After valuable Tech ring is auctioned, original owner’s family emerges

For close to 60 years, Lewis Woodruff’s family has wondered what happened to the ring that the late Georgia Tech assistant coach received as part of the Yellow Jackets’ 1951 team that went 11-0-1 and won the Orange Bowl. They finally know – it’s being auctioned.

Lewis Woodruff Jr., a 61-year-old salesman who lives in Lawrenceville, said the family has believed that the ring was stolen in a home robbery when Woodruff Jr. was a toddler. It remained a mystery until Wednesday. After an AJC story reported on the auction of the ring and its likely original recipient – Woodruff’s initials, LCW, are engraved on the inside of the ring – a friend of the younger Woodruff heard it being discussed on local sports radio. The friend contacted Woodruff.

“I always heard legends of the ring, and nobody could ever find it again, and they thought it was gone with all the other stuff,” Woodruff said.

Woodruff got in touch with Lelands auction house, and the company has offered him a share of the ring’s sale. Woodruff acknowledged that, without any proof that it was once stolen, it would be difficult to make a claim on it.

“Of course, God only knows where the police report is,” Woodruff said.

Lewis Woodruff Sr. coached from 1947 to 1967 at Tech, serving for nearly the entirety of Bobby Dodd’s 22-year tenure and one year into Bud Carson’s. Over that time, the Woodruffs held onto all manner of memorabilia – playbooks, team pictures, helmets and coaching gear.

“They would have never sold (the ring),” Woodruff Jr. said.

The ring was a memento for Tech’s 1951 team that won the SEC, beat Baylor in the Orange Bowl and finished No. 5 in the country.

Bidding on the ring closed Friday evening and had skyrocketed in recent days. Starting at $300 on February 20 and rising to $777 on Tuesday, the high bid as of Friday afternoon was $3,570.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the ring. It was the team ring from the 1951 season.

Tech team ring auction heats up just before ending

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

South Carolina-Louisiana Tech: Game time, TV channel, watch online (9/23/2017)

South Carolina returns to Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday afternoon for an out-of-conference showdown with Louisiana Tech. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET. Led by former South Carolina assistant coach Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech rolls into Columbia with a 2-1 record, fresh off its Conference USA road win against Western Kentucky last...
Mississippi State-Georgia: Game time, TV channel, watch online for Week 4 game (09/23/17)

Mississippi State is riding high after a huge 37-7 upset win over LSU in Week 3. The Bulldogs look like one of the SEC’s best teams, and they will have a chance to prove it at Georgia on Saturday. Georgia (3-0) is undefeated, touting blowouts over Appalachian State and Samford and a one-point win on the road against Notre ...
Tennessee-UMass: Game time, TV channel, watch online for Week 4 game (09/23/2017)

Tennessee and UMass meet in a nonconference game on Saturday, Sept. 23. Find game time, TV channel and how to watch online information below. The Vols (2-1) are coming off a last-second 26-20 loss at Florida (1-1) last Saturday in Gainesville. Tennessee rallied from 10 points down on two occasions and tied the game with a field goal...
Vanderbilt-Alabama: Game time, TV channel, watch online for Week 4 game (09/23/17)

Vanderbilt football is riding a wave of major confidence and is undefeated entering a huge challenge on Saturday against No. 1 Alabama in Week 4. The Commodores (3-0) host the Crimson Tide (3-0) in the SEC opener for both teams. Vanderbilt is unbeaten after blowout wins against Middle Tennessee State (28-6) and Alabama A&...
LSU-Syracuse: Time, TV channel, watch online for Week 4 (09/23/2017)

LSU and Syracuse play at Tiger Stadium Saturday night as the Tigers try to rebound from their loss last week versus Mississippi State. Find the game time, TV channel and online streaming info below. RELATED:  SEC Country’s Tigers-Orange game predictions No. 25 LSU (2-1, 0-1 SEC) is coming off a 37-7 loss to Mississippi...
More Stories