Oct. 11, 2012
TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics
FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics
This week Coach Paul Johnson made a very difficult and calculated decision to relieve defensive coordinator Al Groh of his duties. It’s not often these decisions are carried out in the middle of a season, but in this case Paul wanted to send the clear message that he has not given up on 2012 despite our 2-4 start. Ironically, this change comes at the exact half-way point of the season. I happen to believe that this team can finish this season very strong. Just as last season was a year of contrasting halves, this could present that opportunity in reverse and I believe Coach Johnson made this change to create the best opportunity for that to happen.
Paul faced two choices this week. The first was to continue down the same path and attempt to get better and improve each week with the same pieces in place. To remain with the status quo even though, as he has said, he knew the coordinator change was inevitable. The second was to take immediate and decisive action in an attempt to change direction and look for improved results. After many hours of discussion and deliberation, he chose the latter.
I would be remiss if I did not thank Al Groh for the time and energy he gave to Georgia Tech over the last two and a half years. Al is a delightful man with a great family and a wealth of history and knowledge that he has imparted on all who came in contact with him. By all accounts he is a terrific football coach and the fact that things didn’t work out here should not cast any dispersions on a stellar 45-year career. He likely still has more football to coach before he’s done. I wish Al and Anne all the best in their next endeavor.
We are all in this together and our players and coaches need your support and positive energy right now. We have made a move saying to all fans, “we’re doing everything we can to work toward a successful season.” It can be done. I believe it, Coach Johnson believes it, and our players believe it. We have taken action, now we’re asking you to take action. I’m asking for you to re-energize your support and re-kindle your great commitment. Stay with us and we’ll keep fighting.
We have three home games remaining: vs. Boston College, our homecoming tilt with BYU and a resurgent Duke team that started the season 5-1. We have Maryland and UNC on the road and an end-of-the-year shot at those Dawgs over in Athens Thanksgiving weekend. We enjoy a needed bye on Saturday. We’ll kick off at 3 p.m. vs. BC here on the 20th and we hope to see a great crowd.
GEORGIA TECH BASKETBALL
In the last two and a half years, we have worked hard on a culture change within our men’s basketball program. We have a dynamic, hard-working and proven head coach in Brian Gregory, who is reaching deep into our community, changing the basketball culture at Georgia Tech and recruiting top-notch players. Thanks to the family of Hank McCamish we have completed a magnificent renovation process and created the new McCamish Pavilion, which will give you as exciting a college basketball venue as you’ll find in America. All told, we have invested more than $70 million in our men’s and women’s basketball programs and their futures. Additionally, since this basketball transformation began in 2010, our conference has added basketball powers Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame to an already strong ACC lineup.
The next 30 days will present the most important challenge in the process. Our season ticket sales through this week have reached about 4,400. We are not yet back to the level we were in 2010-11, our last season on campus before the renovation. Our aspiration is to do much better. I know I’m writing to many of you who are already in the fold, and I know there are countless loyal and undying fans that support us in every way. But if you haven’t considered season tickets at McCamish, join us now. There are great seats remaining in all price ranges. Many who have seen the new venue say there is not a bad seat in the house! We have a sales team on duty every workday on the site, and there is free parking next to the building in the lot east of the Pavilion. You can walk in, take a tour, sit in the seats and try them out.
Get on board and help us complete the journey to return Georgia Tech basketball to prominence. The pieces are in place!
CREMINS COMMITTEE REACHING OUT TO FORMER PLAYERS
Bobby Cremins and his hard-working group of Tech basketball supporters continue to reach out to all former Yellow Jacket players. The first message is an invitation to attend the grand opening of McCamish Pavilion Nov. 9 when the Jackets take on Tulane. Through a massive effort, many e-mail and physical addresses of former players have been gathered. Those in the database have been issued the invitation to attend the grand opening, celebrate with a pre-game gathering and to be recognized on the court at halftime.
Of course, Coach Cremins’ overriding message to former players is to encourage them to get behind Brian Gregory and the basketball program like never before. The goal of both coaches – Gregory and Cremins – is to make members of the Yellow Jacket basketball family through the years feel a part of this dynamic new look both on the court and in our new home at McCamish Pavilion.
If you are a former men’s basketball player at Tech and have not heard from us about the grand opening celebration, please contact Erica Sheppard in our basketball office at (404) 894-4424 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important to reach out soon as we are holding a group of tickets for former players, but they must be reserved now by contacting Erica.
The ultimate Tech tradition is back. Join us for Homecoming, October 25-27. For more information and to register for events, please visit Homecoming.
The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team, seeking its seventh straight 20-win season, began official practice for the upcoming 2012-13 season on Oct. 2. The Yellow Jackets will open the season and make their debut in the new McCamish Pavilion Sunday, Nov. 11, in a 2 p.m. contest against perennial national power Tennessee. Tickets to see our women’s basketball in action in a fantastic arena are a steal. Season tickets for all 15 home games, including dates with Tennessee, Georgia and nine ACC games, can be purchased for just $65. A Super Sunday Plan, which includes a reserved seat for Sunday games against Tennessee, Marquette and Georgia, can be purchased for $20 while single-game tickets went on sale earlier this week.
The Georgia Tech golf team returns to action next weekend when it hosts the annual United States Collegiate Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia, Oct. 19-21. One of the nation’s premier collegiate events, Tech will welcome Auburn, Clemson, Duke, East Tennessee State, Iowa, Kent State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Southern California, Texas A&M, defending champion UCLA, Virginia, Wake Forest and Washington. Last year’s tournament was ranked No. 2 among all collegiate events for the strength of its field. The Yellow Jackets, who won the PING-Golfweek Preview Invitational this fall and finished second at the Brickyard Collegiate last week, won the USCC in 2010. The format is 18 holes each day beginning in the late morning. Tee times will be posted at the www.uscc.org and www.golfstatresults.com.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Fourth-year head coach Courtney Shealy Hart and the Yellow Jackets take to the pool for the first time this season Saturday versus the College of Charleston at 11 am. Admission is free at the GT Aquatic Center. Both teams welcome deep freshmen classes, and the expectations are high as the Jackets return a pair of a All-ACC performers and a reigning Olympian.
Heading back to North Carolina for the second time in three weeks, the Georgia Tech volleyball team will face Wake Forest on Friday night, followed by Duke on Saturday. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets (13-4, 5-2 ACC) are on the hunt for their first road win this season, as their last trip to North Carolina ended with a pair of losses against NC State and UNC. The team bounced back with two victories this past weekend at O’Keefe against Virginia Tech and Virginia to keep its perfect 9-0 record at home, but have yet to snare that first elusive road win.
Milestones – senior Monique Mead has accumulated 1985.5 points so far in her four-year career and needs just 14.5 to reach 2,000, a feat that hasn’t been done in the last 10 years.
The cross country team is back in action this weekend for its final tune up before the ACC Championships. The Yellow Jackets will make the trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to compete in the Crimson Classic Saturday morning. Action kicks off at 8:30 a.m.