The Good Word

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

This week’s Good Word may be somewhat abbreviated as I have just returned from several days of meetings in Florida with ACC Athletic Directors, Faculty Reps and administrators. Nonetheless, I return with a full plate over the next few days and want to bring you into the loop as well.

Tonight, I will join Coach Paul Johnson, MaChelle Joseph and Wes Durham for our second Spring Caravan stop…this time in Macon at the Idle Hour Country Club. Our first stop at the Cobb Galleria was a success by all measures and we look forward to touching as many of you as possible in the coming weeks. Next Tuesday the 19th we’ll be at the 1818 Club in Gwinnett County, and the following Tuesday the 26th we’ll appear at The Farm Golf Club near Dalton. Click here for the full schedule of Spring Caravan stops. There is no admission to attend these events. We ask only that you go on line and register so we’ll know you plan to attend.

We’ll only be back for a few hours before heading off to Shirley C. Mewborn Field for the opening session of our NCAA Regional Softball Tournament. Our ACC Champion Yellow Jackets face No. 4 seed Boston University on Friday night at 7:30. No. 2 Iowa takes on No. 3 Auburn in the session’s opening game at 5 p.m. Three games are scheduled for Saturday in the double-elimination affair at 1:00, 3:30 and 6:00 p.m., with the Championship game played on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 and 3:30, if necessary. Come on out to a great facility and enjoy a tremendous family event. Tickets are just $10 and $7. Click here to purchase your tickets.

Meanwhile in College Station, TX, Bryan Shelton’s women’s tennis team, seeded No. 9, opens play in the Round of 16, taking on California on Friday at 4 p.m. (EDT). Bryan and the ladies have had another magnificent year and are hoping for a run deep into the tournament. You can follow the action with our live scoring feature, accessible from Ramblinwreck.com.

Live scoring is also available if you care to follow the exploits of our men’s golf team as they compete in Bowling Green, KY for the right to move on to the national tournament the following week. Bruce Heppler’s team needs a top 5 finish among the 13 competing teams in the 54-hole event to move on to the big show. If the Jackets can pull it off, it would mark our 11th appearance in the national tournament in the past 12 years.

Danny Hall’s baseball team is fresh off a series win vs. Florida State last weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium. They have a lot a stake in a regular season ending three game series at Duke this weekend. With a great weekend, the Jackets have an opportunity to secure the No. 1 seed heading into the ACC Tournament which begins next Wednesday in Durham, NC. Our staff has been busily completing our bid documentation in hopes of securing an NCAA Regional Tournament at Georgia Tech in two weeks. We should have information on the status of that opportunity sometime next week as well.

I did want to provide a quick recap of our ACC meetings which included lengthy discussions about our next television contract which will be negotiated to begin in the 2011-12 year. Coinciding with that critical piece is the landscape with regard to our post-season bowl ties. No doubt these two issues are a huge key to the future success of our conference and will command much time and energy from not only the league officials but our member institutions as well. I believe we are well positioned to solidify our long-range financial and exposure goals, but much due-diligence will be required in the coming months. I will keep you updated as this process plays out.

As you might imagine, there was much discussion about marketing initiatives and cost-cutting initiatives and their relationship to one another. Every school in our conference is facing difficult economic decisions that are requiring a fresh look at how we conduct our business. I know I have written plenty in this space about our situation. Suffice to say, we are not alone. That being said, there continues to be great optimism for the future of college athletics and both short and long term.

Just prior to my departure from Florida, I had a golden opportunity to have lunch with 23 Georgia Tech supporters and loyalists and spend a little time talking about the Yellow Jackets. It was by far the highlight of my week. Thanks to Mindy Hyde of our Alexander-Tharpe Fund for pulling together the luncheon and to Tech grads Hawley Smith, Chris Verlander and Jay Demetree for sponsoring the effort.

Finally…. 2009 football season ticket sales: 23,655! Let’s keep it moving upward.

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