The Good Word

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

I hope you are enjoying a great summer and as the calendar has turned to August, we’ve begun to look forward to another academic year in Georgia Tech Athletics. With football and volleyball right around the corner, we are preparing for a great time here on the Flats.

This will be such a big year for Georgia Tech Athletics as we anxiously await the opening of the magnificent McCamish Pavilion, the completion of the Ken Byers Tennis Complex and the opportunity for us to host college basketball’s 75th Final Four here in Atlanta as well as the NCAA men’s golf championship. I believe 2012-13 will be a landmark year in the history of our program.

Fan Day is Saturday
I hope you are all excited to make a trip down to Tech this Saturday when we host our annual Fan Day at Bobby Dodd Stadium. You’ll have an opportunity to meet the players and coaches, get autographs and pictures, and generally enjoy an afternoon of fun and revelry with thousands of your fellow Yellow Jacket fans. The festivities begin on Callaway Plaza at 3 p.m. with music, games, inflatables and other family activities. The stadium gates on the north side will open at 4 p.m. for access to the field and your chance to visit with players and coaches.

This year there is a slightly new twist with our season ticket holders accessing a separate line at the entry gate, which will allow them to enter the field first for quicker access to the players and coaches. We also have a number of new activities inside the stadium this year including the opportunity for you to see yourself and have pictures taken on the stadium’s video board we call MegaJacketTron!

I know you will all enjoy meeting the members of our 2012 football team as they are a great group of young men who represent the Institute with pride.

Ticket Sales
Ticket sales are going well for both the football and basketball seasons. Very soon we will surpass the total number of football season tickets sold in 2011 as we currently approach 23,000. Also encouraging is our men’s basketball season ticket sales which just became available to the general public. Those sales have already surpassed last year’s total. Volleyball season tickets are also on sale now.

I encourage you to get on board as a season ticket holder and encourage your friends, neighbors and business associates to do the same. There are many different plans and price-ranges for you and your friends to become part of the Tech family. Remember, our season ticket holders are the life-blood of the athletic program. A strong season ticket base is the single biggest catalyst for us to stay competitive and for our teams to perform at the highest level.

By now, most of you know how to purchase tickets or get any Georgia Tech ticket information you are seeking. Either visit our web site at www.ramblinwreck.com/tickets or call 1-888-TECH-TIX (1-888-832-4849).

Kickoff Luncheon is the 24th
I want to remind you of one other important pre-season date and that’s Friday, Aug. 24. This is the date of our annual Kickoff Luncheon, held again at the Cobb Galleria with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. We’ve got a lot of material ready for this year’s event which has become one of the most anticipated gatherings on our yearly calendar. You’ll see the Yellow Jacket Marching Band, cheerleaders and Buzz, be able to browse Georgia Tech merchandise for the upcoming season and catch the last video clips that will get you fired up for the season.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Georgia Tech alum and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, who will talk about his experiences in space and his love of Yellow Jacket football. We’ll also hear from John Brock, distinguished Georgia Tech alumnus and supporter, who is CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises, one of the world’s most dynamic companies. Wes Durham, the voice of the Jackets, will emcee the affair and of course we’ll have a Q&A with several players and Coach Paul Johnson will give his-last minute assessment of the upcoming season. Again, visit the website to purchase individual tickets for the luncheon or a table for your friends or business.

Countdown to McCamish Pavilion
It’s not too early to start looking toward the opening of McCamish Pavilion. While our opening basketball weekend of November 9th and 11th will be a blockbuster indeed, we will have a number of opportunities for fans to tour the building in September and October.

There will be a season ticket holder look-in on Wednesday, Sept. 19th in which all men’s and women’s basketball season ticket holders will have access to the building for tours. We will also have McCamish Pavilion open to the public on several football Saturdays beginning with the September 22nd Miami game. Generally, the public will be able to access the arena approximately three hours prior to kickoff up until one hour before the start of the football game.

Finally, we are planning a major event on October 21st called Jacket Jam. This will be a full blown dress rehearsal of all of the Pavilion’s operations as we prepare for the 2012-13 season. We’ll have scrimmages by the men’s and women’s teams, music and other entertainment and a meet and greet with players and coaches. We are making a special effort to reach out to Georgia Tech students for this event and there will be contests and giveaways directed at energizing the student body for the inaugural season and beyond.

Opening night at McCamish Pavilion is Friday Nov. 9th and will feature Brian Gregory’s men’s team vs. Tulane. On Sunday Nov. 11th MaChelle Joseph’s nationally-ranked women’s team will face national powerhouse Tennessee in their first appearance in the new digs. Needless to say we have many exciting surprises in the works so that we open the new era with a bang. There will be more details on all of these McCamish Pavilion events in the coming weeks.

Summer Graduation Kudos
Finally today I want to hail the accomplishment of 17 current and former Georgia Tech student-athletes who are candidates to graduate this semester. Graduation ceremonies are set for Friday at 7 p.m. in the Fox Theatre.

The graduate candidates include current starting quarterback Tevin Washington, who will lead the Yellow Jackets’ football team this year as a graduate of Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business. Washington will be the first Tech quarterback to play his final season as a graduate since George Godsey in 2001.

Several former student-athletes are summer ’12 graduation candidates, including former basketball stars B.J. Elder (`01-`05) and Zach Peacock (’06-’10), and former Tech football players Jamal Cox (’91-’94) and Chris Reis (’02-’05).

Elder was part of Tech’s national runner-up team in 2004, played on two NCAA teams and one NIT team. Peacock played on two NCAA teams in 2007 and 2010. Both Elder and Peacock continue to play professionally in Europe.

Reis played a central role in a crucial play during Super Bowl XLIV when he recovered an onside kick for the Saints at the beginning of the second half.

All four of these athletes participated in Georgia Tech Degree Completion Program, designed to help former athletes who leave early in pursuit of their professional sports to return and complete their Georgia Tech degree.

Here is a complete list of our summer 2012 graduates.

Again, hope to see many of you Saturday for some Fun on The Flats!

Preseason Central
Make sure to follow our “Preseason Central” section on RamblinWreck.com for the very latest news from the football practice field. Players reported earlier today, so the first bits of information have already been posted.

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