John Rousakis - 2009

John Rousakis was a 1948 graduate of Savannah High School. John was a standout and team leader on Savannah High’s basketball team. Leadership came naturally to John and it was first evident on the basketball court where he led Savannah High to consecutive conference championships in 1946 and 1947. He was captain of both championship teams, twice selected to the All-Conference team and also selected to the All-Southern team. John’s success in high school caught the attention of the University of Kentucky’s legendary coach Adolph Rupp and he was offered an athletic scholarship to play basketball at Kentucky. Kentucky was considered to be the powerhouse of basketball in the 1940’s and John joined a team which some consider one of the best of all time. John did not have an opportunity to get playing time at Kentucky partially because of injuries and partially because of all the great athletes who were already playing when he arrived. He later left Kentucky and transferred to the University of Georgia where an ankle injury ended his athletic career. He graduated with a business degree in 1952. After graduating and serving in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps in the Korean War, John moved back home to Savannah to start in the insurance business and become active in the community. John’s numerous accomplishments and awards through out his career speak volumes to his integrity, sportsmanship, character and leadership. He was our mayor for 21 years and was considered one of the best mayors in the nation. His leadership was recognized nationally when he was elected President of the National League of Cities in 1978. John was Savannah’s mayor and ambassador and considered the driving force behind steering Savannah into a modern, thriving city. It was his dedication to the constant improving of the city that enabled John to be invited to join the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. John was asked to participate in the presentation bid and he also hosted foreign Olympic delegates in Savannah. When Atlanta got the Olympics, John got the yachting events for Savannah. This again shows his value to Savannah. John’s hard work for and dedication to his beloved city allowed Savannah to participate in the most prestigious and important sporting event in world.

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