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The Good Word

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

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

OK, Jacket fans, we’ve turned the calendar to April and that brings forth a few significant opportunities to support our program. Right off, I want to encourage you to make plans to be at Russ Chandler Stadium this weekend for what should be a fantastic three-game baseball series as Danny Hall’s third-ranked Yellow Jackets face No. 5 North Carolina. College baseball at Georgia Tech is one of the most entertaining and economical pursuits in Atlanta. Bring the family. Tickets are only $5 in the grandstand, $3 for kids. Chair back seats right on top of the action go for just $10.

Please note the game times. Friday’s opener begins at 7 p.m. The Saturday game has been moved to a 3 p.m. start so fans can enjoy the NCAA basketball semifinal games later that evening. Sunday’s finale starts at 1 p.m. New Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson, who began his new job on our campus this week, will throw out the first pitch before Saturday’s game.

Here’s a huge pat on the back to our baseball team for the series win over Miami last weekend, as the Yellow Jackets blasted nine home runs in the three-game series. It was a great feeling to win a road series over the No. 2-ranked team. At the same time, Sharon Perkins’ softball team was continuing to settle into the new Shirley Clements Mewborn Field, as they took two of three from nationally-ranked Florida State. All in all, a great weekend! The softball team is on the road this weekend at Boston College, but returns home April 10-11 for a series with NC State.

I know I’ve used this space to compliment our golf program a few times over the years, but I rarely have an opportunity to tout a home event. Well, starting Sunday, you golf enthusiasts can walk the fairways with our Georgia Tech golfers as they host the United States Intercollegiate Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia. Nine of the top 10 nationally-ranked collegiate golf teams will compete. Entry badges are available for spectators at the clubhouse (at no charge). Play begins at 11 a.m. each day, Sunday through Tuesday.

I also want to mention Coach Bryan Shelton’s women’s tennis program as they are having yet another outstanding season. They will be playing their final two home regular season matches of the year Saturday and Sunday vs. Boston College and Maryland, respectively. Both matches begin at noon on the Tech campus.

Kudos this week as well to three of our outstanding student-athletes who were honored at the annual Peach of an Athlete Awards dinner on Tuesday night. Football’s Darryl Richard came away with top honors, while softball’s Whitney Haller and baseball’s Jason Haniger were among eight nominees. The Peach of an Athlete Award annually recognizes top Georgia athletes who excel not only on the field, but also in the community. I can’t think of three better representatives of our Georgia Tech athletic program.

One related note, Whitney Haller is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Tech fans can vote for Whitney by clicking here.

Of course what would the month of April be without the thrill of college football? Thanks to all of you who have either renewed or purchased your season tickets for the 2009 campaign. Our renewal deadline was yesterday… if you have somehow forgotten or maybe procrastinated a bit too long, please either call 888-TECH-TIX or go online to to take care of this vital piece of business.

We are delighted that more than 20,000 season tickets have been purchased or renewed to date, but we have much work to do. We need all of your help to not only make your purchases, but to continue to bring fans into the fold. All of the elements are in place: an outstanding returning team; one of America’s hottest coaches in Paul Johnson; a blockbuster home schedule that includes Georgia, Clemson, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, Wake Forest and Jacksonville State; an affordable ticket price starting at $260; and new entertainment and sound elements that I have mentioned in this space previously. Click here to view the new video and ribbon boards, which are just a part of the overall new look.

And don’t forget to make plans to be here April 18th for our annual spring football game. Kickoff is set for noon, but there will be music, inflatables, face-painters, food and merchandise on hand beginning at 10 a.m. The Yellow Jacket Marching Band will play from the steps on Callaway Plaza at 11:30, before leading everyone into the game. Please note that due to ongoing improvements to Bobby Dodd Stadium, the West side will not be accessible for the spring game. Gates on the North and East side (Gates 5, 7, 9) of the stadium will be open with seating available in those areas. Restrooms and concessions will be open on the North and East areas of the stadium. Admission to the game is free.

And, if you are still thinking of purchasing season tickets or increasing your allotment, or if you have a friend who would like to meet with a representative, members of our sales team will be set up for this purpose in the North end zone throughout the day.

Finally, there is one other event fast approaching. Next Thursday, April 9th, we will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Zelnak Center, our state of the art basketball practice facility adjacent to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum. We will be recognizing the Zelnak family’s generous contribution to this wonderful addition at the 2 p.m. ceremony.

Georgia Tech junior Gal Nevo earned All-American honors in the 200-IM and 400-IM after his performance last week at the NCAA Championships. However, his efforts should really be examined closer to be appreciated.

Consider this: his time in the 400-IM was the second-fastest time in NCAA history and the third-best in the world. Nevo’s time was just behind Michigan’s Tyler Clary, who won the race, and Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps.

Nevo was named the ACC’s Male Swimmer of the Year and Nigel Plummer was tabbed ACC Freshman of the Year. Congrats to both and to head coach Stu Wilson.

Georgia Tech is hosting Georgia this evening in a dual meet at the George C. Griffin Track. The two teams begin at 5 p.m. with the hammer throw, with the majority of events beginning tonight at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.


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