The Good Word

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

On Sunday around noon, head coach Paul Johnson, his coaching staff and the 2012 edition of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket football team will board our Delta Air Lines charter bound for Roanoke, Va. While the mountains of Virginia can be an awe-inspiring sight this time of year, it goes without saying that this trip is all business. It’s the start of what we anticipate will be a very promising season. And what a start it is! Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech, the only two programs that have ever represented the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship Game, will open the season with an epic battle on Labor Day evening in Blacksburg. Kickoff comes at 8:01 p.m. with a national television audience watching on ESPN and a loud sellout crowd at Lane Stadium.

OK, have I gotten your attention? Greetings, Yellow Jacket fans and welcome to the start of a new year in our sports world here at Georgia Tech. Preseason practice for the football Jackets has gone well, and coaches and players are busily putting the final touches on game preparations for Monday night. The test is formidable. Our opening night opponent is the most successful program in the ACC since the turn of the century. Even so, I’m confident our team will not blink. We will be well-prepared and confident. So it is with season openers. Everyone is undefeated at this point and optimism abounds.

Road Trip Uncovered
I’ve been asked on a number of occasions about our road game routine under Coach Johnson, so here’s a quick look at what’ll take place this weekend. There will be approximately 130 people in our traveling party. Between players, coaches, trainers, managers and other support staff and a few special guests, it takes a lot of folks to operate a football program.

The entire party will leave from the Edge Building on campus via buses about an hour before departure just before noon Sunday. We board the flight from the tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson after going through TSA wand screening outside the aircraft. Upon arrival at Roanoke we will enjoy the hour-long bus ride over to Blacksburg for a walk-through at Lane Stadium. The players will change into warm-ups and spend about an hour on the game field.

The group will return to Roanoke, where we’ll be headquartered Sunday evening. The players’ time from that point is spent in various team functions, meals and meetings. Game day is always a tense occasion and the ride from the hotel is generally a pretty quiet one. Once we all arrive at the stadium, about two hours prior to kick off, this becomes the longest waiting period you can imagine. Like all of you I suppose, my staff and I churn through every aspect and every play of the game.

When the dust settles Monday night there are many post-game responsibilities. Players shower and change and some require medical treatment or attention. There are press conferences and interviews to complete and much buttoning up to be done before we roll back toward Roanoke for the flight home. If we’re lucky, we’ll be in flight somewhere around 1 a.m., on the ground in Atlanta around 2:30, back on campus at 3. On Tuesday morning we will begin our week of preparation for the home opener just four days away. Players will make class, coaches will begin to game-plan, and we’ll go to work. I can’t think of a better way to spend Labor Day. Can you?

Ticket Milestone Reached
We reached somewhat of a football ticket milestone this week as our season ticket total for 2012 surpassed our total number of season tickets for last season. This marks the first time in four years we have seen a year-over-year increase in season ticket sales. Currently, we have sold 23,350 season tickets compared to 23,265 in 2011. And, with still a week to go and a three-hour national television advertisement on Monday night, we’re hoping this year’s number climbs even higher before we take on Presbyterian at 7 p.m. on September 8th.

The Look of Success
I’m sure you know by now that our football team practiced on Wednesday with new white helmets that incorporated a hexagonal design. The helmets being worn this week at practice are not a finished product, as the GT logo and additional striping will be added prior to their debut.

If and when we choose to wear the new helmet this season, they need to be fitted and practiced in by our players. The photos that have appeared in the media are not the final product, and fans should not read much into when and where they might be debuted.

We’ve worked hard in the offseason with our apparel partner Russell Athletic to enhance the uniform designs we already have in our mix. This is not to say that we are necessarily changing from the designs we played in last year. In fact, there are a few iterations of those uniforms that have not been worn yet. We’re all excited – most of all our players – we have a number of different, new and exciting looks to choose from.

Great News From McCamish Pavilion
Last Friday it was with great pleasure that I received the following e-mail from Trevor Pitt, Project Manager with Whiting-Turner Construction, concerning McCamish Pavilion.

“I am pleased to announce that WT was issued a Certificate of Occupancy this morning from the State Fire Marshal after his 100% inspection of the building. All life safety systems worked flawlessly, and the inspection went very well. At this time, it is acceptable to walk the building without hard hats. WT and our subcontractors will be putting the finishing touches on some of the cosmetic elements of the building this coming week, and finishing our final building cleaning.” Friday, we will have a complete walkthrough and inspection of the facility as we get ever closer to substantial completion. Punch list items will be addressed throughout early September. Then, we look forward to getting all of you into the building for a look-see.

If you are a season ticket holder in men’s or women’s basketball you will soon receive an invitation to an exclusive open house on Sept. 19 from 6-8 p.m. Other fans and those interested in the facility or perhaps becoming a season ticket holder will have opportunities to tour the building on football Saturdays beginning with the Miami game on Sept. 22nd. McCamish Pavilion will be open to the public three hours prior to our kickoff time and will close one hour before kickoff. We will have staff members on hand to answer questions and to talk to you about ticket options in the new facility.

Beginning on Monday, September 24th we will have a fully functioning sales office set up at the building with convenient parking and access. Stay tuned for more information on how to access and visit the sales office.

Here’s a photo gallery you might enjoy.

Volleyball Off to the Races
Congratulations to seniors Bailey Hunter and Monique Mead who led coach Tonya Johnson’s volleyball team past SMU in five sets (17-25, 25-17, 25-20, 24-26, 15-12) in the final game of the Courtyard Invitational last weekend. That victory capped a great opening weekend in which the Jackets topped Charleston Southern and Cal State Fullerton prior to the exciting finale against SMU.

Now it’s on the road for the Jackets as they travel to Bloomington, Ind., for the Indiana Invitational. The opening match there is Friday night vs. Bowling Green.

Monday’s Game On WatchESPN, Not ESPN3
Monday’s Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech football game will be televised nationally on ESPN, and will be carried, of course, on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network. You can also watch the game on the WatchESPN app. However, it will not be carried live on the ESPN3.com format. How fans can access WatchESPN- http://espn.go.com/watchespn/faq

Need Information On Tech Football Games?
Georgia Tech has created a Gameday Central page that’s a one-stop source of information for Yellow Jacket fans.

This site provide information such as game time, TV network, radio network, parking, directions, weather, social media, statistics, rosters, game notes and more.

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