THE FLATS – Georgia Tech, in conjunction with Dodd’s Boys, will unveil a statue of legendary head coach Bobby Dodd on Friday, Sept. 14, a day prior to the Yellow Jackets’ home football game against Virginia.
The statue dedication will take place the same weekend that Tech is honoring the 1951 and ’52 Yellow Jacket teams. The 1952 national championship team will be celebrating its 60th anniversary.
The statue of Dodd kneeling will be 54 inches tall and rest on a pedestal approximately five feet tall. The statue will be placed on Callaway Plaza at the north end of Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“It is not very often that you get an opportunity to work on a project like this with so many former teammates,” said Taz Anderson, a member of the Yellow Jackets from 1957-60. “He meant so much to all of his players over the course of their careers, in both sports and business. Coach Dodd recognized much earlier than we did that getting an education from Georgia Tech was the important reason we were there. I think through his own experience, he knew the education was the important thing. Most of us who played for him just wanted to play football but he knew better.”
The idea for the statue began formulating a few years ago when the Dodd’s Boys group was formed to coordinate reunions and functions before games. It was during that process the group decided that, while the stadium carried his name, a statue would be appropriate. The group worked with the athletic department and the Institute to get approval and then found a design team for the statue.
The group of Dodd’s former players, collectively known as Dodd’s Boys, along with families and friends of former players and the Georgia Tech program, contributed to make the statue possible.
“All of the people who contributed to the statue are former Georgia Tech student-athletes and we wanted to keep it that way,” Anderson said. “We talked with a couple hundred former athletes and they were all interested in being a part of the project.
“The stories I heard in talking to dozens of these guys all had the same central theme, which was they had made mistakes,” Anderson continued. “Coach Dodd could’ve sent them home, but he brought them in, talked to them and explained he was putting them on probation. He said if they didn’t straighten up he’d ship `em out. We got that message and listened to it. Almost to a man, they were very thankful that he hung in there for them.”
The statue will be unveiled during a ceremony Friday, Sept. 14, prior to the Yellow Jackets’ game against Virginia, with Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson, Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich, family of Coach Dodd and the contributors in attendance.
Bobby Dodd began his career at Georgia Tech as an assistant for William Alexander in 1931 and was named head coach in 1945. Dodd is one of only two Yellow Jacket head coaches to finish his tenure having won at least 70 percent of games, the other being John Heisman. Dodd is Tech’s all-time leader in wins with 165 victories while roaming the Yellow Jacket sideline.
He guided Tech to a 31-game unbeaten streak from 1951-53, including a perfect 12-0 season in 1952 and the Yellow Jackets’ third national championship. During his 22-year career as head coach of the Jackets, Dodd led Tech to 13 bowl games and won nine of them, and coached 21 first team All-Americans.
Following his retirement as head coach, Dodd became Georgia Tech’s director of athletics from 1967 until 1976, when he assumed the role of alumni association consultant. Dodd is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player at Tennessee and as Georgia Tech’s head coach.
The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation presents the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award annually to the NCAA Division I football coach whose program represents the highest ideals on and off the field.
The Georgia Tech football facility was known as Grant Field until April, 1988, when the Georgia State Board of Regents voted to add the name Bobby Dodd Stadium in honor of the legendary coach who guided the Ramblin’ Wreck to its most illustrious football era.
“Those of us who played for Coach Dodd believed that we had and edge on our opponents because he was so good at figuring out what the opponent was trying to do and make changes,” Anderson added. “If you were going to play us on Grant Field, you better be good because we had a real advantage.”
Dodd pass away June 21, 1988 at age 79. A citation from a Georgia Tech alumni said “he represented the best of the Georgia Tech family.”