March 25, 2005
Reaching milestones is nothing new for Danny Hall. This year, the Georgia Tech head coach surpassed 700 wins for his career and notched his 500th victory at Tech, and now another special moment is approaching.
As his fourth-ranked Yellow Jackets take on Miami in Coral Gables this weekend, Hall sits on the verge of becoming Tech’s all-time winningest coach. He is one victory shy of the record of 504 set by Jim Morris, who will be in the opposite dugout this weekend.
“When Jim Morris took over, he had to build a lot of things that we now take for granted. In his tenure here, he left this program in great shape,” said Hall. “I certainly benefited from how hard he worked to put the program on the map. I give him all the credit for establishing the program.”
When Morris left Tech for Miami in the fall of 1993, Hall expressed his interest in the job but did not have any strong ties to the program. Eventually, he landed an interview. Director of Athletics Homer Rice was willing to take a chance on the Ohio native, whose only head coaching experience was a six-year stint at Kent State, where he posted a record of 208-117.
Rice had come to Tech from the Cincinnati Bengals, so he had some ties to the Ohio area and had heard positive things about Hall. The interview went well, and Rice voiced his support to the search committee.
Hall recalled: “He asked them, ‘The guy at Kent State, is he winning?’ They said yes, he’s winning. So he said, ‘Well, he must be a good coach, because there’s no reason to win at Kent State.'”
So in December of 1993, Hall was hired to take over the Tech baseball program, which featured a talented roster that would carry the Jackets to the 1994 national title game.
“I thought that this was a special place, and I had extreme confidence that we would be very good,” said Hall. “I guess in my mind, there was never a doubt that we would have this kind of success, because this is a special school and a special athletic program. It’s a great area for baseball. It was just a matter of knowing how hard I was going to work.”
Under Hall’s guidance, the baseball program has flourished and entrenched itself as one of the nation’s best. The Jackets have appeared in 10 NCAA Tournaments, including two College World Series berths, over the past 11 years.
The list of accomplishments and accolades during Hall’s tenure is impressive, including a school-record .702 winning percentage over that span. And now Hall is perched to take over the lead in all-time victories.
“There’s satisfaction in that, but it doesn’t really change anything,” he said. “You reflect on having 11-plus good years here, and you’re thankful for the opportunity to work with some great players and alongside some great coaches. I’m thankful for the support we get here from our administration, fans and alumni.”
In his 12th season, Hall is continuing his string of success. Despite the departures of a number of key players, Tech owns a 19-3 record and is ranked among the nation’s top eight teams in four different polls.
The Jackets are also riding an ACC-record 25 game winning streak in conference games, dating back to last season.
“I think they’ve come together very well,” explained Hall. “I think they definitely get along well together. They play extremely hard and work extremely hard in practice. I think it’s a very confident group. They trust each other and have a lot of confidence in each other. I think that’s why we’ve got off to a great start.”
As the milestones keep passing by, the 50-year-old coach is primed for many more. “I really enjoy what I’m doing, and as long as my health stays good and I still have that desire to do the recruiting and coaching . . . shoot, I’d like to coach forever, I guess.”