May 1, 2008
The good news for this week’s Good Word is that I am spending a couple of days in sunny south Florida. The bad news is that I’ve seen nothing but the inside of a meeting room for most of my stay. The best news is that by the time you read this I’ll be headed back to Atlanta in time for our big Caravan stop tonight at the Cobb Galleria. I’ll have more on that later.
On my list of responsibilities is a term of service on the NCAA’s Bowl Licensing Committee. We are meeting this week to look at the overall bowl structure and to consider the addition of a couple of new bowl games. I can report to you that the bowl landscape is changing. Yesterday our committee approved the addition of two new bowls. The Congressional Bowl, to be played in Washington D.C., will have a tie with the ACC, giving our conference an additional opportunity on the East coast and within our league’s footprint. We also approved the addition of a new bowl game in St. Petersburg, Fla., to be played at Tropicana Field. This bowl will have a Conference USA – Big East matchup.
We will have more news in the coming days as to how these changes will affect our post-season opportunities here at Georgia Tech.
I hope by now I have made it pretty clear that a major point of emphasis for us this year is our season ticket sales. As you probably know, football and basketball season tickets form the backbone of our support structure. By assembling a dedicated sales team over the winter months we feel like we are making strides in increasing our season ticket base, but we cannot accomplish our goals without your help.
If you are already a season ticket holder, consider increasing your allotment. Better yet, think about friends, family and business associates that you might encourage to jump on board. We believe that increasing our season ticket sales is a matter of doing it the old fashioned way – personal contacts, corporate involvement and word of mouth. This can become a mission for all Georgia Tech alumni and friends. Many of you have expressed the desire to put gold-clad Georgia Tech fans in our 55,000 seats. This is an effort to work toward that goal.
If you have thoughts, ideas or leads on season ticket sales opportunities, please do not hesitate to shoot an e-mail to Scott McLaren at firstname.lastname@example.org. He and his team will get back to you in a timely manner.
I want to thank all of you who came out for our T-Day Spring Football game on the 19th. You were part of the largest crowd we have seen in recent years. Wasn’t that a spectacular day to spend on the Flats? Paul Johnson and his staff continue to work hard in preparing for the 2008 season. No one knows better than Coach Johnson the hard work that lies ahead, but no one is more excited about the strides being made as we look forward to a productive summer and to the start of fall practice.
Coach Johnson, by the way, capped off spring drills by participating in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Alma Mater Golf outing earlier this week at Reynolds Plantation. He teamed with former Tech basketball great Jon Barry and finished in fourth place in the star-studded field. However, nothing surpassed our coach’s feat of scoring a hole-in-one on No. 15 of the Oconee Course in Monday’s corporate event. He recorded his second career ace when he holed a pitching wedge from 128 yards.
Don’t forget you’ll have a chance to meet and greet Coaches Johnson, Hewitt and Joseph along with Wes Durham and me at our first Caravan stop tonight (May 1st) at the Cobb Galleria. The event is open to all Georgia Tech alumni and fans and begins at 6:30. I hope to see you there. Click here for a link to the entire Yellow Jacket Caravan schedule of events throughout the month of May.
Another May tradition seems to be the appearance of our women’s tennis team in the NCAA Tournament. We will begin defense of our 2007 National Championship as the No. 3 national seed. Bryan Shelton’s team will once again host the first and second rounds of the tournament here at Tech on May 9-10. Our ladies will take on Alcorn State at noon on the 9th while Illinois takes on Tennessee at 3. Winners play on Saturday the 10th at 1 p.m. for the right to move on.
Finally, this Saturday is graduation day at Georgia Tech. This year’s commencement ceremony is being held at the Georgia Dome due to renovations taking place inside Alexander Memorial Coliseum. I want to congratulate all of our student-athletes who will earn Tech degrees this weekend. What a marvelous accomplishment to excel in a varsity sport at the highest level and earn an academic degree from one of this nation’s finest institutions. Click here for a story listing all of our student-athlete spring graduates.
Here’s a look at some other Georgia Tech action:
BASEBALL BEGINS HOMESTRETCH
College baseball fans will truly enjoy the next two weeks of Georgia Tech baseball. Coach Danny Hall’s team plays a three-game series against always-tough and 15th-ranked Coastal Carolina Friday through Sunday at Russ Chandler Stadium. Next Wednesday (May 7), the Yellow Jackets will try to clinch the season series with rival Georgia, in Athens. May 9-11 Tech will welcome Clemson to the Flats, followed by the annual game at Turner Field against UGA on May 13th.
TECH BEGINS NATIONAL TITLE DEFENSE MAY 9
The defending NCAA champion women’s tennis team was awarded a No. 3 national seed and will host first- and second-round matches next week (May 9-10). Coach Bryan Shelton’s squad will play Alcorn State Friday (May 9) at 12 noon, while Illinois and Tennessee will square off at 3 p.m. The winners will play Saturday (May 10) at 1 p.m. at the Bill Moore Tennis Center.
GOLFERS SCORE WELL… IN THE CLASSROOM
Coach Bruce Heppler’s golf team will find out Monday if it will head to the East, Central or West region of the NCAA Golf Tournament. In the meantime, the Yellow Jackets are performing at a high rate in the classroom. Heppler’s squad achieved a perfect score for the second straight year in the latest Academic Progress Rate data released by the NCAA.
SOFTBALL TEAM ENTERS POSTSEASON ON A ROLL
The Georgia Tech softball team has been a good story this spring. Coach Sharon Perkins’ team was 10-21 at one point, but rallied to win 20 of its last 27 regular season games and is 30-28 entering the May 8-11 ACC Tournament. The Yellow Jackets have overcome injuries to key players and a wacky season of weather to be in contention for a possible NCAA Tournament bid.
TRACK PREPPING FOR REGIONALS
The Jacket men’s and women’s track teams will compete at Clemson next weekend, then host the Georgia Tech Invitational May 16-17. Several individuals are hoping to qualify for the May 30-31 NCAA East Regional in Tallahassee, Fla. Several Yellow Jackets have already done just that, including: Jenae Anderson (4x100m Relay), Alana Clooten (Hammer Throw), Taylor Davidson (4x100m Relay), E.C. Gibbs (1500m), Kimery Hern (Hammer), Mario Johnson (400m IH), Alphonso Jordan (Triple Jump, 110m HH), James Lemons II (Triple Jump), Kayla McKeirnan (4x400m Relay), Steve Marcelle (Shot Put, Discus), Amanda Montgomery (4x400m Relay), Shantia Moss (100m HH, 4x100m Relay), Leslie Njoku (400m IH, 4x400m Relay), Nigel Orr (Long Jump), Andy Powlen (Shot Put), Jacqua Williams (4x100m Relay) and Joanna Wright (Pole Vault).
TICKETS FOR OLYMPIC LIFTING TRIALS ON SALE
Tickets for the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Trials, set for May 16-17 at the Ferst Center, are on sale. The two days of competition will decide who will represent the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games weightlifting competition this summer in Beijing, China. Tickets are on sale for $11.25 and can be ordered online at www.olympictrials2008.com, or by calling 678-750-0220.
FORMER TECH PLAYER COMPETING AT 73
Dick Forsythe played basketball at Georgia Tech in the 1950s. Click here for an interesting story about him as he continues to play hoops at age 73.