The Good Word

Feb. 16, 2012

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

This is the time of year when the activity around our place here at Georgia Tech begins to hit a fever pitch. With both basketball teams in their regular season stretch drives and as many as seven other sports engaged in competition, we really get to enjoy the talents of our student-athletes and coaches.

I am back from a recent set of Atlantic Coast Conference meetings and I can tell you that there are more discussions of major reform throughout the NCAA under President Mark Emmert’s leadership. You have no doubt heard about the issues related to stipends for student-athletes, up to the cost of attendance, and multi-year scholarships, which are still being discussed. There are other rules and policy changes emanating from various committees that we will have more information on as we roll further into the spring semester.

And don’t be surprised if there are some tweaks to the BCS structure as we now know it. I have no inside information at this time, but I’ll keep you posted through this column and through other mediums as time goes on.

All attention at the ACC this week is focused on completing the league’s football schedules for 2012. There is some late shuffling occurring with some conference schools that has delayed the final release. We expect some closure within a matter of days.

Campus Safety Takes the Forefront
I hope you had a chance to read the AJC editorial from last Sunday regarding campus safety at Georgia Tech. This is clearly a top priority of President Bud Peterson and GT Police Chief Teresa Crocker. Georgia Tech has made many strides in improving the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. I think the editorial showed these good works by many here on our campus in a very positive light. I know our coaches feel good in reassuring parents of current and prospective students about the care and concern given to this issue. Please click here to read the editorial.

Softball Off To Fast Start
You really begin to feel that spring is upon us when our softball and baseball teams begin play. Coach Sharon Perkins’ softball Jackets got off to a blazing start last weekend, winning four of five games at a tournament in Tempe, Ariz., including a 2-1 victory over 8th-ranked Arizona and a 6-5 walk-off win over No. 20 Nebraska. They then returned for a home-opening doubleheader sweep of Furman yesterday at Shirley Mewborn Field.

This weekend the competition continues to be high-caliber with tournament play at Auburn. Our squad will face No. 2 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 18 Oklahoma State and host Auburn over the action-packed weekend.

Don’t forget you can catch the play-by-play of all of our softball games streamed live at ramblinwreck.com. There will also be video streaming of all home games available on the website.

Baseball Jackets Open on the Road, Home next weekend
Coach Danny Hall’s baseball team will open the season on the road this year – a change from protocol of recent years. The 9th-ranked Jackets take on Kent State and Winthrop in a day-night doubleheader Friday in Rock Hill, S.C. The weekend continues Saturday vs. Kent State and a Sunday finale vs. host Winthrop. After a mid-week trip to Georgia Southern next Wednesday, the Jackets’ home opening weekend features a three-game set vs. Ohio State February 24-26.

There is a comprehensive television and radio package for the 2012 season, which includes six regular-season television broadcasts on the ESPN Networks, eight on CSS-TV and the UGA game at Turner Field will be on FS South or Sports South. All 56 regular-season games will be broadcast on WREK radio. In addition to the 15 television games — tying the most for Tech in a single regular-season (2003) — every non-TV home game will be streamed live on RamblinWreck.com.

@GT_Baseball Lead Off Celebration
We are also in the midst of our 2012 @GT_Baseball Lead Off celebration, which includes 12 days of great prizes in Twitter Trivia and culminates in a “Meet The Jackets” event on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Russ Chandler Stadium, following the Ohio State game.

Be sure to follow the Yellow Jackets on Twitter (@GT_Baseball) as we’ll post a daily Tech baseball-themed trivia question and give away great prizes. Daily winners will earn points toward the grand prize — a pair of 2012 baseball season tickets! Daily prizes include Tech baseball caps, shirts, autographed posters and much more. The grand prize winner will be announced Friday, February 24. Entry is simple. Follow the Jackets on Twitter and tune in each morning for the day’s question.

Meet The Jackets February 25
Meet The Jackets is planned for Saturday, Feb. 25, immediately following Georgia Tech’s 2 p.m. game against Ohio State. Fans are encouraged to stick around for tours of Russ Chandler Stadium, get on the field and get autographs from the 2012 Yellow Jackets. There will be giveaways and prizes, including a game-worn Tech baseball throwback jersey. You’ll need a ticket for the game, but admission to Meet The Jackets is free! For more information on tickets, please call 1-888-TECH-TIX or visit www.RamblinWreck.com/tickets.

Women’s Hoops Strong Again
I continue to encourage our fans to get on board with coach MaChelle Joseph’s women’s basketball program. The Jackets will go after their 19th victory of the season and ninth ACC win tonight at Wake Forest. Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m. Our ladies had a huge road victory over 22nd-ranked North Carolina last weekend and appear on their way to their sixth consecutive NCAA appearance.

You’ll have a great opportunity to catch the team at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Sunday at 2 p.m. when they host Boston College. This is the Yellow Jackets annual pink game. Tickets are only $2 for fans that wear pink to the game.

Men’s Team Working to Improve
Coach Brian Gregory continues to pursue improvement in our men’s basketball program. I admire the way he and the coaching staff have stayed positive and continue to make strides in teaching and mentoring our men’s basketball team on and off the court. I see a great future for this program as we infuse some outstanding recruits and move into the new McCamish Pavilion next fall.

In the meantime, the Jackets will visit Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Saturday. I hope you’ll try to get out to Philips Arena next week to show these hard-working kids your support. We’ll face Clemson on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. and Maryland at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday the 25th.

Don’t forget the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament comes to Philips Arena in Atlanta the 8th through the 11th of March.

Tech Well-Represented in ACC Post-Graduate Awards
I am so proud that Georgia Tech’s Heidi Hatteberg (swimming), Kate Kuzma (softball) and Viet Ha Ngo (tennis) were three of 36 Atlantic Coast Conference student-athletes selected Monday to receive the Weaver-James-Corrigan Award.

Each will receive $5,000 to contribute to their graduate education. Those honored have performed with distinction in both the classroom and their respective sports, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community.

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford also announced that Hatteberg is one of three ACC student-athletes who will receive the Thacker Award. Recipients of the award must demonstrate outstanding performance both in athletic competition and in the classroom and intend to further their education through postgraduate studies at an ACC institution.

Yellow Jacket golfer James White was also honored by the league office Monday. White was one of six ACC student-athletes selected as Honorary Weaver-James-Corrigan Award winners, which goes annually to those who excel on and off the field, but will pursue a career in professional sports.

Four Football Players on All-ACC Academic Team
Georgia Tech placed four student-athletes on the 2011 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Football Team, released Tuesday morning by the league office.

Yellow Jacket seniors Preston Lyons, Jason Peters and Logan Walls, and redshirt sophomore Will Jackson represent Georgia Tech on the 52-man squad.

Tech has placed four players on the All-ACC Academic Team three times in Paul Johnson’s four-year tenure in Atlanta.

To be eligible for consideration, a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career. The ACC has selected an All-ACC Academic Football team every year since 1954.

Coach Hart Selected to Swimming and Diving Committee
Georgia Tech swimming and diving head coach Courtney Shealy Hart has been appointed to serve on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Committee. Hart’s three-year term begins for the 2012-13 season.

Hart is in her third year at the helm, and the Yellow Jackets’ program has made great strides under her leadership. The team broke eight school records last season, and this season has seen a record seven student-athletes qualify for the United States Olympic Trials.

Track To Head To ACCs
After back-to-back-to-back weekend of competition, the track and field squads will take the weekend off this weekend before they head out to the ACC Championships from February 23-25. The meet will take place at the Reggie Lewis Track and Field Center in Boston, Mass, a change from the typical host site of Virginia Tech. Tech track has continued to shine in the 2012 indoor season as school records have fallen and many personal bests have been achieved. The team looks to keep the success going into the conference championship.

Morrow To Participate In NBA 3-Point Contest
Former Georgia Tech star Anthony Morrow has been selected to participate in the NBA’s Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Amway Center in Orlando as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night.

Morrow, in his fourth NBA season and second season with New Jersey, is averaging 13.9 points per game this season and hitting 41.7 percent of his three-point shots for the Nets. He has played in 28 games, starting 18. The 6-5 native of Charlotte, N.C., played at Tech from 2005-08 and finished his career as the Institute’s 19th all-time leading scorer with 1,400 points. He was an undrafted free agent signee of the Golden State Warriors, with whom he played his first two seasons in the NBA.

Women’s Tennis Heads North
The women’s tennis team advanced to their sixth straight ITA National Indoor Team Championships last weekend and are currently ranked No. 13. Head Coach Bryan Shelton believes this is one of his deepest and strongest teams, and has even made some early comparisons to the 2007 team which won the NCAA title. The Jackets will head north to face No. 12 Northwestern and No. 24 Notre Dame next weekend. Tech opens its ACC season at home against 15th-ranked Clemson on March 7.

Men’s Tennis Completes Non-Conference Slate
Our men’s tennis team is at home Sunday for a 12 noon match against Wisconsin, which will be the final tuneup of the non-conference season before Atlantic Coast Conference play begins next week. We have the nation’s No. 2-ranked doubles team in senior Kevin King and junior Juan Spir, who are undefeated at 8-0 this spring, while King is ranked No. 9 nationally in singles with a 7-2 spring record. Admission is free to all home matches, and parking is available along Fowler Street or on 8th Street.

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