The Good Word

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

Well, I told you all this was going to be a fun ride. So far we haven’t been disappointed. What a whirlwind the last two weeks have been. The victory over Boston College was certainly as sweet as they come. And, as losses go, nobody likes `em, but that one to Virginia Tech last Saturday told us more about our players and coaches than any game I’ve seen in a long, long time. I think it continued to show us all what a great future we have ahead of us. Coach Johnson’s style and flair alone have captured the attention of the media and has put Georgia Tech on the national radar. We truly have something unique and exciting in the college football world.

I want to thank each and every one of you Tech fans for the enthusiasm you have shown and the words of encouragement we have received over the last few weeks. There seems to be a genuine optimism surrounding this new leader of our football program and the things he and his staff are going to bring to us in the years ahead. Heck, I think we’ve all had more fun in the last three weeks than we could have ever predicted. Imagine how exciting each week will be the rest of the way.

That being said, Coach Johnson and the guys need your help on Saturday when we welcome Mississippi State to the Flats. We are very hopeful to see another big, loud, spirited crowd on Saturday. After two weeks in some pretty hostile territory, our football team deserves a little home cookin’! They’re going to need that lift that the home field can bring if we wake up early and do it right. We need you there in force, and we need you there early as we have drawn the early (12 Noon) kickoff slot for this one.

Our opponent will not be an easy one. This is a program that is completely familiar with tough, hard-nosed football. It is a team that has been in many formidable road game challenges. They have a battle-proven coach and a team that has proven it can compete in the Southeastern Conference. I think that was evidenced by last week’s 3-2 loss to Auburn, which prompted one of our staff comics to observe that the Bulldogs could have pulled the game out with a “walk-off safety.”

This game is part of an exciting weekend at Tech, starting with our annual Hall of Fame induction on Friday night. Entering the Hall this year are basketball stars Matt Harpring and Kisha Ford, baseball great Mark Fischer, track and field star David Krummenacker, volleyball standout Andrea Nachtrieb and former golf coach, the ever popular Puggy Blackmon. Festivities take place at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. The inductees will also be introduced on the field at the game on Saturday.

It was great having interim president Dr. Gary Schuster and his wife, Anita, join us on the trip to Boston College earlier this month. Gary enjoyed the trip as he wrote in his blog (scroll down to September 12th entry).

Back on the football front, I hope you have all had a chance to hear Coach Johnson’s weekly radio show, which airs every Wednesday night from 7-8 p.m. The coach and Wes Durham appear live at the Fox Sports Grill at Atlantic Station. For the last two weeks the room has been overflowing with more than a hundred Tech fans enjoying food and drink and getting an opportunity to interact live with the coach. If you can’t make it down and can’t pick up the show on 790 The Zone, go to Ramblinwreck.com and hear the show free through the All-Access vehicle. My thanks to ISP Sports and AT&T for making this programming free over the Internet – but only on Ramblinwreck.com’s All-Access vehicle.

It is my hope that you will get familiar with all of our multi-media opportunities afforded through the web site, including podcasts, replays of press conferences, live game broadcasts and other specialty programming. Some are free and some are offered through the All-Access subscription service. It is a great way to maximize your access to Georgia Tech Athletics.

Again, it is important to get to campus early on Saturday, and when you do, don’t forget to line Yellow Jacket Alley when Coach Johnson leads the team to the locker room at approximately 9:30 a.m. Right after that, some of you may wish to walk over to the Bill Moore Tennis Center and catch our nationally-renowned women’s team taking on Georgia in doubles competition. This is part of a weekend-long four-team event with Arizona State and Princeton completing the field.

After that, I’d also like to invite you to come into the Edge Athletic Center and take a look at the work being done on our Yellow Jacket Museum. Still a work in progress, we have opened up the atrium space and created some new and different ways to chronicle our history. It will continue to change and improve in the coming months.

Here are some other notes of interest:

GAME DAY RECYCLING CONTINUES
Thanks a ton Game Day Recyclers! Our season opener and first Game Day Recycling for 2008 was a huge success with over a ton (1.01 tons actually) of aluminum, plastic and glass recycled inside the stadium and in the tailgating areas. Game Day Recycling will continue on Saturday. Georgia Tech Athletics has been working closely with numerous campus stakeholders and its vendors to initiate this program. In addition to focusing on the most populated tailgating areas around campus, this year we are introducing in-stadium recycling. Student volunteers will be handing out blue recycling bags to tailgaters. Please assist our student volunteers by using these blue bags for your aluminum, plastic and glass containers. Please do not place other waste in these bags. Your participation in expanding our campus-wide sustainability efforts, recycling programs and keeping our campus beautiful is greatly appreciated.

VOLLEYBALL: JACKETS OPEN ACC PLAY
Coach Bond Shymansky’s volleyball team, at 7-2 overall, is off to another good start. Tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. they open ACC play on the road against defending ACC champion Clemson as part of the Clemson Classic. You can watch the match live through ACC Select. A small fee is required. On Friday at 4 p.m., Tech will play Florida A&M in Clemson.

CROSS COUNTRY: IN KNOXVILLE FRIDAY
After opening the season two weeks ago, the cross country team returns to action Friday in Knoxville (Tenn.) for the 2008 Tennessee Invitational. The event begins with the women’s 5k race at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s 8k race at 6:15 p.m. Teams from Miami (Ohio), Chattanooga, Belmont and Bryan College will join Georgia Tech and host Tennessee in the field.

MEN’S TENNIS: FALL SEASON BEGINS IN ATHENS
Georgia Tech joins a number of strong teams Friday through Monday in Athens (Ga.) for the Southern Intercollegiate Championships to open the 2008-09 season.

SWIMMING & DIVING: SEASON OPENER NEXT WEEK
Coach Stu Wilson’s swimming and diving teams will open the season one week from Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla. The Jackets will swim against Florida Atlantic and Florida Gulf Coast.

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