The Good Word

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

Welcome to the season-opening edition of The Good Word. Optimism reigns supreme as we head into a new college football season. Toe meets leather tomorrow night on Grant Field at precisely 7:34 p.m. as our Yellow Jackets host the Catamounts of Western Carolina. Coach Paul Johnson, the staff and football team have prepared long and hard for this campaign and seem to be of the frame of mind to atone for last year’s disappointing finish.

I hope you are all planning to make your way down to the Flats for the opener and you have your tickets, parking passes, tailgating supplies, Yellow Jacket apparel and a car full of friends and family. Tickets for the game are still available and can be purchased on line at www.ramblinwreck.com/tickets. That’s the easiest way to avoid waiting in any ticket lines at the game tomorrow night. Our Bobby Dodd Stadium box office will be open throughout the day, however, if you’d like to swing by in person and pick up your seats.

For those of you coming out to the game I would urge you to take a few minutes to visit a greatly enhanced “Game Day Central” that can be found on our web site. This feature gives you links to almost any game-related question you may have. We cover everything from directions to the stadium, to parking maps and suggestions, to team rosters and stats. Our staff has worked hard to give you the most complete and accurate information so that your trip to our campus is pleasant and enjoyable.

Parking and Traffic

It is at this point that I attempt to give you the best advice I have for tomorrow night. Please try to arrive a couple of hours early. Rush hour traffic and the added pressure of the Falcons playing downtown will create some unavoidable traffic issues. You may have heard in the past few days that Atlantic Station is starting shuttle service to our games beginning with our first Saturday game on September 17th. Keep in mind that there will be no shuttle service available for our two Thursday night games.

There are always a few twists that arise when we tackle a Thursday night game here at Tech so please be aware. Because this week’s game occurs on a regular workday, several parking locations will not be available until 5 p.m. game day. Students, faculty and staff are permitted to remain in these lots until this time, as there are still classes and meetings being conducted in the afternoon hours. The Georgia Tech Parking & Transportation department will not begin removing vehicles until 5 p.m.

Atlanta Falcons at Home Thursday Too

In addition, the Atlanta Falcons will conclude their preseason schedule Thursday, and as a result the south end of campus (and North Avenue corridor, in particular) will be extremely congested. Atlanta Falcons fans have been advised to take the Williams Street and Northside Drive exits to arrive at the Georgia Dome, but we ask that Tech fans take the increased traffic into account when making travel plans. You may want to consider the 10th/14th/17th Street exit from the north, especially if you park on the north end of campus. The Georgia Tech Police Department and Atlanta Police Departments will work in unison to aid fans in their exit from the respective stadiums. Both staffs will be on hand in intersections on the south side of Bobby Dodd Stadium, with multiple officers in the intersections along Ivan Allen for postgame exit. Traffic exiting the Tech campus will have dedicated lanes along Ivan Allen and Luckie Street to assist in emptying the parking lots on campus. We have parking information and a parking map indicating the best routes for leaving campus.

We Want to Make Bobby Dodd Stadium the Fan Friendliest

It is our goal that when you arrive on campus, beginning tomorrow night, that you instantly feel a part of the Yellow Jacket family. Members of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association staff, coaches, and student-athletes from various varsity programs – swimming and women’s basketball for this game — will be on hand to welcome fans and interact with the faithful that make Tech games some of the best in the nation. It is our goal to meet our fans and tell them how excited we are to be in the Georgia Tech family too!

It’s not easy, but we are always trying to improve and update spaces in the oldest on-campus stadium in Division I college football. New signage and renovated common areas are some of the things we have checked off our list for the 2011 season. We hope that our work makes it easier for you to navigate the facility and will provide an enhanced game day experience.

Among the most noticeable upgrades, many of our concession stands have a new coat of paint and a cleaner look. Speaking of concessions, we thought it would be a great idea to take the burden of cash carrying away from our loyal fans. While we still have plenty of ATMs around the facility, we have worked with our concessions partner Sodexo to add 38 point-of-sale credit card locations around Bobby Dodd Stadium. This should make food and beverage transactions for fans easier and more efficient.

Guests in our club and suite areas will notice upgrades as well. Our suite holders will have the viewing pleasure of new high definition flat screen televisions in the 70-plus guest suites and the popular Tech Terrace area. In our club lounge, we have installed 16 55″ flat-screen high-definition televisions. In addition, we have extended the complimentary beverage list to include soft drinks and water (two per game ticket).

Thursday’s Game on 106.7 Only in Atlanta

Our powerful FM affiliate in Atlanta, WYAY (106.7), will be your only source for the broadcast of our game in the metro area Thursday night. WYAY’s signal is clearly heard in all corners of the metro Atlanta area. Our AM affiliate, 790 The Zone, has opted to carry the Falcons’ final pre-season game in that space, however Wes Durham will be heard doing play-by-play at Georgia Tech as usual. He will again work this year alongside former Tech and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Rick Strom.

Live Sports Radio No Longer Alive

Some of you may have participated in a program over the last couple of years involving the purchase of a special headset called “Live Sports Radio,” which allowed you to listen to the radio broadcast of our games while inside the stadium without an annoying delay of several seconds. Well, the company that provided that service, through our rights holder IMG College, is no longer in business. Thus, the headsets from previous years will no longer work.

The good news is that our FM affiliate here in Atlanta WYAY (106.7) is using its technology to eliminate the delay on its regular radio broadcast. If you have access to a radio signal through a smart phone, iPod or some other device, you should be able to listen to the games in real time while at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Great Start for Volleyball

Congratulations to Coach Tonya Johnson and our Volleyball Jackets as they came out strong in winning their weekend tournament with a three-game sweep. And, Monique Mead captured ACC Player of the Week honors after an amazing weekend. Mead averaged 5.25 kills a set and hit .331 en route to MVP honors of the Georgia Tech Courtyard Marriott Classic. The two-time All-American also averaged 2.58 digs per set and had eight total blocks and seven service aces. Mead had 20 kills in a four-set win over Kansas State Friday night in the season opener and then tied a career-high with 30 the next night against Louisville as Tech overcame a 2-0 deficit to stun the preseason Big East favorites. Also, a nod to Nikki Meyer, who was named the outstanding libero of the tournament.

Hall of Fame Induction Dinner

Invitations for the 2011 Georgia Tech Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, scheduled for Nov. 9 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, are being distributed to all Alexander-Tharpe Fund donors in the states of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama. Those who do not receive an invitation and wish to purchase tickets can view and print an invitation HERE. Tickets are $50.

Being inducted this year are Bryce Molder, the 2001 National Player of the Year in golf, Mark Teixeira, the 1999 National Player of the Year in Baseball, Benjamin Cassaigne, the 1999 ACC Tennis Player of the Year, and All-ACC football players Harvey Middleton and Rodney Williams.

Cross Country Off and Running

The Georgia Tech men’s and women’s cross country teams will begin their 2011 campaigns just down the road at the UGA Invitational in Athens, Ga. on Saturday. The meet will be the first of the season for the Jackets, who return a multitude of athletes for the upcoming season. Mary Kate DuBard leads the way on the women’s side, after ending her 2010 season just one spot shy of a chance in the NCAA Championships. On the men’s side, the Jackets lose a leader in D.J. McMillan, but return a group of strong runners looking to make a stand in the ACC.

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