Jan. 24, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
On this morning after the President’s State of the Union address, perhaps it ought to be noted that there is on ramblinwreck.com an analogous summation of Georgia Tech’s Athletic Association.
Athletic director Dan Radakovich recently addressed, “Life Members,” which is to say those who have contributed $100,000 or more to the school’s athletics programs, with even more of the details than you’ll see here. You can click the link above or go to the website, click on “Athletic Department,” and then pull from the drop-down menu, “2010-2011 Annual Report.”
Radakovich also met with members of the media Friday to give a slightly abbreviated version. Before he spoke, associate athletics director Wayne Hogan reminded that since his hiring nearly six years ago, Radakovich has worked to raise nearly $15 million for what has come to be known as the Athletic Director’s Initiative Fund.
That money is used at his discretion, in part to pay down a debt service that has grown to roughly $200 million on his watch, and to do it without impacting the department’s annual operating budget in a significant way.
“In the times we live in . . . it’s so often quid pro quo, [and] when I started this program one of the first questions from our investors was, ‘What do I get for giving money to this fund?’ I said, ‘The thanks of a grateful athletic director,’ because we didn’t have a whole lot of inventory to give out . . . ” Radakovich said.
“The percentage of our budget that is given to debt service . . . is basically the same as it was before. We’re still taking 14 to 15 percent of our operating budget and applying it to debt. As the cost goes up, we’re taking dollars from this fund. That’s a departure from how it was done in the past. I think it gives the Institute comfort to know that is how things will be paid off.”
Tech patrons continue to be abundantly generous.
Radakovich’s term has been marked largely by substantial upgrades and additions to facilities, including the current project to transform Alexander Memorial Coliseum to McCamish Pavilion.
The Zelnak basketball practice facility has come on line, the John & Mary Brock Football Facility is up and running, Mewborn Field is one of the finest softball facilities that can be found, and significant upgrades to Bobby Dodd Stadium have taken place.
With the help of yet another generous contribution by the Byers family, work figures to begin soon on the tennis facility.
Sifting through that site will avail the names of many, many substantial contributors, and it’s impossible to miss the names of some former athletes, like baseball player Mark Texiera and basketball player Jon Barry — just to offer a couple examples.
The athletic director reviewed many of the accomplishments of the Institute’s athletic programs on and off the field, including improvements almost across the board in academics.
He noted that the only sport that has troubled Tech in recent years from an academic standpoint, men’s basketball, is on an upswing and Tech anticipates banking improved APR scores soon.
“It’s pretty clear that as we forecast forward, our men’s basketball program will have an APR of 1000 and that will help us with our multi-year rate to get above that 930 cut line [which determines future postseason eligibility],” Radakovich said.
That type of information is not all on the website, nor is this:
The Atlantic Coast Conference is changing, and that will continue.
More monies from television are coming on line, yet expenses will rise, particularly as Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the conference at a date to be determined.
“It looks like we will be playing nine games in the [ACC] and 18 men’s basketball games,” Radakovich said. “Those will be decided by the conference sometime this spring.”
There is a lot to be found through that link; it’s interesting.
And if you’re interested, there is fresh video of the progress on McCamish Pavilion, the first in a couple months. That can be found here.
Again, if you’d rather go the long way, go to ramblinwreck.com, click on Athletics Department, and choose, “McCamish Pavilion,” from the drop-down menu.
If you haven’t been by the site recently, know that it is truly taking shape. Exterior walls, or the sheathing that will be behind them, are up. Crews hope to “dry in,” within eight to 10 weeks.