Posted 01 Nov 2018
"Men & Women of Distinction: Ray Rodgers" will premiere on the Arkansas Educational Television Network Monday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m.
This installment of "Men & Women of Distinction" tells the story of Arkansas Sports Hall of Famer Ray Rodgers who has dedicated more than 70 years of his life to boxing, from amateur boxer to coach to the top leadership posts in the sport. His skills as a "cutman" are legendary, and he's worked in the corners of some of professional boxing's greatest champions.
Rodgers was born in Oklahoma but moved to Conway, Arkansas, as a child. In fifth grade, he was introduced to boxing and has been hooked ever since. He spent 14 years as an amateur, and at age16, while still an amateur fighter himself, he began coaching younger kids. He relished the role and expanded it over the years - coaching countless youngsters out of his own Little Rock gym and presiding over both the national Silver and Golden Glove organizations. His dedication to youth is further demonstrated by the "Golden Gloves Education Center" he opened next door to the gym, which serves as a quiet place for the kids to study.
In the early amateur days, before headgear became mandatory, coaches had to take care of cuts that would open up on fighters. Over time, Rodgers developed his own technique and was soon sought after in the professional ranks for his talents. Today, he is known throughout the sport as one of the best cutmen and has travelled the globe, working for some of the most recognizable fighters in the game. To date, he has been in the corner for more than 50 championship fights.
Still, it is the desire to teach and instill the values of self-discipline and dedication that keeps him rooted in amateur boxing. For many of his protégés, the Ray Rodgers Boxing Club offers refuge from an uncertain future – one that all too often ends behind bars. Rodgers' enduring legacy is his tireless commitment to mentoring young people toward education and away from the streets.
"Men & Women of Distinction: Ray Rodgers" will repeat Sunday, Nov. 18, at 11 p.m. The film is produced by Jon Renfroe.
"Men & Women of Distinction" features interviews with prominent Arkansans known for their citizenship, character and accomplishments. The series has previously featured, among others, former governors and U.S. senators David Pryor and Dale Bumpers; former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders; former governor Sid McMath; Judge Morris Arnold; fashion designer Korto Momolu; poet Miller Williams; artist Gene Hatfield; and Tuskegee Airman Milton Crenchaw. The series is underwritten by The Moving Image Trust Fund.
The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas's only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through the distinct channels AETN PBS, AETN Create, AETN PBS KIDS, AETN World and AETN AIRS on SAP. Audiences can also watch on several digital platforms, and members with AETN Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the state of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at aetn.org. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).