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Georgia Tech Mourns the Loss of Jim Poole

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech athletics mourns the loss of Georgia Tech Hall of Famer and Major League Baseball relief pitcher Jim Poole, who died on Friday. He was 57. Poole was diagnosed with ALS two years ago.

Poole arrived on The Flats in 1985 and had an immediate impact, as Georgia Tech baseball would win the first of four-straight ACC Tournament Championships. During his four years, he pitched in 120 games and struck out 263 batters in 188 innings. He still ranks first in the Tech record book with 22 career saves, including 10 as a junior and nine as a senior. He was named all-ACC his last two seasons. Poole would be enshrined into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame just nine years later in 1997.

A stellar worker in the classroom, Poole elected not to turn professional after being selected in the 34th round of the 1987 MLB Draft by the LA Dodgers, and returned to Georgia Tech for his senior year, recording a 2.03 ERA and 113 strikeouts in only 71 innings. Once again, the LA Dodgers would call his name in the 1988 MLB Draft, this time taking him in the ninth round. He would return to graduate from the Institute with a degree in electrical engineering in 1990.

Poole played 11 years in the major leagues, predominantly with the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, and San Francisco Giants. In 431 games played, he finished with 22 victories and a 4.31 ERA, as well as 256 strikeouts and four saves. He helped pitch Cleveland to two American League Championship Series (1995, 1998), making it to the 1995 World Series where he would face the Atlanta Braves.

Following his retirement at the end of the 2000 season, Poole returned to Georgia Tech to join the Alexander-Tharpe Fund as a fundraiser and supporter of the baseball program. He then began serving as the pitching coach at Johns Creek High School in 2010, teaching many young men about pitching mechanics, while also conveying his personal pitching philosophy.

He later joined the business world as a Personal Wealth Advisor for the Baseball Division of BIP Wealth.

After being diagnosed with ALS in 2021, Poole worked tirelessly to raise awareness for the disease. In addition to serving on MLB ALS boards, he also worked with Georgia Tech, who together hosted an ALS Awareness Day during the 2022 baseball season, with Tech wearing Jim Poole shirts and both teams wearing honorary wristbands. Professional players also wore the shirt. Tech later designated the number 21 each year to be worn by a student-athlete who exemplify Poole’s ideals – self-determination, a strong academic work ethic, and high moral fiber on and off the field.

Poole is survived by his wife, Kim, three children and two grandchildren. A celebration of life service will be held at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga. on Friday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m.

Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, with an estimated 30,000 people living with ALS in the United States at any given time. Primarily affecting people between the ages of 40 and 70, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no known cure.

For more information about ALS, visit www.ALS.org.

STATEMENTS FROM GEORGIA TECH:

Georgia Tech head baseball coach Danny Hall:

“It broke my heart this morning to learn of Jim Poole’s passing. He was a first-class husband, father and teammate. He loved Georgia Tech and was dedicated to serving our coaches and players for many years. He epitomized the meaning of a Tech Man. God rest his soul.”

Georgia Tech athletics director J Batt:

“Jim Poole is a Georgia Tech legend, not just for his incredible achievements on the baseball diamond, but for the way that he attacked ALS over the past two years. He is and will remain an inspiration. On behalf of the entire Georgia Tech athletics community, I send our deepest condolences to Jim’s wife, Kim, their children and grandchildren, and all of Jim’s family and friends whose lives he touched. He will be missed.”

For the latest information on the Georgia Tech baseball team, follow us on Twitter (@GTBaseball), Facebook, Instagram (@gt_baseball) or visit us at www.ramblinwreck.com.

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