The Good Word

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

Happy New Year to all of you Yellow Jacket fans across the nation and around the world. I hope you feel like I do, that we can start 2010 feeling very good about our athletic program. I know our FedEx Orange Bowl appearance didn’t quite turn out like we had wanted, but it doesn’t take anything away from the monumental strides our football program has made. What a ride — from nine wins and a Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance in 2008, to 11 wins, an ACC Championship and a BCS Bowl in 2009. Coach Paul Johnson has won 20 and lost only seven since joining us. I think you would agree that we are squarely in the midst of building a program.

I couldn’t help but notice that we start 2010 with our football team ranked No. 13 in the final poll. Men’s basketball is ranked No. 18, women’s basketball No. 21, baseball has a preseason No. 6 ranking, women’s tennis No. 10, and golf No. 22. Softball rankings are due out soon. I’d say that is a good reason to feel great about life on The Flats right now.

I want to thank all of you who bought tickets and made the trip to South Florida for the Orange Bowl. The Georgia Tech family made a huge impression on the Orange Bowl staff and volunteers. Our players and coaches represented the Institute with great class, and the participation of our fan base, given the difficulty of the date of the game, was great to see. The acknowledgments to all of this have been coming in fast and furious. Thanks to all.

It won’t be long before we will be sending out our season ticket renewal information for the 2010 season. Our schedule should be finalized in early February and renewal information to follow shortly. Our renewal deadline will again fall in early April. In the meantime, we will begin selling new season tickets in the coming days. Keep an eye on our website, www.ramblinwreck.com, for information on how to select and purchase new season tickets for the 2010 season.

I don’t think anything could have provided a better shot in the arm for us after the Orange Bowl than our men’s basketball win over No. 5 Duke last Saturday. A huge pat on the back to Coach Paul Hewitt and the Jackets. Things get a little tougher on the road, as evidenced by last night’s battle at Virginia, but off we go to Chapel Hill on Saturday.

Additionally, what a great time we had last weekend with the second of our three reunion basketball teams. We celebrated the 25th anniversary of Georgia Tech’s first ACC Championship team from 1985. The group included Tech legends Mark Price, John Salley and Bruce Dalrymple. Our final reunion celebration takes place on February 6th when we honor the 1990 team – our first Final Four participant – during a Saturday afternoon game vs. N.C. State.

Coach MaChelle Joseph’s team keeps ringing up the wins as well. Nice job to the ladies for their ACC win over Clemson on Monday night and best wishes in tonight’s contest vs. Wake Forest at the McCamish Center and Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Game time is 7 p.m. It is our special recognition evening for the “Women Out Front” program in which we will honor some of our communities’ top female leaders. Kathy Betty, owner of the WNBA Atlanta Dream, will head a list of 10 honorees. This year’s list includes my colleague, Theresa Wenzel, senior woman administrator here at Tech. (For all the info on the Women Out Front program and a full list of this year’s honorees click here)

There are a couple of other notable events in the near future. We will once again offer an event on football signing day, the evening of February 3rd to gather for some food, drink and football talk as Paul Johnson and his assistant coaches give us a full rundown on our future Jackets. This year’s site is still to be determined with information forthcoming.

And on February 18th, we will usher in baseball season with our annual Lead-Off Dinner at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine will be the guest speaker at the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. (click here for all the details about the baseball Lead-Off Dinner).

Finally, congratulations are in order to the family of Al Ciraldo. The former “Voice of the Jackets” will be inducted posthumously into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon on February 20th. The man who immortalized the phrase “toe meets leather” was Tech’s play-by-play announcer for 43 years, beginning in 1954. We are all elated by this hugely deserving recognition which further establishes Al’s place in not only Georgia Tech history, but the sports history of our great state.

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