Editor’s note: The following story is part of a feature called Home Grown in which we take a look at the people and products that have made a name for themselves well beyond our Middle Georgia borders.
To one generation, Ron Simmons was part of the Warner Robins High Football dynasty that put the city on the national map in the 1970s.
To another, he was known for a wrestling career with nearly all of the major wrestling entities, one that covered more than two decades and included becoming the first black heavyweight champion in World Championship Wrestling.
The Perry native was an integral part of the Warner Robins football program that was dominant in the 1970s, earning All-State and state lineman of the year honors in 1976. Simmons then became a star at Florida State, earning consensus All-America honors in 1978 and 1980. He was the first defensive player in Seminoles history to have his jersey retired.
After a few seasons in the NFL, he became a renowned professional wrestler, a popular figure to fans unaware of his impact on football fields in Warner Robins and Tallahassee.