TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics
FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics
This has been an exceptional two weeks here at Georgia Tech! Lots of news and notes to report, and some measurable successes have put a spring in our steps and hopefully in yours.
Let’s start with the wonderful first-time experience of Friday Night on the Flats! Who would have thought that the concept would be embraced by so many Tech fans? I think we knew we had the elements for a fun event, but remained a little uncertain whether the concept would be universally appreciated. Our game attendance of 18,125 more than doubled our spring game crowds from any time in recent memory. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many folks of all ages having so much fun being together and enjoying the camaraderie and the festivities.
We had a great deal of help in pulling it all together, and I want to thank our title sponsors PNC Bank, 99X and Rock 100 Radio, who assisted in bringing two great concerts to campus, and our great friends at Atlantic Station, who provided one of the most fantastic fireworks displays you could ever see.
And, oh, by the way, our football team put on a full scale intra-squad game that gave us a sneak peek at what we can look forward to come next fall. During the game, Wes Durham served as our roving reporter, gathering interviews from Tech celebrities and former players throughout the night. If you missed this sensational night, we have created a recap of the sights and sounds of Friday Night on the Flats for your enjoyment. Click here to check out the fun.
Football Ticket Sales Gaining Momentum
We are hoping to use the momentum of the spring game to fuel a surge in our 2012 season ticket sales. Dozens of folks took advantage of our select-a-seat opportunity the night of the game, and our ticket sales force, The Aspire Group, headed up by former Jacket lineman A.J. Smith, continues to have weekly success. We have surpassed the 20,000 mark and really want to make a move over the next few weeks. The ticket purchasing process is easy and efficient, either online at www.ramblinwreck.com/tickets or by calling 1-888-TECH TIX (1-888-832-4849). Full seven-game season ticket packages range from just $175 to $249.
Tech Golfers Win ACC Title Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back
More good news came our way recently when Bruce Heppler and the Georgia Tech golf team captured a fourth consecutive ACC Championship. It is simply amazing that our program continues to dominate a very competitive conference in the sport of golf. Our golfers have led after every round of every ACC Tournament since 2009. By the way, the last team to win four straight ACC titles in golf was also Georgia Tech.
The ACC title gives our team an automatic bid into NCAA Regional play, where they will compete for a shot to again reach the national tournament. This year’s NCAA Golf Championship will be played at the famous Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., from May 29-June 3.
And don’t forget, next year we will serve as the host institution for the national finals here in Atlanta at the Capital City Club – Crabapple Course.
White’s Big Week
Georgia Tech’s James White has had a remarkable week. First, he was part of the ACC Men’s Golf Championship team, becoming only the second Tech athlete ever to play on four ACC championship teams. Then, he was named Georgia Tech’s third winner of the prestigious Byron Nelson Award, recognizing the nation’s outstanding collegiate golfer, taking into account not only his success on the course, but in academics and citizenship. Former Tech greats Troy Matteson and Roberto Castro also won the award. On Monday night, White was honored by his fellow student-athletes as the Outstanding Male Athlete for the 2011-12 year (more on this in a bit).
As if all of that weren’t enough, James has been named to the United States team that will compete in the 2012 Palmer Cup at The Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. The annual Ryder Cup-style competition will be played June 28-30. Yellow Jacket assistant coach Christian Newton also has been named assistant coach for the USA team, and will assist Josh Gregory of SMU, who was previously announced as the United States head coach.
White becomes the seventh Georgia Tech player to be named to a United States team for the Palmer Cup, joining Cameron Tringale (2009), Chesson Hadley (2008), Roberto Castro (2005, 2006), Kevin Larsen (2006), Bryce Molder (1998. 1999, 2001) and Matt Kuchar (1998, 1999). Tech coach Bruce Heppler served as coach of the U.S. team in 2003.
Yellow Jacket Celebration
An already fun and successful week was made even better by the gathering of our 350-plus Georgia Tech student-athletes for the annual Yellow Jacket Celebration. This event, held last Monday night, is planned by the students and carried off by the students, and I can’t imagine a better, more fun night of which to be a part. Awards of all types are given, video highlights are enjoyed and some of our student-athletes entertain the crowd throughout the night.
I was especially pleased to be joined at the gala this year by the legendary Dr. Homer Rice, AD Emeritus and founder of the Total Person Program here at Georgia Tech. In addition, the great Roger Kaiser, Georgia Tech basketball legend and four-time national championship coach, was presented the Alumnus Award by the student-athletes. Roger was joined by his wife Beverly at the event.
Here is a list of the notable awards presented by the student-athletes:
GT Leadership Award (Demonstrates leadership qualities on the field, classroom and community):
Roddy Jones – Football
Total Person Student-Athlete Award (Graduating senior who excels in academics, athletics, leadership, contributions to others and total person attributes):
Sasha Goodlett – Women’s Basketball
Kevin King – Men’s Tennis
Total Person Alumnus Award:
Women’s Hoops Celebrates its Best Season Ever
In the midst of all of this revelry, the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team capped the best season in school history Wednesday night with its annual awards banquet. Head coach MaChelle Joseph and her staff presented the team with various awards throughout the evening for their accomplishments on the court. The Yellow Jackets also recognized and honored several individuals that made a significant impact off the court this season.
The 2011-12 Yellow Jackets won the most games in a single season with 26, won the most ACC games in a year with 12, won the most road games in one season with 10, advanced to the ACC championship game for only the second time in program history and earned a trip to the program’s first Sweet 16.
The senior class of LaQuananisha Adams, Mo Bennett, Sasha Goodlett, Chelsea Regins and Metra Walthour finished their career as the winningest class in Tech history with 95 overall wins. The five also won more ACC games, 37, than any other Yellow Jacket class and the quintuplet became the first class to win at least 70 percent of its games.
GT Baseball Takes Down the Dogs, Clemson Next
All of this cleared the way for an exciting baseball victory over Georgia Tuesday night at Turner Field. Kyle Wren’s run-scoring double in the top of the ninth inning provided the margin of victory in the 4-3 win. The game was played in front of nearly 20,000 fans, a regional television audience and three radio networks carried the game.
I congratulate Coach Danny Hall and the staff, not only for this dramatic victory, but for what appears to be a surge here of late as the season enters its final month. The Jackets took two of three from sixth-ranked North Carolina on the road before the win over the Bulldogs. This weekend becomes a vital series as we host Clemson at Russ Chandler Stadium. Game times are 7 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday (Note–this is a time change from original schedule due to a television request) and Sunday at 1 p.m. It should be a beautiful weekend for baseball so come on out to the Tech campus.
A Note on McCamish Seat Selection
Our staff is still working hard to complete the necessary arrangements to allow for season ticket holders to go through the seat selection process in the new McCamish Pavilion. We are now hoping to be able to inform you of the process and provide a time and date for your seat selection in early May.
Softball Senior Day Is Saturday
The softball team will host its final games of the regular season this Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29 when the Yellow Jackets take on Virginia Tech on senior weekend. Tech’s six seniors — Shannon Bear, Danielle Dike, Caroline Hilton, Kate Kuzma, Jessica Sinclair and Kelsi Weseman — will be honored on the field prior to the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at 1 p.m. Sunday will the final game of the regular season for Tech, to also begin at 1 p.m. The senior class has already accumulated three ACC regular season championships, two ACC Tournament titles, and three-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament. including the Jackets’ first time hosting a Super Regional in 2009 during their time at Georgia Tech. Come out and support your Jackets this weekend!
Track and Field
Some of the Georgia Tech men’s and women’s track and field athletes are already underway in competition at the world famous Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. The collegiate part of the meet, which will run from Thursday, April 26 to Saturday, April 28 will feature 32 Tech athletes in a slew of events. The Penn Relays always bring some of the world’s best competition.
Check out this article on transfer Rick Scheff who will be competing in his first ever Penn Relays: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-track/spec-rel/042412aaa.html
The Yellow Jackets finished the regular-season strong by winning their final three matches and advancing to the ACC Tournament semifinals with a 4-3 upset of No. 9 Miami before dropping a tough 4-3 match to No. 8 North Carolina. The squad is ranked No. 24 in the latest college tennis poll and is expected to earn their 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships when the pairings are announced on May 1. First and second round matches are played at campus sites May 11-12 and the finals will be held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., May 16-28.
Congratulations to Kevin King and Juan Spir, who were named to the All-ACC team announced Thursday. Kevin made the team for the third straight year, while Juan is a repeat selection from 2011. The team awaits the announcement of the field for the 16 NCAA regional tournaments that will be held around the country the weekend of May 11-13. The announcement of the 64-team field will be made May 1, followed by the announcement of the field for the NCAA singles and doubles championships on May 2. Kevin and Juan, the nation’s No. 2 doubles team, are candidates to receive bids in doubles and also singles.
On the heels of winning its fourth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference golf championship Sunday, Georgia Tech looks ahead to May 7, when the NCAA will announce the fields for its six regional championship tournaments. The regional sites are Ann Arbor, Mich., Athens, Ga., Bowling Green, Ky., Greensboro, N.C., Norman, Okla., and Stanford, Calif. The top five finishers in each regional will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 29-June 3, in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Head coach Brian Gregory and his staff completed one of the nation’s best recruiting classes last week by signing 6-0 guard Corey Heyward, the Yellow Jackets’ fourth 2012 recruit. All four of Tech’s incoming freshmen are from the Atlanta area and we look forward to having them in our program. One of the early signees, forward Robert Carter, has been invited to participate in the USA Under-18 team training camp, with the hopes that he will represent the U.S. in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20 in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil.