June 23, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
There’s been quite a bit made recently of a Georgia cheerleader transferring to Georgia Tech, and although the first reaction – like that of my wife – might be, ‘What’s the big deal?’ a little thought should clear the picture.
This is a huge win for the Yellow Jackets. For the school. For the GT Athletics Association. For Right vs. wrong. For Light vs. dark.
Sidni Vaughn is impossible not to admire.
She has riveting blue eyes, a conversational approach that is so forward as to lock you into what she’s saying yet polished enough that it does not knock you back, and she’s committed . . . unless you stop to point out that she should’ve been at Tech all along.
Having spent so much time on campus over the past year-plus since becoming the girlfriend of kicker David Scully, she’s not disagreeing.
“I considered going to Tech originally,” she said. “Over time, I felt like I was at home here. I studied here last summer when I was back and forth to Atlanta anyway. It’s about an hour closer to home. I came to practices and really just fell in love with the program.
“Not to say that Georgia didn’t give me plenty of opportunities . . . it’s just that when I came to Georgia Tech I felt more at home because they’re trying to do so much with the program.”
Coming out of tiny Trion, Ga., near Rome, she thought about Tech. She said that last fall when Sting Daily wrote a story about the UGA cheerleader who dates a Tech football player. Once upon a time, it was an issue in her church, even. She played the middle well, and offended nobody.
She could find her major at each school, and were it not for the fact that UGA had competitive cheerleading and Tech did not – opposite of a few years earlier – Vaughn likely would’ve been a Jacket from the jump.
As it has worked out, she became a Tech cheerleader before she became a Tech student.
The transfer process was somewhat laborious, and protracted. She tried out – after first e-mailing Tech cheer coach Katie Hodges – in early May and made the squad in a slam dunk. If only Vaughn had been accepted to Tech so easily.
“When I e-mailed her at first, I was like, ‘I know this is really crazy . . . ‘ ” she recalled. “It’s been a long process. I just found out last week that I was in [school]. We tried out back on May 4th. I already knew I was on the team before I was in school.”
There are a few things you should know.
Sidni is not transferring to Tech merely because her boyfriend attends school on the Flats. Georgia cheerleading coach Ben O’Brien co-operated and helped facilitate this process. This has happened before.
“This is not just some lovestruck girl . . . ” Vaughn said.
And another thing, Scully didn’t push for this – at least not too hard. “I was like, ‘I’m not going to twist your arm to come here,’ ” he said, ” ‘but you could.”
Beyond her relationship, which we all are smart enough to know was a factor here, there were plenty of reasons for Vaughn to transfer.
Tech’s a better school. That’s my input, actually.
Beyond that and proximity to Scully, there is proximity to home. She’s about an hour closer to Trion now, and most importantly Vaughn is at a point in her education where Atlanta is a better place to live.
She majored in psychology and biology at Georgia and eyes a career in physical therapy or something to that effect. About now, after a couple years in college, work experiences/internships, etc., become critical.
Vaughn, in fact, had told the UGA cheer coach months ago that she was not likely to cheer for the Bulldogs next school year because she had to jump into her practical experiences – and she knew there weren’t very many in Athens.
“I kind of expressed to him that I wasn’t going to probably cheer next year anyway because I need more shadowing hours for my school. I need volunteer work, a job . . . stuff like that,” she said. “There’s more opportunities in Atlanta.”
Upon enrolling at Tech, Vaughn will major in psychology. That will almost certain morph into more.
“At Tech, you have to apply for only one major [to transfer] and I applied to psych. I can do psych here and do a certificate of applied physiology, which is kind of along the lines of PT,” she said. “If I decide to add biology, I’ll do that later but you can’t apply for a double major.”
Hodges has serious aspirations, not only for Vaughn, but for Tech cheerleading. She’s trying to move the program back into competition. When she cheered for the Jackets from 2003-’07, Tech was in the mix nationally. She wants to get back to that.
“When I was in school here, we were very proud at the time that Tech cheerleaders were at a certain level and UGA cheerleaders were at a different level,” Hodges said. “Sidni has the talent, and the personality to help us get where we want to be.”
The families are in line. When it comes to parents, “Mine love it,” Scully said.
Vaughn’s got the same thing going.
“My dad, it wouldn’t matter if I was halfway across the world . . . he would decorate his campsite and RV with everything.,” she said. “He has a Tech visor, a magnet on his RV. He had on a yellow polo [on Father’s Day]. He’s very supportive, and he’ll be at all the games. He likes it because it’s closer to home.”
Vaughn, too, sounds like she’s at home.
If you’re looking for more proof, put “Sidni Vaughn” and “Tech” in a search engine and you may be amazed at the media outlets that have picked up Ken Sugiura’s story about this in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I carried Ken in that interview, by the way, asking almost all the money questions. He’s was like a vegetable that morning.
He did some research, though, or tasked an un-named Tech employee to do it, so I gotta give him some credit. He found out that Tech cheerleader Kristen Breitenbach also transferred from UGA. She’s apparently doing an internship with NASA.
How many UGA undergrads do interships with NASA?
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