Nov. 15, 2007
TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics
I hope you’re all as excited as we are about the return of Thursday night football to Bobby Dodd Stadium. The atmosphere should be electric and the competition keen for this huge ACC battle. Let us not forget as our opponents come to town the tragic loss of family and friends this program suffered last April 16. We have all shared in their grief.
We hope that our fans will pay a special salute to the Hokie Spirit” which has shown so brightly over the past few months. Let us welcome them with open arms and sympathetic hearts, remembering the long road they have traveled since that tragic day.
We have an action-packed night ahead full of great football and great entertainment. Joy Summerville will sing our National Anthem, former quarterback and recent Georgia Tech graduate Joe Hamilton will serve as our honorary team captain and pyrotechnics will punctuate the evening.
We also have local hip-hop star Big Boi, one half of the multi-grammy award winning duo Outkast, performing three songs on stage at halftime. The Yellow Jacket Marching Band will accompany the show, complete with its own fireworks. I had a chance to meet Big Boi, whose real name is Antwan Patton, at a fund-raiser for his Big Kidz Foundation last week. I have learned of the many wonderful things he is doing for youth in the Atlanta community as well as his work with the Atlanta Ballet which has received rave reviews.
And now a follow up to a story from last week’s column: In one of the more bazaar events I can recall in my years in intercollegiate athletics, I have been put in the position to rescind my recommendation for all of you Jacket fans to make plans to visit West Point next season for our return game at Army. Loyal readers of The Good Word will recall that in my last edition, I talked about what a great pleasure it will be to visit such a prestigious and hallowed place for a game in 2008. While the venue remains as I described, circumstances have abruptly changed and Georgia Tech’s visit there will not occur.
Let me explain.
Less than an hour before the kickoff of our homecoming game, Kevin Anderson, Director of Athletics at the Academy, hand delivered to me a letter stating that Army would exercise an option to cancel next year’s return game scheduled for October 11, 2008. It is indeed an extremely rare occasion for any school to opt out of a home game, after playing that opponent already on the road. But the explanation was clearly verbalized in the letter I read that afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“After evaluating the limited depth on our roster, we realize that playing consecutive games against schools from major conferences is not in the best interest of our program or our cadets,” wrote Mr. Anderson. “Under similar circumstances in years past, our players have suffered numerous injuries that have threatened both their athletic and military careers.”
Wow. In light of our world circumstances, what was I to say to that rationale? I have made an offer to perhaps find a different place in the schedule for the game, but that resolution was not possible after a subsequent conversation with Mr. Anderson. In the meantime, we have moved swiftly to identify other possibilities that could bring a seventh home game to Bobby Dodd Stadium in ’08. Stay tuned for developments as they occur in the coming days and weeks.
Finally, I would reiterate that is was truly an honor to host the United StatesMilitaryAcademy for the game on the flats 10 days ago. As Mr. Anderson went on to say is his letter to me: “We need to be careful as we focus on our primary mission to produce leaders for our nation’s Army.”
Well said, Kevin. We wish you guys nothing but the best!
And now, here are some other notes of interest.
Georgia Tech will continue a “Game-Day” recycling program on Thursday. GTAA has been working closely with numerous campus stakeholders and its vendors to initiate this program. Student volunteers will be handing out blue recycling bags to tailgaters entering several of our parking areas. Please assist our student volunteers by using these blue bags for your aluminum, plastic and glass containers. Please do not place other waste in these bags. Your participation in expanding our campus-wide recycling program and keeping our campus beautiful is greatly appreciated.
Parking For Virginia Tech Game
Fans holding football parking permits for this Thursday’s game with Virginia Tech will have full access to those parking lots beginning at 5:00pm Thursday afternoon. Campus lots will be utilized for student, faculty and employee permit holders until that time. As much as we enjoy hosting Thursday night games, this (parking) is one area where patience will be necessary.