ATLANTA (Feb. 16) – Georgia Tech has been selected to meet Virginia Tech in the fourth annual Black Coaches Association Classic game Aug. 26 or 27 in Blacksburg, Va., adding a 12th game to the Yellow Jackets’ 2000 schedule.
The Hokies, the 1999 national championship runner-up, will host the game at Lane Stadium at a time to be determined. The BCA Classic will kick off the 2000 college football season and will be televised on ESPN2 and feature the nation’s two highest scoring teams from last season.
“Georgia Tech is honored to represent the Atlantic Coast Conference in the Black Coaches Association Classic,” said Dave Braine, Tech’s director of athletics. “We’re excited about having the opportunity to play a team the caliber of Virginia Tech that played for the national championship last year.
“The fact that they have one of the most exciting players in college football will present a great challenge to our team, but [head coach] George O’Leary, his staff and players will be up for the challenge.”
The game will mark the second appearance for the Yellow Jackets in one of the college football kickoff classics. Tech faced Penn State in the 1991 Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., dropping a 34-22 decision to the eighth-ranked Nittany Lions.
“I’ve always been in favor of playing a 12th game if we could,” said O’Leary, who has a 36-25 record in five seasons at Georgia Tech. “I think it’s good exposure for our players. When you have a fairly young team it gives them a little more chance to get some experience that they need. Anytime you can play a quality opponent like Virginia Tech, it can only aid our program and get us a little bit better on the way to where we need to get to.”
“Having this game to look forward to sets the tone right away for what we need to get done. I’ve been very impressed by Michael Vick. I saw him a couple of times on TV; he’s an extremely talented youngster, and I’m anxious to look at him and see what he’s about.”
Georgia Tech returns five offensive starters, nine defensive starters and its punter and kicker from a team which went 8-4 in 1999, appeared in the Gator Bowl, and finished the season ranked No. 20 by the coaches and No. 21 by the Associated Press. Tech led the nation in total offense and ranked second in scoring a year ago. But Tech must replace quarterback Joe Hamilton, the runner-up for the 1999 Heisman Trophy and the nation’s No. 2 total offense and passing efficiency leader.
Among the Jackets’ returning players are leading rusher Sean Gregory, a junior who gained 837 yards and scored 13 touchdowns, leading receiver and all-ACC performer Kelly Campbell, a junior with 69 catches for 1,105 yards and 10 TDs in 1999, and Tech’s top four tacklers in sophomore linebacker Recardo Wimbush, junior strong safety Chris Young, sophomore defensive end Greg Gathers and sophomore free safety Jeremy Muyres.
Virginia Tech will return to the gridiron following a school-best 11-1 record in 1999 which culminated in a trip to the National Championship Game in the Sugar Bowl and a No. 2 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. Returning quarterback Michael Vick, the 1999 Big East Rookie of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, will launch the season as the leading candidate for the 2000 Heisman Trophy. The Hokies will appear in the top 10 in both preseason polls.
The Black Coaches Association is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to foster the growth and development of minorities at all levels of sports both nationally and internationally.
“We are thrilled that Georgia Tech has accepted our invitation to play in this event,” said Marianna Freeman, President of the Black Coaches Association and Head Coach of the Syracuse Women’s Basketball Team. “A matchup of this caliber on national television will provide the Black Coaches Association with a tremendous amount of exposure.”
Tickets will be $35 each and will be available first to season ticket subscribers and then to the general public. For more information, call the Georgia Tech ticket office at 1-888-TECH-TIX.