The Good Word

TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

Since my last visit with you via The Good Word we have had a chance to welcome our new President, Dr. Bud Peterson, and his wife Val to the Georgia Tech family. Although Dr. Peterson officially assumes his new role April 1, I have already had an opportunity to spend some time with him, and I am genuinely excited about his interest and understanding of intercollegiate athletics. Last Saturday, I had an opportunity to travel to Boulder, Colo., for an afternoon discussion with him at his office on the University of Colorado campus. It was an opportunity for me to present an overview of our goals and priorities and to gain an understanding of what his philosophy will bring to Georgia Tech Athletics.

As a result I feel very confident that he will be a great asset to our program going forward. All of us in athletics look forward to getting to know the Petersons and welcome them with open arms. Click here for information on Dr. Bud Peterson.

We are less than two weeks from our season football ticket renewal deadline of April 1, and I hope you have either taken care of your renewal or have plans to do so. The process is quick and easy by visiting ramblinwreck.com/tickets or calling 1-888-TECH TIX. It’s also easy to purchase new or additional season tickets right on the spot. Remember, this is the backbone of our Georgia Tech Athletics program. Don’t miss out on a great 2009 home schedule. And don’t forget, purchasing Georgia Tech season tickets is the only way to ensure you get to be on hand for our showdown with UGA at the end of the year.

Georgia Tech football begins its second season under 2008 ACC Coach of the Year Paul Johnson when spring practice begins here Monday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets, who finished 22nd in both major polls after posting a 9-4 record last season, will hold 14 practices prior to the April 18th T-Day Game.

Tech returns 17 starters – 18 when including junior kicker/punter Scott Blair – from a team that tied for the ACC Coastal Division title and played LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Johnson, who was also the CBS Sportsline National Coach of the Year, returns nine starters on offense and eight on defense. In all, 61 letterwinners return, and Johnson will welcome 20 scholarship freshmen in August.

Generally speaking, the team will practice on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday each week beginning next week. Practices during the week will begin at around 3:30 p.m., with the Saturday session time to be determined. Our Spring T-Day game will kick off at noon April 18.

I want to send out a huge word of congratulations to Coach MaChelle Joseph and her women’s basketball team for earning their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. It seems the Jackets have a thing about the state of Iowa. For the second straight year we’ll compete in Iowa, this time in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes on Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. (televised by ESPN2).

I would be remiss in not thanking all of our fans who came out to support our men’s team at the ACC Tournament last weekend at the Georgia Dome. Our guys put on a gutsy performance, knocking off 17th-ranked Clemson before falling in a two-point heartbreaker to 22nd-ranked Florida State. Georgia Tech was well-represented by our contingent of fans who wore the Gold and White and made lots of noise. Overall, despite the economy, the tournament was a success. It actually drew the second-highest total attendance (more than 158,000) in the history of the ACC.

I was honored to be a part of a historic event last week when we cut the ribbon on our brand new softball complex – Shirley Clements Mewborn Field – on the Georgia Tech campus. I urge all of you to make a special effort to visit this new facility and you will be amazed at the aesthetics that have been created. The field lies at the corner of Fowler and Eighth Street, on the site of a former parking lot adjacent to historic O’Keefe High School. I can assure you this will be the site of many fun and exciting spring afternoons and evenings for years to come. Get out and support Coach Sharon Perkins and the Georgia Tech softball team. Click here for the full schedule.

Right across the street, Danny Hall’s baseball team is one exciting bunch to watch. Off to a sensational start and ranked third in the nation, this club should once again challenge for an ACC title. Upcoming weekend series at Russ Chandler Stadium with North Carolina, Virginia and Florida State should bring us some fun times. Click here for the 2009 baseball schedule and results.

Also this week, a tip of the visor to golfer Cameron Tringale, who captured medalist honors at the Southern Highlands Intercollegiate event in Las Vegas. Bruce Heppler’s 12th-ranked Jackets finished sixth in one of the strongest collegiate fields of the year.

Once again this week I want to plant the seed about our second annual Spring Caravan. This event, featuring Paul Johnson, Paul Hewitt, MaChelle Joseph, Wes Durham and me, rolls out in May with stops in and around the Atlanta metro area and beyond. Danny Hall and Bryan Shelton are also scheduled to make appearances at a couple of the stops. Visit ramblinwreck.com/caravan for registration information on the tour and get these dates locked into your calendar.

WOMEN’S TENNIS AT GEORGIA TODAY
Fresh off a big win over No. 4 Notre Dame last week, Georgia Tech and ACC Player of the Week Amanda McDowell travel to Athens today for a showdown with Georgia (5 p.m.). Coach Bryan Shelton’s team will host two ACC matches this weekend – vs. Virginia on Saturday (noon) and vs. Virginia Tech on Sunday (11 a.m.).

MEN’S TENNIS IN VIRGINIA
Coach Kenny Thorne’s men’s tennis team, now 6-6 after a win over Tennessee Tech earlier this week, plays at Virginia Tech Friday and at Virginia on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets return home March 27 for a match against Wake Forest (2:30 p.m.).

SWIMMING AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Coach Stu Wilson’s men’s swimming and diving team will send nine participants to the NCAA Championships beginning March 26 in College Station, Texas.

TRACK HOSTS TWO UPCOMING EVENTS
The track and field teams will host a pair of meets later this month and in early April. The Yellow Jacket Invitational will take place March 27-28. On April 2, Tech will host Georgia in a dual meet. Congrats to junior Alphonso Jordan, who recently earned Indoor All-American honors by finishing eighth in the triple jump.

MISCELLANEOUS
– Three Tech teams will all be in Blacksburg, Va., this weekend to face Virginia Tech. Baseball plays the Hokies Friday (5:30), Saturday (5:30) and Sunday (1:00). Softball plays Saturday (12 and 2:00) and Sunday (1:00). Men’s tennis takes on the Hokies Friday (2:00).
– If you are familiar with Twitter, check out the Georgia Tech Athletics page here. We only recently started the page and have more than 200 people following us.
– Construction on the new video board in Bobby Dodd Stadium will begin almost immediately following the April 18 T-Day Game. To get an idea of what the new board will look like, click here.
– Congrats to senior catcher Jason Haniger, who was recently named a candidate for the Johnny Bench Award (nation’s top college catcher) and for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
– Congrats to senior golfer Cameron Tringale, who was named the Golf World National Player of the Week following his victory in Las Vegas.

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