June 21, 2011
By Dan Goldberger
The 2010-11 season was another successful year on the Flats for Georgia Tech Athletics.
On the football field, the Yellow Jackets earned their 14th straight bowl appearance and third straight under head coach Paul Johnson with a trip to the Independence Bowl. The Jackets once again showed the nation they can move the ball by leading the country in rushing offense and became the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to accomplish this feat. Anthony Allen, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, rushed for more than 1,300 yards to give the Jackets a 1,000 yard rusher for the fifth consecutive year.
On the hardwood, the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team continued its rise to one of the best teams in the nation behind its fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Jackets posted a program-best 24 wins, which included a program-record 13-game winning streak during the season. This was the fifth straight year MaChelle Joseph’s squad won at least 20 games. Senior Alex Montgomery was named an Honorable Mention All-American and became the first Yellow Jacket to be drafted in the first round of the WNBA Draft, when the New York Liberty selected the wing 10th overall.
A new era has been born on the men’s side, as Brian Gregory was named head coach of the Yellow Jackets on March 28, 2011. Gregory has assembled a staff that includes assistant coaches Chad Dollar, Josh Postorino and Billy Schmidt. We look forward to some big things in the near future from the Tech men’s basketball program.
The last six months have also been a huge boost to the Georgia Tech Football and Basketball programs outside of competition with the addition of the John and Mary Brock Football Practice Facility and the Hank McCamish Pavilion.
The Brock Football Practice Facility, an 88,000 square feet building, is scheduled to be completed in time for preseason practice this August, while the McCamish Pavilion will be ready for competition for the start of the 2012-13 basketball seasons.
It was another exciting year in O’Keefe Gymnasium as Coach Tonya Johnson’s team won 18 games and was led by Honorable Mention All-Americans Mary Ashley Tippins and Monique Mead. The team also placed three players on the All-ACC team. Mead, who will be a junior in the fall, was named to the U.S. Volleyball National A2 Roster in the offseason.
Rising senior Mary Kate DuBard led the cross country teams in the fall by earning USTFCCCA (United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) All-South Region Team (third time), USTFCCCA All-Academic Team (first time), and All-ACC Academic Cross Country team (third time) honors. Philip O’Brien joined DuBard on the All-ACC Academic Cross Country team, his second straight season.
The spring was filled with great success as both the men’s and women’s tennis programs, as well the baseball, softball and golf programs all competed in postseason play.
This was the first time in program history that both the men’s and women’s tennis teams reached the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament in the same season. The men, led head coach Kenny Thorne, the 2011 ITA Division I Coach of the Year, earned a final ranking of No. 13 in the nation. The team registered 21 wins in 2010-11, which was the second most in program history. On the individual side, Guillermo Gomez was once again named an All-American after breaking the school’s all-time singles wins record with 119. Kevin King and Juan Spir reached the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships to also garner All-American honors.
The women’s team, led by head coach Bryan Shelton, earned its 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in program history. Coach Shelton earned his 200th victory this season and his team closed out the year ranked No. 13 in the rankings.
Coach Bruce Heppler’s golf team was once again in the thick of things going in to the NCAA Championships after winning its third straight ACC Championship by a tournament-record score of 33-under par 831. Heppler, the 2011 ACC Coach of the Year, watched his team reach match play at the NCAA Championships before falling to eventual National Champion Augusta State in the quarterfinals for the second straight season. Three Tech players were ranked among the nation’s top 10 and Paul Haley became just the eighth Yellow Jacket to win medalist honors at the ACC Championships.
Tech’s baseball team had a tremendous season with a roster full of freshmen. Head Coach Danny Hall led his young team to over 40 wins for the 22nd time in program history and its 27th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Along the way, the Jackets were crowned ACC Regular Season Co-Champions with Virginia. Junior Mark Pope had one of the most successful seasons in program history from the bump on his way to All-America Second Team honors. Pope was also one of six Yellow Jackets selected in the 2011 MLB Draft, which included fellow starter Jed Bradley, who was taken 15th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers.
We can’t overlook what head coach Sharon Perkin’s team accomplished on the softball field in the 2011 campaign. The Jackets won their third straight ACC Regular Season title and advanced to their 10th straight NCAA Tournament. Perkins was named the ACC Coach of the Year for the third straight season, the first ACC coach to earn this distinction. Junior shortstop Kelsi Weseman had a huge season at the plate and was named the ACC Player of the Year and earned All-American honors as well. Weseman highlighted a league-record seven All-ACC selections for the Jackets.
Numerous records fell for the Yellow Jackets track & field squads in 2010-11, as school indoor records in the men’s and women’s pole vault, and outdoor records in the men’s and women’s pole vault all were surpassed. Kayla McKeirnan broke school records in the pentathlon (indoor) and heptathlon (outdoor). Seniors Joanna Wright (Pole Vault) and Leslie Njoku (400m Hurdles) of the women’s team both earned Second Team All-American honors at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships and freshman Julienne McKee (Triple Jump) accomplished honorable mention honors at the meet.
Records also fell in the pool this past year, as coach Courtney Shealy-Hart’s team broke school records in the 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay, 100 fly, 100 back, 200 back, 1-meter diving and platform diving. The 2010-11 squad also had two student-athletes earn All-ACC honors.
Off the field, it was another outstanding year for the Jackets in the classroom as 68 current and former student-athletes earned their degrees from Georgia Tech. The ACC recognized James White (golf), Guillermo Gomez (Men’s Tennis) and Christy Jones (softball) as the ACC Scholar Athletes of the Year for their respective sports. Four athletes – Zach Brewster (baseball), Hannah Krimm (diving), Travis Wagner (swimming) and Jen Yee (softball) – were awarded 2011 ACC Postgraduate Scholarships for their hard work in the classroom.