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The Good Word

Feb. 7, 2008

The Good Word comes to you this week from south Florida where the ACC Athletics Directors are gathering for our annual winter meeting. I arrived here last night in time to receive word of our men’s basketball victory over Wake Forest, giving us three straight road wins in the league. Quite a feat! I can’t emphasize enough the outstanding job that Paul Hewitt and his staff have done with this team, which is improving every day. I’m not sure there is any measuring stick in sports better than to witness a team’s steady and consistent improvement during the course of a season.

And by the way, I’m not the only Tech partisan in this part of Florida today. Our women’s basketball team takes its 18-4 overall record to the floor here tonight against the University of Miami. Good luck to Coach MaChelle Joseph and her troops.

And speaking of women’s basketball, we are extremely excited about a very special event coming up this Sunday. Our Jackets have teamed up with our partner Russell Athletic on a powerful statement called the “Think Pink” initiative. During our game against powerhouse North Carolina, Georgia Tech will sport all pink uniforms provided by Russell. This initiative will also take place nationwide in an effort to increase breast cancer awareness. Please plan to be at the game on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Anyone attending the game wearing pink will be admitted for only $2. See you there.

Well, yesterday was certainly a satisfying day for Coach Paul Johnson and our football program. We could not be more pleased by the swift and efficient work done by our new coaching staff in securing 20 new Yellow Jackets on national signing day. Considering they started with fewer than 10 commitments and had only three allowable weeks to recruit, the class of 2008 was, by all accounts, a huge success. Also, we should give a tip of the hat to Giff Smith, who continued to shine in the role of recruiting coordinator as he transitioned to work with Coach Johnson, his old friend from Georgia Southern days.

I hope you were able to catch our unique coverage of the day’s events on Ramblinwreck.com. We were able to stream live video throughout the morning as the signees were announced, and to give you live coverage of coaches’ comments and video highlights on the spot. This is an example of the new and different content we are attempting to provide with our new look site. We are also running a series of one-on-one interviews with our new football staff as well as members of our baseball team as we lead up to the coming season. What better way to get to know your Yellow Jacket coaches and student-athletes up close and personal.

And while we start the countdown to football 2008, a reminder here to be on the lookout for your TECH Fund invoice that begins the process toward season-ticket renewal for Paul Johnson’s inaugural campaign. Remember the TECH Fund is separate from your actual season ticket invoice which will follow in early May. Your TECH Fund invoice is on the way by mail, or you can simply complete the process on line if you care to do so. As always, we appreciate your support and timely attention to these matters.

Part in parcel with all of this football talk are the final touches we are placing on the 2008 schedule. Within a day or two we hope to have the go-ahead from the ACC to release our schedule for the coming season. Be on the lookout through the local media and on our web site Ramblinwreck.com.

STATE OF THE DEPARTMENT
Two weeks ago in The Good Word I wrote about my opportunity to share with a group of our “Life Members” a kind of “State of the Union” address with regard to our athletics program. In my remarks I touched on some achievements in 2007 as well as some 2008 initiatives. I thought I might share this discussion with you by way of a video presentation, accessible from here. Please Click here to watch this video (32 minutes in length).

SOFTBALL OPENER
Coach Sharon Perkins’ nationally-ranked softball team won’t have to travel far for the 2008 season opener. The Yellow Jackets, ranked 17th and 18th in the national preseason polls, will play this weekend in a tournament at Georgia State. Two Tech players – Savannah Brown and Whitney Haller – are on the preseason list for National Player of the Year.

GOLF OPENS SPRING CAMPAIGN
As of this writing, Coach Bruce Heppler’s 5th-ranked golf team is in the middle of its opening tournament of the spring season. Playing on the Big Island in Hawai’i, the Yellow Jackets played well in Wednesday’s opening round and junior All-American Cameron Tringale was tied for second place in the individual race.

MEN’S TENNIS UNBEATEN
Off to a perfect 4-0 start, Coach Kenny Thorne’s men’s tennis team has a pair of key home matches coming up in the next week at home. The Jackets host Mississippi State on Sunday (Noon) and Auburn on Thursday (2 p.m.).

DEFENDING CHAMPS AT NATIONAL INDOORS
Coach Bryan Shelton’s women’s tennis team begins play today (Feb. 7) in the ITA National Indoor Championship in Madison, Wisc. The Yellow Jackets hope to defend their crown after winning the event last year. Ten of the last 20 teams to win the National Indoors have gone on to win the NCAA Championship, including Tech in 2007.

ACC SWIMMING IN ATLANTA
Georgia Tech will host the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships later this month – a great opportunity to watch some of the nation’s best, and perhaps future Olympians, compete right here on our campus. The women’s event is Feb. 20-23 and the men’s event is Feb. 27-March 1.

BASEBALL OPENS FEB. 22
Coach Danny Hall’s baseball team opened full-scale practices this week. The Yellow Jackets are preparing for their Feb. 22 opener vs. Youngstown State (4 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium).

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