Waycross-Ware County Sports Hall of Fame

Teresa Rozier Thigpen
Inducted 2024

Teresa was an amazing two-sport athlete at Ware County High School in the early 1970s, playing both basketball and tennis for the Gatorettes. In fact, Teresa was ahead of her time in both sports, and many say she was one of the best of all time on either court, basketball or tennis. If you were to ask her two legendary coaches, Coach Genevieve Pope and Coach Frank Harrell, they would certainly agree. Teresa credits both for her success on the courts and in life.

Teresa’s impressive career began as a freshman during the 1971-72 season when she played both sports as a Varsity competitor, something that was extremely unusual in those days and almost unheard of even today. On its own, this speaks volumes about the type of competitor and athlete she was. As impressive as being on the Varsity squad her freshman year was, year after year she continued to improve her game.

During her sophomore year, she elevated her game on the basketball courts and reaped the rewards by being named the Most Valuable Offensive Player on the women’s basketball team, but she also accomplished something that no other female to that point had ever achieved. Teresa was named the first-ever Ware County Most Outstanding Athlete, beating out both men and women in all sports. Of course, those who knew Teresa the best knew that with her love for the game and her competitive nature, the best was yet to come.

During her junior year, Teresa continued to reap the individual awards at the end-of-the-year banquets, being honored as the Most Valuable Player and Outstanding Offensive Player, winning the Free Throw Award, and being named to Region 1AA East All-Tournament Team. Her senior year garnered more basketball awards, including Most Valuable Player, Outstanding Offensive Player, Free Throw Award, Region 1AA East All-Tournament Team, and 1AA First Team All-Region Team. She also received the Most Valuable Player for Tennis. Teresa made Ware County History again by being named the Most Outstanding Athlete (All Sports) for the second time.

Teresa had an impressive, almost unbelievable individual career at Ware County High, but the most important thing to her was her teammates. When she was notified of her selection to the Hall of Fame, her first words were, “I don’t deserve this; it was a team effort.” Even after all these years, her teammates were the first thing on her mind. She is certainly right, but someone needs to lead that team. Coach Harrell said it best: “Teresa was a scoring machine; she averaged 20 points a game during her last three years at Ware County. She could easily average more, but she was also a great passer.” In her last two years, she led her team to two 1AA South Championships, losing only to the eventual State Champions. Her teams finished an amazing 40-9 during her junior and senior years. Teresa scored over 1400 points in her career.

Teresa is married to Mike Thigpen, and they have two sons, Buck Thigpen (wife Heather) and Jed Thigpen (wife Kaitlyn), and two grandsons, Chael Thigpen and Jayce Thigpen. Her parents were the late H.E.(Ed) and Latrelle Rozier

Congratulations on your most deserved induction into the Waycross /Ware County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2024.