Jan. 10, 2008
First, let me wish you a belated Happy New Year with a hope that you all enjoyed a joyous holiday season. Needless to say it was a busy time for all of us here at Georgia Tech, with a number of men’s and women’s basketball games, our bowl trip to Boise, and the work of transitioning in our new football coaching staff.
I would be remiss if I didn’t send congratulations right off the bat to MaChelle Joseph and our women’s basketball team for their hot start and for moving ever-so-close to cracking the Top 25. This is exciting, especially since we are coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance and first-round win in ’07. I hope you will come out to the Coliseum tonight when the ladies take on Wake Forest in their ACC home opener at 7:00.
Also, I am happy to report that Bryan Shelton’s women’s tennis team will begin the spring season right where they left off last year – at No. 1 in the nation. Championships are certainly hard to repeat, but I want to wish Bryan and the ladies the very best in their quest to defend their National Championship.
Personally, my first full weekend of the new year will be spent in Nashville at the NCAA Convention. Because of the many structural changes within the governance of the NCAA, there are rarely contested issues that come to votes on the floor of the convention as they did in past years. But this year there are three measures we will take a look at. They deal with text messaging as used in recruiting, a movement to change the length of the competition season in golf, and perhaps the most controversial — a proposal that would change the number of baseball players and the minimum amount of financial aid a baseball player would receive. In two weeks I’ll provide an update and the results and impact of these issues as they relate to Georgia Tech.
My main emphasis in this week’s Good Word is to address the transition of our football program. I want you all to rest assured that the process is progressing as expected. Coach Paul Johnson has his new staff in place and ready to hit the recruiting trail. We fully understood when making the change that there would be some student-athletes who would wish to pursue other opportunities. Obviously, you hope these cases are minimal and up to now that certainly have been. We wish the young men who have opted to leave the program only the very best.
That being said, I am more convinced today than ever that our football program is in capable hands. We are moving in a very positive direction and this change is destined to reap rewards for many years to come. I, like many of you, am looking forward to spring practice which will culminate with a much-anticipated Spring Football Game on Saturday, April 19. In fact, mark your calendars not only for that date, but keep open Friday evening, April 18 as well. Soon we will release details of a major Georgia Tech event to celebrate our spring weekend and formally welcome Coach Johnson and his new staff to Georgia Tech.
In the meantime, we all need to hold the rope. Our staff is working hard on some positive features and information on our programs and personalities which will be distributed to the media. It will also appear in written and video form on our website in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout for a video Q & A, as Wes Durham visits with the assistant football coaches. You will be able to access the interviews on Ramblinwreck.com beginning next week.
These guys need our support more than ever as Paul Hewitt goes about re-loading for the future. Loud supportive crowds at the Thrillerdome in the coming weeks will be a huge boost for our young and improving student-athletes. We can start the noise next Wednesday night when North Carolina comes to town and the following Saturday when Virginia Tech visits.
Also, here is a heads up that all men’s basketball games for the remainder of the season can be heard on WREK (91.1) as well as 790 The Zone. As you may know, all of our women’s basketball games are heard on WREK as well. And this year you can hear every Georgia Tech baseball game on WREK. We are very happy to have a great partnership with our campus station which gives us a tremendous signal, covering all of metro Atlanta and beyond.
Invoices for 2008 football Tech Fund should be on their way on or about Feb. 1. Be on the lookout.
Lending A Hand
Many of our student-athletes will be out in the community over the next two weekends lending a helping hand. Approximately 30 student-athletes from the baseball and volleyball teams will work this Saturday with Habitat For Humanity. I am told that the house they are working on is located close to the Hi-Fi Buys Lakewood Amphitheatre.
The following weekend, student-athletes representing almost all of our teams, will assist the Special Olympic State Games of Georgia. Some will serve as grand marshals for Friday night’s opening ceremonies. On Saturday (Jan. 19), our student-athletes will assist with the bowling competition in Marietta.
Congrats to our women’s cross country team, which received the ACC’s Sportsmanship Award for the 2007 fall season.