The Good Word

TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

I am sending out a special plea today for all Yellow Jacket fans to get behind our NCAA Regional baseball tournament this weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium. We take great pride in our ability to host these events in a first-class facility. Through the years, Georgia Tech has developed a great reputation for running a highly-successful event and has received high marks from visiting teams and fans.

However, our ability to bid and host these exciting events on our campus is totally dependent on our fans supporting the effort by purchasing tickets and filling up the ball park. By now, I’m sure you know that our field consists of Elon, Southern Miss and Georgia State. Danny Hall’s Jackets will open play Friday night at 7 p.m. against our cross-town neighbor Georgia State. Games are at 3 and 7 p.m. each day – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – with an “if-necessary” game on Monday night at 7 p.m. The winner of this weekend’s event is in the final 16 and moves on to a Super Regional next weekend.

Great seats are available and are very affordable. Complete tournament ticket books are $72 for chairback seats and $60 for bench seats behind the dugouts. Single-game prices are $12, $10 and $6. There can be no better family entertainment for the weekend…and the weather forecast is sunny and dry!!! Please plan to come out and support the tournament. It will go a long way toward helping us bring these opportunities back on a regular basis. Click here to purchase tickets for the Atlanta Regional.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of you who came out to support our softball regional and Super Regional the last two weekends. What a great experience. Our new facility is just magnificent and we gained tremendous exposure with our games telecast on ESPN. Even though we came up just short of advancing to the College World Series, I want to congratulate Coach Sharon Perkins and our softball team for completing the best season in school history. With an ACC Championship, 45 victories and a beautiful new complex, the sky’s the limit for the Yellow Jacket program.

I also want to add a note about our new ticket sales initiative with the Aspire Group which has received some media attention in the last day or two. First, let me clear up what appears to be a small misconception: This agreement outsources our ticket sales operation – not our ticket office functions. We are excited about the Aspire Group and the wealth of sales and marketing experience this group will bring to the table for Georgia Tech.

Bernie Mullin and his partner Bill Duffy have been industry leaders in direct outbound sales and revenue generation for decades, plying the trade in Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL and more recently at the college level. He has trained and tutored hundreds of successful sales reps, many of whom have gone on to highly successful careers in the sports industry. Even now, Aspire is fully engaged with the Los Angeles Dodgers in a hugely successful ticket sales effort and has played a major role in establishing a program at Arizona State which will be the prototype for our effort here at Tech.

Rest assured, we still have a fully-functioning ticket office staff and have even taken recent steps to improve our efficiency and functionality. Maja Hansen, with ticket experience at Notre Dame and Navy, recently joined us as our Ticket Office Manager and we have assigned another GTAA employee (Georgia Tech graduate and former private sector business consultant) Doug Allvine to work with Maja on improving the operation and logistics within our ticket fulfillment area.

Yet another change is occurring in the management and operation of our suites and premium seating at Bobby Dodd Stadium. We have engaged the Colonnade Company – a successful national suite management group — to take over the fulfillment of our game-day suite operations. Sales and leasing of our suites will be handled by Kyle Shields, a four-year department veteran, with assistance from our Alexander-Tharpe Fund personnel. However, all fulfillment including catering, security, maintenance and other amenities will be handled by Colonnade, which, like Aspire, will employ an on-site manager. Suite holders will be receiving much more information about this positive operational change in the coming weeks.

At the end of the day, we are trying very hard to stay ahead of the curve in streamlining our operation and maximizing our ability to generate new revenue in this difficult economic time. Some of our initiatives have required some “out of the box” thinking and I am extremely encouraged by the work of our administrative staff in casting aside the standard college athletics routines established over decades. The times in which we live require some of our best thinking and new ideas. I am confident that these changes will result in a better overall operation and improved customer service in the months to come.

GREAT NEWS FOR D’Andre Bell
Yellow Jacket basketball guard D’Andre Bell has been cleared to play his senior year after making a visit to his surgeon last week in Los Angeles. Bell had surgery in December to correct a congenital condition called spinal stenosis and he sat out the 2008-09 season. Bell is a team leader, a great defender and he is at the forefront when it comes to doing volunteer work in the community.

GOLF TEAM IN THE HUNT AT NCAAs
Coach Bruce Heppler’s golf team is in a battle at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships this afternoon in Toledo, Ohio. The top eight teams after today’s round advance to a match-play format beginning tomorrow (Friday). At press time the Yellow Jackets were in 10th place, scrapping for a spot in the final eight. Check RamblinWreck.com or Golfstat.com to see how they did.

TRACK IN REGIONAL THIS WEEKEND
Twenty-five Yellow Jacket track and field athletes are in Greensboro (N.C.) this week participating in the NCAA East Regional. The top performers from this weekend will advance to the NCAA Championships June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark.

ON THE SOCIAL NETWORKING FRONT
In addition to gaining the very latest information, photos and videos from Georgia Tech athletics on Ramblinwreck.com, we hope you are also checking us out on Facebook and Twitter (www.twitter.com/gtathletics). Over the next two days on Facebook and Twitter, we will be giving away NCAA Baseball Regional tickets in a scavenger-hunt format.

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