
Academics were always a point of pride for Mabra, who balanced both Georgia Tech’s rigorous academic curriculum and the demands of being a football student-athlete.
“I saw the writing on the wall that my athletic career was going to go only so far,” said Mabra in a 2013 interview for RamblinWreck.com. “Football was my second priority behind academics. I made sure my grades were strong, so I could get into law school.”
He graduated from Georgia Tech in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in management. Then came an agonizing decision. Since he was in middle school, Mabra had always wanted to become a lawyer. The next step after Georgia Tech was – logically – law school, but where? Georgia Law School.
But, Mabra sought out the advice of some admired Georgia Tech staffers.
“It sure was [a difficult decision],” Mabra said. “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.”
After law school, Mabra, a native of Fayetteville, Ga., founded his own law practice, the Mabra Firm, a personal injury law firm in Midtown Atlanta in 2007. He was sworn in as a member of the Georgia General Assembly on Jan. 14, 2013. He serves as the State Representative for District 63, which represents residents of South Fulton, North Fayette, and South Clayton counties. He is currently a member of the Judiciary, Higher Education, and Code Revision committees.
An active member of the Atlanta legal community, he is a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. He has been four times selected to the Georgia Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars list (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).
Mabra’s success as a lawyer and state representative can be traced back to his time as a student-athlete, juggling the demands for his attention and focus in the classroom and on the football field.
“It was rigorous; it’s a strong, strong academic regimen,” said Mabra of Georgia Tech’s academic gauntlet. “You don’t get any special treatment for being a football player. Either you can make it or you can’t…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 (football) later.”
Mabra and his wife Dawn reside in Fayetteville, Ga. For more information on Representative Mabra’s service or to contact him, visit www.electmabra.com.