The Good Word

March 1, 2012

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

At long last we have a 2012 football schedule. It looks like we’ll have a memorable September with a nationally-televised Labor Day opener at Virginia Tech and four home games to begin the celebration of the 100th season of Grant Field.

I know what some of you are thinking with four consecutive games at home in September: It sure can be hot that time of year. Well, that’s a fact we deal with, along with Miami, Florida State, Clemson and really up into the Carolinas. I want to be clear: our preference is and always has been to play our September games at night and we will make every effort to do so as many times as the TV networks allow it.

I have already instructed our staff to list the Presbyterian and Middle Tennessee State games as 7 p.m. kickoffs, while trying to make a case that night or late afternoon games are strongly preferred as the potential of television coverage is discussed between the networks and the ACC. Conference games with Virginia and Miami obviously are more likely to be highly coveted by television networks, so those games may have a higher likelihood of being played in the afternoon. All of this, as college football fans have come to know, is just conjecture. TV windows are generally noon, 3:30 and 7:30 and the slots are filled as executives look for matchups, specific networks and time zones that make sense sometimes only to them.

No matter what, we are anxious to play the schedule as it presents itself, and I hope you, our fans, are as well. Over the years, Georgia Tech has given you a team that wins frequently at home. Under Paul Johnson the Jackets are 20-6 (.760 win percentage) at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia Tech gives you a team that scores a lot as well. The Jackets, under Johnson, average 31.8 points per game when playing on the Flats. Plus, the Jackets average more yards per play than any other conference opponent since Johnson has taken over in 2008. Only Virginia Tech has a better conference record than Georgia Tech over the last six years, and twice in that period, we’ve played in the ACC Championship Game. On top of it all, our team has consistently ranked in the Top 25 and been to bowl games 15 consecutive years.

Our ticket prices at Tech are among the lowest season ticket costs of any team in the ACC. We have lowered our top season ticket price for this year’s seven-game home schedule by more than $100 from last year – even lower for some groups. There is “New Alumni” pricing on season tickets, faculty-staff pricing, Letterwinners discounts and group pricing. We may not be able to control the September heat, but I can promise a great effort from a quality football program and student-athletes who are a cut above.

If you are interested in becoming a season ticket holder for the 2012 season simply click here to be directed to our ticket site.

A 3-D Look at McCamish Pavilion Sightlines
I am excited to report we have just launched a three-dimensional, virtual seating map of the new McCamish Pavilion, which will open in November as the home for Yellow Jacket men’s and women’s basketball.

Developed by Ballena Technologies, the 3D seats platform is used at collegiate and professional sports venues across the country. The mechanism will give fans the first opportunity to view sightlines from every section inside McCamish Pavilion. The link to the 3D seating map as well as ticket information and other McCamish Pavilion items can be found here: www.ramblinwreck.com/mccamishpavilion.

I hope you will take a moment to check out the Ballena model. Just remember, some of the cosmetic features inside the 3D map – the court design and graphics, for example – are only for display purposes and will likely have a different look when the facility opens in seven months.

Current men’s basketball season ticket holders will soon be able to use the map to select their seats. Based on A-T priority points, current season ticket holders will be assigned a specific date and time to log into the system to choose their desired seats.

If you are interested in becoming a new season ticket holder, I encourage you to make a reservation online. By making a reservation, which requires a $50 deposit, you will have a priority before a general public sale (if available) occurs in July. Deadline to join the reservation list is May 1, 2012.

For more information on McCamish Pavilion and the seat selection process, please contact the Georgia Tech Ticket Office at 888-832-4849 or visit www.ramblinwreck.com/mccamishpavilion.

As another assist in learning about our new home, you can access a PDF of our new McCamish Pavilion printed publication, which is in the mail right now to current and past basketball season ticket holders, and TECH Fund contributors. The publication should be delivered to you in the coming days, wrapped in the same package with the latest edition of Buzz Magazine.

Men’s Basketball Home Saturday, Women at ACC Tournament
While Coach Brian Gregory’s men’s basketball team finishes its regular season Saturday with a noon game vs. Wake Forest at Philips Arena, the women’s team of Coach MaChelle Joseph is off to the ACC Tournament in Greensboro this weekend. Our ladies, who earned the league’s No. 4 seed in the tournament, will play Friday at 11 a.m. vs. the winner of a Thursday opening-round game between North Carolina and Clemson. Our women’s team is in great position to make its sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. I wish them the best to bring home an ACC championship!

Baseball Weekend Ahead
Danny Hall’s 12th-ranked baseball Jackets are at home this weekend to take on Rutgers in a three-game set. Game times are Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Also, I’m happy to report Coach Hall has agreed to a new five-year contract to remain here at Tech at least through 2016. Now in his 25th season as a head coach and 19th on the Flats, Hall is six victories shy of becoming just the 46th Division I baseball coach to reach 1,000 career wins. Entering 2012, he was ranked in the top 15 among active Division I coaches in winning percentage and in the top 20 among active D-I coaches in number of victories.

Softball Hosting Buzz Classic
Coach Sharon Perkins’ softball team is also in action in the area this weekend, but not on campus. The annual Buzz Classic takes place at Twin Creeks Softball Complex in Woodstock with a host of schools coming to town. Our Jackets open play Friday at 5 p.m. vs. Winthrop and then play two games on both Saturday and Sunday. We’ll play Western Kentucky at 1 p.m. and Tennessee-Martin at 4 p.m. Saturday and on Sunday the opponents are Southeastern Louisiana at 10 a.m. and Elon at noon. Because wet weather is expected, the schedule could change and it is possible part of the tournament could move to Mewborn Field and/or Kennesaw State. We’ll do our best to keep you informed of last-minute changes on RamblinWreck.com.

Golfers in Tallahassee
Coach Bruce Heppler takes our nationally-ranked golf team down to Tallahassee, starting March 9th, for their third tournament appearance of the spring season. A strong field is expected for the three-day event to be played at the Southwood Golf Club for the first time instead of the Seminoles’ regular home course near campus.

NCAA Bylaw News
You may have seen recently where the membership of the NCAA failed to override a new bylaw allowing schools to grant multi-year scholarships to student-athletes. Until this new rule was passed, all grants-in-aid were for one year and had to be renewed each year. For what it’s worth, Georgia Tech supported the proposed override that would have tabled the new rule. We do not support the notion that a problem exists with the one-year model. Conversations with a number of our colleagues at other institutions further supported our stance.

I cannot recall any instances in my six years at Tech where we failed to renew a students’ aid for any of the popularly held “media” reasons for implementing the rule. We simply did not want to support a rule that affects such a small population of student-athletes. Despite that, the override attempt fell short by a few votes and the rule is now on the books.

Men’s Tennis Hosts First ACC Match
Head coach Kenny Thorne’s team is at the Bill Moore Tennis Center this weekend for its first Atlantic Coast Conference home match against Clemson at 12 noon on Sunday. It is the first of four home matches in the month of March, a schedule which continues with Miami on March 13, Boston College on March 23 and Maryland on March 25. All home matches are free of charge, and parking is available on Fowler and 8th Streets. Tech has the nation’s 7th-ranked singles player in Kevin King playing at the top of its lineup, as well as the No. 2 doubles team in King and Juan Spir.

Women’s Tennis Set For ACC Play
Coach Bryan Shelton’s 16th-ranked tennis team will open ACC play against the No. 34 Clemson Tigers in a 2 p.m. match March 7 at the Bill Moore Tennis Center. The Yellow Jackets have faced a daunting schedule and will play their second of only three home matches in the months of February and March. After facing the Tigers, the Jackets head on a five-match road trip until the final weekend of March. Senior Jillian O’Neill is the top-ranked Jacket at No. 19 nationally in singles. Classmate Caroline Lilley is ranked No. 79 and junior Elizabeth Kilborn is No. 81. Tech’s top doubles team of O’Neill and Anghelescu are ranked No. 8 in the latest college tennis poll.

Last Chance for Track
Some members of the Georgia Tech men’s and women’s track and field teams will be back in action this weekend at the Last Chance Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. The meet signifies the last weekend to qualify for the NCAA Indoor National Championships. The Jackets saw much success their last time in Birmingham, including a school record set at the Vulcan Invitational. Many Tech athletes have a shot at earning a spot in the elite championship meet to be held in Boise, Idaho on March 9 and 10.

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