July 15, 2009
ATLANTA – Heisman Trophy runner-up Joe Hamilton and Olympic hurdler Angelo Taylor highlight the 2009 class that has been elected to join the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. The class also includes football All-America Craig Page, baseball All-Americans J.J. Thomas and Kris Wilson, and student trainer Clay Farr.
The group of five former student-athletes and Farr will be inducted on Friday, Nov. 6 at the annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. Tickets for the dinner are $50 and can be purchased through the Alexander-Tharpe Fund at 404-894-6124. They will also be honored during Tech’s football game with Wake Forest on Saturday, Nov. 7.
“We are pleased and excited to announce this class joining the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame,” said Tech director of athletics Dan Radakovich. “Joe Hamilton and Craig Page were cornerstones of the revitalization of Tech football in the latter part of the 1990s, while Angelo Taylor has brought great recognition to Tech with his success in the Olympics. J.J. and Kris were instrumental in keeping our baseball program among the best in the nation. And all these student-athletes know how committed and dedicated Clay Farr was, and continues to be, to the welfare of all our student-athletes. We’re proud that they will become members of our Hall of Fame.”
Hamilton and Page were members of Georgia Tech teams that began the Yellow Jackets current string of 12 straight bowl appearances and led the Yellow Jackets to a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in 1998. Hamilton’s teams won 30 games and played in four bowl games.
Taylor has become one of the most accomplished track athletes on the world stage of any that has competed at Tech, winning three Olympic Gold medals and three World Championship gold medals.
Thomas and Wilson enrolled at Tech immediately after the Yellow Jackets’ 1994 run to the College World Series championship game, following a team that lost All-Americans Jason Varitek, Nomar Garciaparra and Jay Payton. But they continues Tech’s legacy of success, leading the Jackets to the NCAA Tournament in each of their seasons on the Flats and 124 victories.
As a student trainer, Farr began a career of dedicated caring for Tech student-athletes that continues today.
Following are brief bios on each of Tech’s 2009 Hall of Fame inductees.
Clay Farr, Student Trainer (1992-96)
Farr, who continues to serve Georgia Tech’s student-athletes as a full-time member of the Yellow Jackets’ sports medicine staff today, lettered four years as a student trainer, working four years with the football team and two years with men’s basketball. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management. Few, if any, individuals have exceeded the dedication and commitment Farr demonstrated while a student at Georgia Tech, both as a student and as a student trainer.
Joe Hamilton, Football (1996-99)
The most successful quarterback in the history of Georgia Tech football, Joe Hamilton achieved consensus first-team All-America honors in 1999 while being named Player of the Year and Athlete of the Year honors in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Hamilton was also the runner-up for the 1999 Heisman Trophy, won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback, and was a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Award. A two-time first-team All-ACC choice in 1998 and 1999, Hamilton was named to the conference’s 50th Anniversary Team in 2002.
A team captain at Tech in 1999, Hamilton started four years at quarterback at Tech, played in four bowl games and led the Yellow Jackets to 30 victories and a share of the 1998 ACC Championship. He was named MVP of the 1997 Carquest Bowl and co-MVP of the 1999 Gator Bowl, both of which Tech won. Hamilton still owns Tech season and career records for rushing yards by a quarterback. He rushed for 18 career touchdowns and holds several other school records, including passing yards (career), touchdown passes (game, season and career), yards per completion (career), yards per pass attempt (season and career), completion percentage (season), pass efficiency rating (season and career), most consecutive completions (18), total offense (season and career), total offense yards per game (season and career), most yards per play (season and career), touchdowns responsible for (game, season and career).
A seventh-round NFL draft pick by Tampa Bay in 2000, Hamilton played four seasons in the NFL with Tampa Bay and Indianapolis, and also played in Europe and in the Arena Football League. He currently resides in Atlanta.
Craig Page, Football (1995-98)
One of the top centers in Georgia Tech football history, Craig Page was named first team All-America in 1998 by Associated Press, Football Writers and The Sporting News, and was a second team All-America selection by Football News. A first team All-ACC selection in 1998, Page won the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy in 1998 and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy
A three-year starter for coach George O’Leary’s teams, Page was a senior leader of the 1998 team that shared the ACC Championship and featured a high-powered offense that averaged 35.5 points per game. Page played in two bowl games during his career and helped Tech win 28 games.
Angelo Taylor, Track and Field (1997-98)
A national champion and All-American multiple times at Georgia Tech, Angelo Taylor is best known for winning Gold medals in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in the 2000 and 2008 Summer Olympics, as well as a Gold medal in 4×400-meter relay in 2008.
While at Georgia Tech, the Albany, Ga., native won NCAA championships in the 4×400 relay and intermediate hurdles in 1998, while earning All-America honors in those events as well as the 400 meters in both 1997 and 1998. He won Atlantic Coast Conference championships in the 400 meters and intermediate hurdles twice each, while leading the Yellow Jackets to ACC titles in the 4×400 relay four times. He earned All-ACC honors in those events a total of seven times.
Taylor, who resides in Decatur, Ga., won gold medals as a member of the U.S. 4×400 relay team three times at the World Track and Field Championships – 1999 in Seville, 2001 in Edmonton and 2007 in Osaka.
J.J. Thomas, Baseball (1995-97)
One of the top sluggers of the 1990s for Georgia Tech, J.J. Thomas earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors three times, first team in 1997 and second team in 1995 and 1996.
An honorable mention All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 1996, Thomas owns two of the top six marks for most home runs in a season at Georgia Tech. He stands second behind Jason Varitek for most home runs in a career on the Flats, with 56 from 1995-97. The Marietta, Ga., native also stands eighth in total bases (442), ninth in RBI (184), 11th in runs scored (194) and 15th with 48 doubles in his three-year career.
Thomas was drafted in the 15th round by the Houston Astros in 1997, played in their minor league system for three seasons, and now lives in Marietta, Ga.
Kris Wilson, Baseball (1995-97)
A first-team All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 1997, Kris Wilson stands fifth in the Tech record books with 329.2 innings pitched and 10th with 270 strikeouts in his career, and has the fourth-best mark in school history for walks per nine innings (2.44/9) in a career.
The three-year letterwinner from Palm Harbor, Fla., Wilson was also named an All-American by The Sporting News, American Baseball Coaches Association, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball in 1997, in addition to earning first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors.
A ninth-round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1997, Wilson played for the Royals in 2000 and 2003 and was called up by the New York Yankees in 2006. After his retirement from baseball, Wilson enrolled at the University of South Florida and is currently completing requirements for his degree in business. He lives in Oldsmar, Fla.