The Good Word

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

Hope this renewal of my bi-weekly edition of The Good Word finds you in great spirits and enjoying the final weeks of summer. I don’t have to tell you how much excitement is in the air here on the Flats.

Football season is upon us, our student-athletes are arriving daily for the new academic year, improvement projects are being completed, tickets are moving briskly and all in all it’s a great time to be a Yellow Jacket. Please accept my sincere thanks to all of you who are firmly on board and have shown your support in so many ways. While many college football programs are experiencing significant downturns in season tickets sales, our Georgia Tech fans have responded with an increase over last season approaching 10 percent.

I hope to see many of you this weekend, when our first official event – The Great Yellow Jacket Encounter – takes place at Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday afternoon. We will have music, games, food and fun on Callaway Plaza beginning at 3 p.m. At 4 p.m., we will open the tunnel entrance to Grant Field where fans will be able to meet, take photographs and gather autographs (one item per player or coach, please) from our 2009 Yellow Jacket football team. Admission and parking is free, so bring the family to participate in one of the more enjoyable afternoons we spend each year.

There are a couple of added bonuses to this year’s Encounter. During the afternoon, members of our Volleyball team, under new coach Tonya Johnson, will be greeting fans and signing autographs on Callaway Plaza. I hope you’ll plan to say hello to the student-athletes and to Tonya, and wish them the best for their upcoming season which begins August 28th.

Also, fans will get a sneak peak at some of the improvements to Bobby Dodd Stadium. We will have the new video board – dubbed MegaJacketTron (MJT for short) – active on Saturday along with the new sound system. Some of the other components – like ribbon boards, scoreboards and additional graphics work – is ongoing and won’t be fully complete for another week or two.

Beginning next week we will begin mailing our season tickets. As usual, this mailing will contain a few items, such as the annual Fan Guide, in addition to your game tickets. For those of you who have achieved an A-T level, that entitles you to receive a Football Media Guide, I want to make you aware of one significant change. This year the media guide will be presented to you on a CD, as opposed to the printed publication. Also on the CD – formatted for use in your computer – is our 2008 football highlight video.

This format change is a cost-cutting measure. Like most schools, we have drastically reduced the number of printed media guides being produced. In fact, it is possible that by next year, all printed media guides may be eliminated across the board in college athletics. You will find that our CD has the entire media guide in an easily viewable format that you can view on your computer screen page by page. A limited number of printed media guides will be available for purchase at the Great Yellow Jacket Encounter this weekend. The media guide table will be set up near the tunnel on Callaway Plaza. Printed media guides on Saturday will be $20 (cash only).

So after you enjoy the Great Yellow Jacket Encounter, and then look forward to the arrival of your tickets, what else do you need to be aware of? From the football standpoint, I need to prod you on our newly conceived “Can’t Wait Til’ Kickoff Football Luncheon.” This event will take place on Friday, August 28th at the Cobb Galleria. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. It promises to be a great Georgia Tech gathering. The marching band, cheerleaders, dance team, the Ramblin’ Wreck and Buzz will provide the backdrop for some great fun. Coach Paul Johnson will provide insight to the coming season and you will meet several of our top players who will give their perspective.

There are several surprises in store. We’ve lined up some other special guests and there will be video components that promises to get you fired-up for the 2009 season. You’ll also be able to purchase your 2009 game apparel and merchandise as Tailgaters Alley will be on hand. Tickets to the luncheon are $35 and you can reserve tables of 10 if you’d like. It’s easy to do by clicking here or call the ticket office at 1-888-TECH-TIX.

For those fans looking to travel to football games on the road, our travel partner Champion Sports Tours, is arranging fan travel to Vanderbilt, Miami and potentially other destinations. As details become available they will be accessible through the Champion Travel button on the front page of www.ramblinwreck.com.

And here’s one more important reminder… Don’t forget the men’s basketball season ticket renewal deadline is next Friday (August 14). More than 50 percent of our basketball season ticket holders have already renewed. There is a tremendous amount of optimism permeating our men’s basketball program as we welcome an extremely promising freshman class and a bevy of experienced returnees. Don’t miss out. Once we get past the renewal deadline, we will be launching an all-out basketball sales effort led by our Ticket Sales Team (The Aspire Group). Make sure you seal your order on time, either online, on the phone or in person.

Well, that’s enough to throw at you guys in my first post-summer column. All of us at Georgia Tech Athletics are looking forward to the coming year with great excitement. As always, it will be our goal to provide all of you with the best customer service we can achieve. I know we are all going to enjoy the coming months together.

Notebook

We are happy to report that 175 Georgia Tech student-athletes were named to the 2008-09 ACC Academic Honor Roll. To make the list a student-athlete must achieve a 3.0 grade-point average or better for the full academic year. Also, seven Yellow Jacket track athletes were named to the ACC Outdoor Track All-Academic Team and six softball players, including ACC Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year Whitney Haller, were named to the ACC All-Academic Team.

Congrats to juniors Josh Nesbitt (Davey O’Brien Award Watch List), Jonathan Dwyer (Preseason ACC Player of the Year and Doak Walker Award Watch List), Demaryius Thomas (Preseason All-ACC) and Morgan Burnett (Preseason All-ACC) for earning well-deserved preseason honors.

Coach Paul Hewitt’s men’s basketball team will face Dayton in the first round of the 2009 O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off, held Nov. 19-22 in San Juan. Nine of the 12 games in the eight-team tournament will be televised live on ESPN2 and ESPNU.

Our website (www.ramblinwreck.com) is drawing viewers in large numbers these days. Make sure to check out the “Practice Central” section where you can see several video interviews, photo galleries and a Q&A with Paul Johnson. We also have a large number of fans following us on the social networks:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gtathletics
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gtathletics
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/ramblinwrecktube

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