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The Good Word

TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

Over the last week or so there has been a great deal of conversation regarding the delay of the Georgia Tech-Alabama football series. I wanted to use this forum to talk a bit about this and the reason and rationale for the delay. I was sent various “threads” of conversations that have covered an incredible range of possibilities as to why this occurred.

We did in fact have a home-and-home series with Alabama contracted in 2005 for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The deal was originally set for 2012 and 2014 but was amended in 2006. Last fall, there were discussions with Alabama about those dates being re-worked to allow for other options for both schools in those two years. It was mutually agreed to postpone the contract, but to continue to aggressively look at alternate dates later in the decade.

Indeed, the world of football scheduling is difficult and ever-changing. While we desire to play quality opponents, we must look at creating balance to allow our team the ability to peak at the proper time and give our team the best chance to win. It is an art rather than a science and as Tech fans you must understand that we are doing everything possible to create the correct balance to allow for continued long-term success in our program. It is also important to note that terms associated with contracts written years ago do not necessarily match-up with the current market. Remember that Army paid us only $125,000 (per the contract) to cancel their scheduled HOME game with us 11 months from the playing date. This cancellation was executed due to changes associated with Army’s scheduling philosophy. The timing of that cancellation and buyout created a great scheduling challenge for us as you may remember. There are several drivers in the market today which could cause a team to look at remaking its schedule without paying significant market penalties for cancellation.

We have and will continue to look at scheduling quality BCS opponents for those and other years. Currently we are looking for games in 2012, 2013 (2) and 2014. As we all know, the home schedules are a bit out of balance given that ACC foes Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Clemson are at home in odd years along with our backyard rival Georgia. Conversely, in even numbered years (like this year) those contests will be road games for us. It is virtually impossible for the ACC to alter the schedule rotation, leaving only the very unhealthy thought of breaking this quartet of games by scheduling something different with UGA. We attempted to do this early last fall by proposing a neutral site game…. like the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic…. which would break up the even and odd year problem. We were not able to reach an agreement with Georgia at that time.

Click here to take a look at what we have in place as far as future scheduling.

Football Ticket Sales Update
With all this talk about football, I thought I’d update our current season ticket sales process. As of now we are tracking slightly ahead of our pace at this time a year ago. We have surpassed 22,100 in renewals and new sales compared to 21,900 at this time last year. Our total sales for 2009 finished at 26,308. We are hoping to continue our recent trend of improving our season ticket base from year to year and see no reason we shouldn’t move the needle forward by the time we kick off in September.

The Aspire Group surpasses $1 million in new ticket sales
One reason I have great optimism in our ticket sales prospect is the continued success of our sales unit, The Aspire Group. You may have read where Aspire just surpassed $1 million in new gross revenue since our agreement went into effect last July. This represents great early success and indicates that this method of reaching out to Georgia Tech alumni and friends by personal contact is providing a quantifiable return on investment.

None of this could happen if it weren’t for the cutting edge training and management taking place, led by our great friends Bernie Mullin and Bill Duffy, and our on-site general manager Bill Fagan. And of course I send congratulations to our 15 hard-working and aggressive sales consultants. These folks are great representatives of our athletic program.

1985 Baseball Reunion Next Week
We are closing in on the reunion of our 1985 ACC Championship baseball team. On Saturday, May 15th we will salute this team at our game vs. Miami at 7 p.m. We have had a good response from the team members and expect some great fellowship starting with a late afternoon event for the team and their families and then moving to the pre-game ceremony prior to the 7 p.m. first pitch. Our marketing group also has some other 1985-type surprises that will entertain throughout the evening. If you were a player on the ’85 team and have not contacted us about your availability, please call my office at 404-894-5411.

Spring Caravan Off and Running
Thanks to all of you who attended our opening Caravan stop last week at the Cobb Galleria. Tonight (Thursday, May 6), we are visiting with our Georgia Tech fans in Savannah. We are anticipating a great crowd for the event at Savannah Station from 6-8 p.m. I’ll be joined by coaches Paul Johnson and MaChelle Joseph, as well as Wes Durham, for the festivities. Next Thursday, the 13th, we’ll be at the Civic Center in Gainesville, Ga. Click here for all of the information on our Caravan stops in the coming weeks.

Women’s Tennis Hosting NCAA Regional
On the heels of a remarkable run to win the ACC Championship, Coach Bryan Shelton’s women’s tennis team was rewarded with a No. 14 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Yellow Jackets (18-9 overall and ranked 13th nationally) will host a four-team regional, May 14-15. at the Bill Moore Tennis Center. The schedule for the regional is below.

Meanwhile, Yellow Jacket sophomore Irina Falconi was named the No. 1 seed for the singles draw of the NCAA Tournament. Falconi, who has been ranked No. 1 in the nation throughout the entire dual-match season, has recorded a 37-2 overall mark and won a school-record 26 singles matches during the dual-match season. Named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and MVP of the 2010 ACC Tournament, Falconi has won 20 straight singles matches, dating back to Feb. 13.

Friday, May 14
Match 1: Mississippi (15-5) vs. UC-Irvine (13-10), 10 a.m.
Match 2: No. 14 Georgia Tech (18-9) vs. Austin Peay (18-3), 1 p.m.

Saturday, May 15
Match 3: Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 1 p.m.

Tickets
Single Day, Adult — $5
Single Day, Student — $3
Single Day, Child — $3

All tickets will be sold at the gate, which opens at 9 a.m. Friday and 12 noon Saturday. Fans may also call 1-888-TECH-TIX (1-888-832-4849) for details.

Men’s Tennis Earns First NCAA Bid Since 2007
Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team (17-7 overall) was awarded its first bid to the NCAA Championship since 2007, receiving an at-large selection in the Lexington, Ky., Regional with a first-round match against Binghamton Saturday, May 15, at 10 a.m. EDT. Host Kentucky will face Cleveland State in the other first-round match later that day at 1 p.m. EDT. The winners of the first-round matches will meet for a second-round match at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, May 16 in Lexington for the right to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 in Athens, Ga., beginning May 21. All three matches will take place at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex on the University of Kentucky campus.

Baseball At Home This Weekend
Georgia Tech (36-9 overall) resumes action with a three-game series this weekend against non-conference opponent Illinois-Chicago (UIC) at Russ Chandler Stadium. The fifth-ranked Yellow Jackets and Flames will meet Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (6 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). Tech returns to ACC play with the previously mentioned three-game series with Miami May 14-16.

Single-game tickets for the May 26-30 ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., are now on sale.

Softball Embarks On Postseason Play
Georgia Tech (46-9 overall), which closed the regular season with a rugged stretch of eight consecutive road games, followed by final exams this week, is preparing to defend its title at the May 14-16 ACC Championship in Blacksburg, Va.

Barring a major upset early in the ACC Tournament, the 8th/7th-ranked Yellow Jackets are very optimistic about hosting an NCAA four-team regional May 21-23.

Golf Off Until Hosting NCAA Southeast Regional
After winning the ACC championship in late April – an event coach Bruce Heppler’s team seemingly always plays well in – the Yellow Jackets are off until May 20-22 when No. 14/20 Georgia Tech will serve as the host for the NCAA Southeast Regional.

The NCAA Regional will be held at the Capital City Club in Alpharetta, Ga. The top-performing teams at that event will advance to the NCAA Championships, June 1-6, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Track Hosting Georgia Tech Invitational May 14-15
The Georgia Tech track and field teams, which are competing this weekend at the Seminole Twilight Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla., will host a multi-team meet May 14-15. The Georgia Tech Invitational will be the Jackets’ last tune-up before the May 28-29 NCAA East Regional in Greensboro, N.C.

Garciaparra Named A College World Series Legend
Former Georgia Tech All-American shortstop Nomar Garciaparra has been named to the official College World Series Legends Team, the NCAA and College World Series, Inc. announced Thursday. The announcement is part of the NCAA’s commemoration of the final College World Series at Omaha’s Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.

The 28 members of the Legends Team, pared down from an original list of 95 nominees, were selected after more than 100,000 votes were cast by college baseball fans, college baseball writers and Division I head baseball coaches.

The 28 CWS Legends Team members will be invited to attend the final College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium as guests of the NCAA. The members will be formally honored on-field during the CWS Opening Ceremonies on June 18, and invited to attend the first day of CWS competition on June 19.

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