Nov. 12, 2004
All-Americans Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra, who led the Yellow Jackets’ baseball team to the College World Series championship game in 1994, and track and field national champions Natasha Alleyne and Derek Mills headline the 2004 class that will be inducted into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame tonight.
Steve Raible, an All-South Independent pick as a wide receiver on Tech’s football team in the 1970’s who went on to a standout NFL career, and Dr. Aaron King, the team dentist for Tech student-athletes for nearly 40 years, also will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The six inductees will also be honored at halftime of the Tech-UConn football game Saturday, which kicks off at 1 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
Varitek, Garciaparra and Mills all were named to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 50th Anniversary teams in their respective sports in 2003.
“We congratulate all six members of this year’s Hall of Fame class and are proud of what they have accomplished not only here but in their professional careers,” said Tech director of athletics Dave Braine. “We look forward to having them here for a proper tribute to their accomplishments here at Tech and in their professional careers.”
Though the 1994 baseball team had four players who were first-team All-Americans and first-round draft choices, Varitek and Garciaparra were the undisputed leaders of the Yellow Jackets, who began the season ranked No. 1 and nearly ended it that way before falling to Oklahoma in the College World Series title game.
Among the many honors he earned during his career, Varitek won the Golden Spikes Award, signifying the nation’s top amateur baseball player, and was the national collegiate player of the year in 1994. The catcher was a consensus first-team all-America in 1992, 1993 and 1994, earned first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors each of those years and was also named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1993. Varitek’s jersey number 33 is retired, and he remains the Tech career leader in home runs (57), runs scored (261), base hits (351), doubles (82), RBI (251) and total bases (610) and batted .384 for his career, fifth-best in Tech history.
The Orlando, Fla., native, who makes his off-season home in Suwanee, Ga., made his major league debut in 1997 and is the catcher for the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
Garciaparra, a three-year starter at shortstop for the Yellow Jackets, earned first-team All-America honors in 1993 and 1994. The Whittier, Calif., native also made the first-team all-ACC and was named a GTE Academic All-America both years. Garciaparra finished his career with a .372 batting average, still the seventh-best in Tech history, 176 runs scored, 250 hits (18th in Tech history), 58 doubles (fourth) and 66 stolen bases (seventh). The shortstop also holds the Tech record for consecutive steals without being caught (33 straight). A major leaguer since 1997 with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, he has made the All-Star team five times, was named American League Rookie of the Year in 1997 and won the AL batting title in 1999 and 2000.
A member of the 1996 Olympic Gold 4×400 relay team that won a Gold medal in Atlanta, Derek Mills won the 1994 NCAA outdoor 400 meters for the Yellow Jackets, and also was a member of three national champion relay teams. The Washington, D.C., native helped earn NCAA championships for Tech in the outdoor 4×400 relay in 1992 and 1994, and the indoor 4×400 relay in 1993. The sprinter also won 10 Atlantic Coast Conference championships in the 400 meters, outdoor 4×400 relay and indoor mile relay. He logged All-America performances 11 times and All-Atlantic Coast Conference performances 12 times during his four years. In addition to his Olympic medal, Mills won an IAAF World title in the 4×400 relay in 1993. Now a resident of New Orleans, Mills still holds Georgia Tech records in the 400 meters, indoor and outdoor, and the indoor 200 meters.
An indoor national champion in the high jump in 1992, Natasha Alleyne became the first female NCAA champion in Georgia Tech history when she jumped a then-school-record 6 feet, 2 1/4 inches, a mark which held until last winter. Born in Trinidad and raised in Palm Coast, Fla., Alleyne also held the outdoor school mark in the high jump until 2003. Alleyne also won ACC championships in the event in 1990 outdoors and 1991 indoors and earned all-conference honors twice. A team captain in 1991, Alleyne went on to compete for Trinidad and Tobago in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta in the high jump. She now makes her home in Morrow, Ga., and she has completed in the USA Track and Field championships as recently as 2003.
Lettering three years in football as a wide receiver and three years in track and field as a sprinter, Steve Raible earned honorable mention All-America and All-South Independent honors in football in 1975 as the top receiver in Georgia Tech’s wishbone offense under Pepper Rodgers. A member of Georgia Tech’s Carson-Fulcher-Rodgers All-Era team for the 1967-79 period, he finished his Tech career with 24 catches for 452 yards (18.8 yards per catch) and five touchdowns, leading the Jackets twice in receiving. The Louisville, Ky., native also was named Georgia Collegiate Track “Runner of the Year” as a sprinter in 1974. Following his Tech career, Raible became an original member of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, playing six years with the team (1976-81) as a part-time starter and special teams player and finishing his career with 68 receptions for 1,017 yards and 3 TDs in 84 games. Since then, he has gone onto a successful career in radio and television and been heavily involved in community service in the Seattle area, which led him to receive the NCAA’s Silver Anniversary Award in 2000.
Associated with Georgia Tech athletics since 1965 as the Yellow Jackets’ team dentist, Aaron King has served with football administrations dating back to Bobby Dodd and with the basketball programs of Whack Hyder, Dwane Morrison, Bobby Cremins and Paul Hewitt. In addition to his successful private practice, King has provided nearly 5,000 mouthpieces for football and men’s basketball since his association with Tech began. He has been on the Tech sideline for more than 1,500 football and basketball games, not to mention countless hours of practices in both sports. King is the only person affiliated with the Athletic Association to be on the sideline for Tech’s 1990 Football National Championship and on the bench for both of Tech’s Final Four appearances in men’s basketball (1990, 2004)