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Published 8:11 pm Thursday, July 3, 2014

Rodney Jordan works with offensive linemen during spring practice at Charles Henderson earlier this year. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Rodney Jordan works with offensive linemen during spring practice at Charles Henderson earlier this year. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Charles Henderson assistant coach played for Troy during transition to Division I

Rodney Jordan wasn’t a senior, but maneuvered his way to the front line for the run out. It was the biggest game he, and Troy State, had ever been in and he wanted to be a part of it.

Jordan and the Trojans stepped out of the tunnel shadow and in to the sunlight and the Sea of Red at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska against the highly ranked Cornhuskers.

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It is a moment Jordan says he will never forget.

“There is a scene in the movie The Program where a freshman is running out of the tunnel and he stops to look at the crowd,” Jordan said. “I didn’t stop, but I was definitely looking around. To play in that environment, and a couple of weeks later at the Orange Bowl, is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Jordan played football at Troy from 1998-2002 as an offensive lineman, after a stellar high school career at Goshen.

While at Troy, Jordan helped the Trojans win the Southland Conference title in 1999 and pick up, what was at the time, the biggest win in school history by downing Southeastern Conference heavyweight Mississippi State 21-9.

Troy scored all 21 points in the second quarter to rout the Bulldogs in Starkville.

Jordan remembers the game for a variety of reasons.

“It was a really big win for us,” Jordan said with laugh. “The game, as you know, was played in a huge thunderstorm, and right after we scored the tornado sirens went off. We thought it was something over the sound system in the stadium going off because we scored, but little did we know a tornado was just a few miles from the stadium.”

During Jordan’s career at Troy State, he played against Nebraska, Mississippi State, Miami, Maryland, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa State but recounts big moments against smaller schools as some of the ones he remembers most.

“In 2001, the schedules all got shifted around because of the 9/11 tragedy,” Jordan said. “We wound up with an open date, and scheduled North Texas as the last game of the year. North Texas was the Sun Belt Conference champion that season, but we beat them on a last second field goal to win 18-16. They were the first team to ever go to a bowl game with a losing record, all because of Troy State.”

During the 2001 season, Troy played ACC Champion Maryland, Sun Belt champion North Texas, Big East Champion Miami and Big XII Regular Season Co-Champion Nebraska.

After Jordan completed his time at Troy, he entered the coaching world as a high school football coach.

He spent time in the Mobile area, before returning to his Alma mater, Goshen, in 2012.

He moved on to Charles Henderson the following season, and served as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator in 2013. Jordan has also spent time as an interim head coach for Charles Henderson.

Jordan said one of the biggest positives he received from his time at Troy is the close relationship formed with his coaches, most of all head coach Larry Blakeney.

“The coaches at Troy, like Coach Blakeney and Coach (Wayne) Bolt and Coach (Jim) Dye will do anything they can for their former coaches and players,” Jordan said. “It’s not just because I am across the street at Charles Henderson. I would talk to Coach Blakeney when I was down on the coast and he was always happy to help when he could. He has created a very inviting and family atmosphere at Troy, and I am very proud I was able to be a part of it.”

Editor’s note: This story is the first in a series profiling local high school coaches that received varsity letters in sports at Troy University. More local coaches will be featured in upcoming editions of The Messenger.