- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football
TeamName = Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football
ImageSize = 124px
HeadCoachDisplay = Paul Johnson
HeadCoachLink = Paul Johnson (American football coach)
HeadCoachYear = 1st
HCWins = 3
HCLosses = 1
HCTies = 0
Stadium = Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field
StadCapacity = 55,000
StadSurface = Grass
Location = Atlanta, Georgia
ConferenceLink = Atlantic Coast Conference
ConfDivision = Coastal
FirstYear = 1892
AthlDirectorDisp = Dan Radakovich
AthlDirectorLink = Dan Radakovich
WebsiteName = ramblinwreck.com - Football
WebsiteURL = http://www.ramblinwreck.com/
ATWins = 649
ATLosses = 436
ATTies = 43
ATPercentage = .549
BowlWins = 22
BowlLosses = 13
BowlTies = 0
NatlTitles = 4
ConfTitles = 15
Heismans = 0
AllAmericans = 49
Color1 = White
Color1Hex = FFFFFF
Color2 = Old Gold
Color2Hex = CFB53B
FightSong = "
Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech"
and "Up With the White & Gold"
MascotDisplay = Buzz the Yellow Jacket
MascotLink = Buzz (mascot)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Marching Band
PagFreeValue =The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team represents the
Georgia Institute of Technologyin collegiate level football. While the team is officially designated as the Yellow Jackets, it is also appropriately referred to as the Ramblin' Wreck. The Yellow Jackets are a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC). The Georgia Institute of Technology has fielded a football team since 1892 and has an all-time record of 649–436–43 (a .594 winning percentage). The Jackets play in Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, Georgia, which has a capacity of 55,000. The Jackets have won four Division I-A college football national championships and 15 conference titles.
A number of successful collegiate and professional football players once played for Tech. The school boasts 48 first-team
All-Americansand over 150 alumni who have played in the NFL. Among the most lauded and most notable players the school has produced are Joe Hamilton, Joe Guyon, Billy Shawand Calvin Johnson. In addition to its players, Tech's football program has been noted for its coaches and its traditions. Among the team's former coaches are John Heisman, for whom the Heisman trophyis named, and Bobby Dodd, for whom the school's stadium is named. Heisman led the team to the highest-scoring game in collegiate football history, and both Heisman and Dodd led Tech's football team to NCAAchampionships. Dodd also led the Jackets on their longest winning streak against the University of Georgia, Tech's most time-endured rival.
The beginnings: 1892–1903
Tech began its football program with several students forming a loose-knit troop of footballers called the Blacksmiths. The first season, Tech played three games and lost all of them. Discouraged by these results, the Blacksmiths sought a coach to improve their record.
Leonard Wood, a local Atlantan, heard of Tech's football struggles and volunteered to player-coach the team. [cite news|first=Joseph|last=Byrd|url=http://gtalumni.org/StayInformed/techtopics/spr92/FOW.html|title=From Civil War Battlefields to the Moon: Leonard Wood|work=Tech Topics|publisher=Georgia Tech Alumni Association|date=Spring 1992|accessdate=2007-03-12]
In 1893, Tech played its first game against the
University of Georgia(Georgia). Tech defeated Georgia 28-6 for the school's first-ever victory. The angry Georgia fans threw stones and other debris at the Tech players during and after the game. The poor treatment of the Blacksmiths by the Georgia faithful gave birth to the rivalry now known as Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.cite book | last = Cromartie | first = Bill | title = Clean Old-fashioned Hate: Georgia Vs. Georgia Tech | publisher = Strode Publishers | origyear = 1977 | isbn = 09-3252-064-2 ] cite news|first=Clark|last=Nelson|url=http://nique.net/issues/2004-11-19/sports/2|title=For Tech fans, victory against UGA means far more than ordinary win|work= The Technique|date= 2004-11-19|accessdate=2007-05-17] Over the span of 1892–1903, Tech only won 8 games, tied in 5, and lost 32.cite book|first=Robert|last=Wallace|title=Dress Her in WHITE and GOLD: A biography of Georgia Tech|publisher=The Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc|year=1969] A professional coach was desperately needed if Tech wished to build a truly competitive football program.
The Tech football team noted a particular coach during their initial abysmal run. The first game of the 1903 season was a 73–0 destruction at the hands of
John Heisman's Clemson Tigers; shortly after the season, Tech offered Heisman a coaching position. Heisman was hired by Tech for $2,250 a year and 30% of the home ticket sales. Heisman would not disappoint the Tech faithful as his first season was an 8–1–1 performance.cite book|first=Robert C.|last=McMath|coauthors=Ronald H. Bayor, James E. Brittain, Lawrence Foster, August W. Giebelhaus, and Germaine M. Reed|title=Engineering the New South: Georgia Tech 1885-1985|publisher= University of Georgia Press|location=Athens, GA] He would also muster a 5-game winning streak against the hated Georgia Bulldogs from 1904–1908 before incidents lead up to the cutting of athletic ties with Georgia in 1919.
The most notable game of Heisman's career was the most lopsided victory in college football history. In 1916, Cumberland College ended their football program and attempted to cancel a scheduled game with Heisman's Jackets. Heisman, however, was seeking vengeance for a 22–0 baseball loss to Cumberland in the Spring of 1916, a game in which Heisman suspected Cumberland of hiring professional players to pose as Cumberland students. Heisman refused the game's cancellation and Cumberland mustered up a group of commonfolk to play Tech.cite web|url=http://www2.cumberland.edu/about/gotc/gamestory.html|title=222-0: The Story of The Game of the Century|first=G. Frank|last=Burns|accessdate=2007-08-15] Tech won 222–0.cite web|url=http://gtalumni.org/StayInformed/magazine/spr98/div11.html|title=Cumberland 0, Tech 222|work=Tech Topics|publisher=Georgia Tech Alumni Association|accessdate=2007-05-21] Neither team achieved a first down, as Cumberland either punted or turned the ball over before a first down and Tech scored on almost every play from scrimmage.cite web|url=http://www2.cumberland.edu/about/gotc/gamestory.html|title=222–0: The Story of The Game of the Century|first=G. Frank|last=Burns|accessdate=2007-03-23] Jim Preas, Tech's kicker, kicked 16 point after tries, which is still a record for a single game.
Heisman coached Tech all the way up until 1919. He had amassed 104 wins over 16 seasons, helped students construct Grant Field in 1913, and lead Tech to its first national title in 1917. However in 1919, he had divorced his wife and felt that he would embarrasss his wife socially if he remained in Atlanta.cite web|url=http://gtalumni.org/Publications/timeline/1910s.html|title=Tech Timeline: 1910s|work=Tech Traditions|publisher=Georgia Tech Alumni Association|accessdate=2007-05-21] Heisman moved to Pennsylvania leaving Tech's Yellow Jackets in the hands of William Alexander.
Alexander continues the trend: 1920–1944
thumb|right|Wrong Way Riegels" during the
1929 Rose Bowl] Alexander had attended Georgia Tech and after graduating as valedictorian of his class in 1912, taught mathematics at Tech and served as Heisman's assistant coach. In 1920, he was given the job of head coaching Tech's football team. Alexander's first season saw Tech win an SIAA title and finish the season with a win over rival Auburn. In 1927, Alexander instituted "the Plan." Tech and UGA had just renewed their annual rivalry game in 1925 after a 8 year hiatus. Georgia was highly rated to start the 1927 season and justified their rating throughout the season going 9–0 in their first 9 games. Alexander's plan was to minimize injuries by benching his starters early no matter the score of every game before the UGA finale. On December 3, 1927, UGA rolled into Atlanta on the cusp of a National Title. Tech's well rested starters shut out the Bulldogs 12–0 and ended any chance of UGA's first National Title.
Alexander's 1928 team would be the very first Tech team to attend a bowl game. The team had amassed a perfect 9–0 record and was invited to the
1929 Rose Bowlto play California. Tech traveled by train to meet the awaiting Golden Bears. The game was a defensive struggle with the first points being scored after a Georgia Tech fumble. The loose ball was scooped up by California Center Roy Riegelsand then accidentally returned in the wrong direction. Riegels returned the ball all the way to Georgia Tech's 3 yard line. After Riegels was finally tackled by his own team, the Bears opted to punt from the end zone. The punt was blocked and converted by Tech into a safety giving Tech a 2–0 lead. Cal would score a touchdown and point after but Tech would score another touchdown to finally win the game 8–7. This victory made Tech the 10–0 undefeated National Champions of 1928. It was Tech's second National Title in 11 years. [cite news|url=http://gtalumni.org/news/magazine/spr98/div04.html|title=Wrong Way Reigels|work=Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine|publisher=Georgia Tech Alumni Association|date=Spring 1998|accessdate=2007-09-15] After the game, Jack "Stumpy" Thomason acquired a live bear cub. He brought the cub back to Atlanta, where it lived under the bleachers of Grant Field for several years before it moved along with Stumpy up to Pittsburgh. [cite news|url=http://gtalumni.org/Publications/techtraditions/legends/stumpy.html|title=Stumpy's Bear|work=Tech Traditions|publisher=Georgia Tech Alumni Association|accessdate=2007-08-09]
Coach Alexander found campus spirit to be particularly low following the
Great Depression. His successful football program and the other athletic teams had very few student fans attending the games. He helped to establish a spirit organization known as the Yellow Jacket Club in 1930 to bolster student spirit. [cite news|url=http://www.cyberbuzz.gatech.edu/reck/about.php|title=What is the Ramblin' Reck Club?|work=Ramblin' Reck Club|accessdate=2007-08-09] The group would later become the Ramblin' Reck Club. Coach Alexander finally retired in 1944 after winning 134 games as head coach and taking Tech to the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Sugar Bowl. To this day, Alexander has the second most victories of any Tech football coach. The record for most coaching victories in Tech history is still held by Alexander's then coordinator and eventual successor Bobby Dodd.
The only retired jersey in Georgia Tech football history is #19.cite news|url=http://technique.library.gatech.edu/issues/fall1997/oct24/campuslife5.html
title=Ramblins - Tech player was legendary on the field and in the sky|work=The Technique|accessdate=2007-08-12] The number belonged to Tech halfback
Clint Castleberry. Castleberry played on the 1942 Tech team as a true freshman and was third place in the 1942 Heisman Trophyvoting. After ending his freshman year at Tech, Castleberry elected to join the war effort and signed up for the Army Air Corps. While co-piloting a B-26 Marauderover Africa, Castleberry, his crew, and another B-26 disappeared and were never heard from again. Castleberry has been memorialized on Grant Field ever since his passing with a prominent #19 on display in the stadium.
Dodd wins titles, sets records & beats mutts: 1945–1966
Bobby Dodd took over the Georgia Tech football program following Coach Alexander's retirement in 1944. Dodd's coaching philosophy revolved around player treatment and character development. cite news | title = Bobby Dodd Bio | work = RamblinWreck.com | publisher = Georgia Tech Athletic Association| date =| accessdate = 2007-08-10 | url =http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/dodd_bobby00.html | last =| first =] He did not believe in intense physical practices but rather precise and well executed practices. Dodd's philosophy translated to winning. He set the record for career wins at Tech at 165 career coaching wins including a 31-game winning streak from 1951–1952. He also managed to capture two Southeastern Conference Titles and the 1952 National Title, which concluded a 12-0 perfect season and Sugar Bowl conquest of Ole Miss.
Dodd also understood the deep-seated rivalry with the University of Georgia. His teams won 8 games in a row over the Bulldogs from 1946–1954 outscoring the Bulldogs 176–39 during the winning streak. cite news | title = Georgia Tech vs Georgia
work = cfdatawarehouse.com | publisher = College Football Data Warehouse | date =| accessdate = 2007-08-10 | url =http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/acc/georgia_tech/opponents_records.php?teamid=1265 | last =| first =] This 8–game winning streak is still the longest winning streak for either side in the series. Dodd would finish his career with a 12–9 record against the Bulldogs.
Dodd's tenure included Georgia Tech's withdrawal from the
Southeastern Conference. The initial spark for Dodd's withdrawal was a historic feud with Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Bear Bryant.cite book|last=Dodd|first=Bobby|authorlink=Bobby Dodd|coauthors=Jack Wilkinson|title=Dodd's Luck|origyear=1988|origmonth=July|accessdate=2007-03-16|publisher=Golden Coast Publishing Company|isbn=09-3295-809-5] The feud began when Tech was visiting the Tide at Denny Stadium in 1961. After a Tech punt, Alabama fair-caught the ball. Chick Granningof Tech was playing coverage and relaxed after the signal for the fair catch. Darwin Holtof Alabama continued play and smashed his elbow into Granning's face causing severe fracturing in his face, a broken nose, and blood-filled sinuses. Granning was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe concussion, the result of which left him unable to play football ever again. Dodd sent Bryant a letter asking Bryant to suspend Holt after game film indicated Holt had intentionally injured Granning. Bryant never suspended Holt. The lack of discipline infuriated Dodd and sparked Dodd's interest in withdrawing from the SEC.
Another issue of concern for Dodd was Alabama's and other SEC schools' over-recruitment of players. Universities would recruit more players than they had roster space for. During the summer practice sessions, the teams in question would cut the players well after signing day thus preventing the cut players from finding new colleges to play for. Dodd appealed the SEC administration to punish the "tryout camps" of his fellow SEC members but the SEC did not. Finally, Dodd withdrew Georgia Tech from the SEC in 1963. Tech would remain an independent like Notre Dame and Penn State (at the time) during the final four years of Dodd's coaching tenure. In 1967, Dodd passed the head coach position to his favorite coordinator,
Bud Carson. Dodd simply retained his athletic directorposition, which he had acquired in 1950. He would not retire from athletic directing until 1976.
Coaching in Dodd's shadow: 1967–1986
Bud Carson was Tech's defensive coordinator in 1966. His job was to appease the massive Tech fan base Bobby Dodd had accumulated. Carson was not the charismatic leader like Dodd but rather a strategy man that enjoyed intense game planning. Carson's most notable achievements included recruiting Tech's first ever
African Americanscholarship athlete and being the first Tech head coach to be fired.
Eddie McAshanto play quarterback in 1970. cite news | title = Georgia Tech's McAshan helped pave the way | work = ESPN Black History Month | publisher = ESPN| date = 2007-02-05| accessdate = 2007-05-15 | url = http://mobileapp.espn.go.com/ncf/mp/redesign/clubhouse?markupType=XHTML&action=story&team=2&story=2755075&page=1 | last = Lapchick| first = Richard] After several Summer practices, McAshan won the starting quarterback job and became the first African American quarterback to start for a major Southeastern university. This decision initially polarized Georgia Tech's fan base, but after winning his first 4 starts and leading Tech to a 9–3 season after three straight 4–6 seasons, McAshan won the hearts of the Tech faithful. McAshan's besting of UGA in the annual rivalry game made McAshan a fixture on campus. The following season, however, led to Carson's demise. In 1971, Tech went 6–6 and a fan base used to Bobby Dodd's 8 wins per season average forced Carson out. Carson went on to form the Steel Curtain Pittsburgh Steelersdefense. Bill Fulchersupplanted Bud Carson. Fulcher appeared to be the right choice but quit after two seasons, overwhelmed by the Tech fan base.huh Fulcher's tenure included a terrible feud with Eddie McAshan, which peaked before the 1972 UGA game. McAshan had requested additional tickets for the game so that his family could attend. Fulcher refused the ticket request and McAshan sat out of practice in protest. Fulcher responded by suspending the quarterback for the UGA game and the upcoming Liberty Bowl. The story exploded on the national scene when Jesse Jacksonattended the UGA game, allowing McAshan to sit with him outside of the stadium in protest. Pepper Rodgerswas hired soon after Fulcher quit. Rodgers was hired away from the UCLA Bruinsand like Carson and Fulcher, simply could not return Tech to its national prominence of Dodd's era. After six seasons, Rodgers had accumulated only 31 wins and barely a 50% winning percentage. cite news | title = Bill Fulcher Bio | work = Ramblinwreck.com | publisher = Georgia Tech Athletic Association| date =| accessdate = 2007-08-10 | url =http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/fulcher_bill00.html | last =| first =] Rodgers attempted to reinvigorate Tech's program by joining the Atlantic Coast Conferencein 1978. The Georgia Tech football program reached its lowest point in modern history after the hiring of Bill Curry. His first two Tech teams from 1980–1981 won only 2 games and lost 19. Curry's teams had gotten so bad, they could only get better. [cite web|url=http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/acc/georgia_tech/yearly_results.php?year=1980|title=Georgia Tech Yearly Totals 1980-1984|author=|publisher=College Football Data Warehouse|accessdate=2007-08-11] He rebuilt the team, restored a winning mentality to the Georgia Tech fan base, and in 1985 Tech won 9 games.
Tech's 1984–1985 teams featured the "
Black Watch" defense. The Black Watch defense was created by defensive coordinator Don Lindseyand featured linebackers Ted Roofand Joe Harris and lineman Pat Swilling. [cite web|url=http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=4200&ATCLID=157387|author=|title=Ted Roof Bio|publisher=GoDuke.Com|accessdate=2007-08-15] cite web|url=http://www.newsobserver.com/122/story/514086.html|author=Chavez, Luciana|title=Duke's faith in Roof far from blind|publisher=The News & Observer|date=2006-11-24|accessdate=2007-08-15] The elite defensive players were awarded black stripes down the center of their helmets and black GT emblems on the side of their helmets. Curry's leadership and ability to build a winning program sparked interest from the Crimson Tide and Alabama hired Curry away from Tech in 1986. Tech sought out the talented Maryland TerrapinsCoach Bobby Rossafter Curry's departure.
Old gold gets new shine: 1987–1991
Bobby Ross came from Maryland after winning three ACC titles over four years. Ross' first season at Tech experienced a severe talent vacuum after Curry's departure. The team only won 2 games and Ross contemplated ending his coaching career after a humbling loss to Wake Forest in 1987. Ross decided to remain at Tech and continued to rebuild Tech's program. The turning point came in 1989 with the recruitment of
Shawn Jonesand several other key freshman. After two seasons and only 5 total wins, Jones helped the Jackets rebound at the end of the 1989 season. [cite news|first=Michael|last=Clarke|url=http://gtalumni.org/Publications/magazine/win90/tech.html|title=Mays Days|work=Georgia Tech Alumni Association Technotes|date=1990-Winter|accessdate=2007-08-15]
In Jones' sophomore season, Tech powered through their schedule and won the ACC. The four game unbeaten streak in 1989 extended all the way through 1990 and into the 1991 Citrus Bowl. Tech demolished Nebraska 45–21 in the 1991 Citrus Bowl, finishing the season 11–0–1, and earning a share of the 1990 National Title with the
Colorado Buffaloes. [cite news|first=Michael|last=Clarke|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/2005-09-16/sports/5|title=Football program builds on strong history|work= The Technique|date= 2005-09-16|accessdate=2007-08-10] [cite web|url=http://www.newgeorgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Multimedia.jsp?id=m-8193|title=1990 National Championship|work= New Georgia Encyclopedia|accessdate=2007-08-10]
Tech's winning streak ended against Penn State in the 1991 season opener. Ross and Jones never replicated that 1990 season but managed to win 8 games in 1991 making Shawn Jones one of the most heralded quarterbacks in Tech history. Ross was offered a head coach position after the 1991 season for the
San Diego Chargers, which he took. [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE6D6143FF932A35752C0A964958260&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fR%2fRoss%2c%20Bobby|title=SPORTS PEOPLE: PRO FOOTBALL; Ross to Leave Ga. Tech And Coach Chargers|work=New York Times|date= 1992-01-01|accessdate=2007-08-10] Bill Lewis was hired soon after Ross' departure.
Controversies and Heisman contention: 1992–2001
Bill Lewis was hired from East Carolina. He had turned the Pirates into a winning team at a school with little football tradition. The Tech faithful hoped that he could continue the winning tradition of Tech that Bobby Ross has kick-started. They were wrong. Bill Lewis' first season at Tech in 1992 saw a team two years removed from a National Title only win 5 games. Preseason All-American
Shawn Jonessuffered from nagging injuries, leaving Tech's offense inept. After Jones' fourth year ran out, redshirtfreshman Donnie Davisstepped in to fill his shoes in 1993. Davis did no better than Jones under Lewis. Davis only won 5 games for Tech.
During the Summer of '94, Davis was injured so Lewis recruited
junior collegetransfer Tom Luginbill. Luginbill was a proficient passer at Palomar College. Luginbill's first two games in 1994 showed promise as Tech almost upset #1 Arizona and demolished Western Carolina. After Western Carolina, Luginbill and Tech struggled. Tech lost its next 6 games before Lewis was terminated midseason. Defensive coordinator George O'Learytook immediate control of Tech and after his interim session in 1994, he was appointed head coach in 1995. O'Leary's first season saw Senior Donnie Davis return as starter and Tech won 6 games. O'Leary's second season saw the emergence of Joe Hamilton as starter when Brandon Shaw struggled in his first two starts. Hamilton would eventually lead the Jackets back to bowl contention and Tech attended its first bowl in six years in the 1997 Carquest Bowl.
Hamilton's prowess as a runner and passer thrilled the Georgia Tech fans. Offensive coordinator
Ralph Friedgenutilized a complex offense with Hamilton that featured option football mixed in with complex timing routes. Hamilton racked up yardage, touchdowns, and wins for Tech. In 1998, Hamilton and Tech's high powered offense won 10 games and a season ending victory over Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. Hamilton's senior year put him on the national stage. He was a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophyagainst rushing phenomenon Ron Dayne. Hamilton passed for over 3000 yards and rushed for over 700 yards. [cite news|first=Raj|last=Sivasubramanian|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/2000-01-21/sports/4|title=Despite bowl loss, '99 football season still memorable to fans|date= 2000-01-21|accessdate=2007-09-15] But while Hamilton dazzled, the Georgia Tech defense was a liability (they allowed around 28 points per game), and may have ultimately cost Hamilton the 1999 Heisman Trophy. In a late-season, nationally-televised game against Wake Forest, Tech gave up 26 points and Hamilton threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. As an indirect result, Dayne went on to win the Heisman (Joe was runner-up). Hamilton's Georgia Tech career ended on a sour note in the 2000 Gator Bowlagainst the Miami Hurricanes, where the Jackets lost 28–13. [cite news|first=Phil|last=Ramos|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/2000-01-21/sports/1|title=Hamilton era comes to a stormy end against Hurricanes|work= The Technique|date= 2000-01-21|accessdate=2007-09-15] The following season, redshirtjunior George Godsey, a more traditional pocket passer, succeeded Hamilton at the helm of Tech's powerful offense. The drop-off was minimal -- Godsey continued where Hamilton left off, winning 9 games in 2000 and 8 games in 2001. In 2000, Godsey also led Tech to their third straight victory over the archival Georgia Bulldogs. [cite news|first=Derick|last=Stanger|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/2001-07-13/sports/1|title=Godsey returns to health, ready to start new season|work= The Technique|date= 2001-07-13|accessdate=2007-09-15]
The end of the 2001 season saw George O'Leary entertain a coaching offer from Notre Dame after Bob Davie announced resignation as Irish head coach. O'Leary was eventually awarded the position, but it was revoked shortly thereafter when Notre Dame discovered that O'Leary had fabricated several aspects of his resume. He claimed to have played three years for the
University of New Hampshireand to have attained a Master's degree from New York University; in actuality, he had attended NYU but did not graduate, and he never played a down of New Hampshire football. [cite news|author= Associated Press|url=http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/college/news/2001/12/14/oleary_notredame/|title=O'Leary out at Notre Dame after one week|work=Sports Illustrated|publisher=cnn.com|date= 2001-12-14|accessdate=2007-09-15] [cite news|author= Associated Press|url=http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/ivan_maisel/news/2001/12/14/maisel_insider/|title=Coach has no one to blame but himself|work=Sports Illustrated|publisher=cnn.com|date= 2001-12-14|accessdate=2007-09-15] Following O'Leary's departure, Mac McWorterwas named interim head coach for Georgia Tech's bowl game, a victory over Stanford in the 2002 Seattle Bowl. The following spring, Chan Gaileywas hired to replace O'Leary as Georgia Tech's head coach.
Great upsets, upsetting losses, and a termination: 2002–2007
Chan Gaileycame to Georgia Tech in 2002 after head coaching stints with the Dallas Cowboys, Samford Bulldogs, and Troy Trojans. Gailey's first team in 2002 managed to win seven games under the quarterbacking of A.J. Suggs. The most notable game of the 2002 season was an upset of National Title Contender NC State. Georgia Tech rallied in the fourth quarter to upset NC State and end Philip Rivers' Heisman Trophyhopes. In 2003, eleven Georgia Tech players were found academically ineligible. [cite news|first=Michael|last=Handelman|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/2003-06-27/news/1|title=Shuffle at Athletic Association replaces Moore|work= The Technique|date= 2003-06-27|accessdate=2007-08-09] Despite the academic losses and the playing of true freshman Reggie Ball, Gailey would lead Tech to a 7 win season and humiliation of Tulsa in the Humanitarian Bowl. P.J. Danielsracked up over 300 yards rushing in the effort.
2004 and 2005 saw Georgia Tech improve talent and skillwise but recordwise Tech still only managed 7 wins. Superstar Calvin Johnson arrived as a true freshman in 2004. His performance against Clemson in 2004 helped cement Johnson's place in the annals of all-time Tech greats. Two off-the-field issues affected the 2005 season. First,
Reuben Houston, the starting cornerback, was arrested for possession of over one hundred pounds of marijuana. Reuben was kicked from the team immediately after his arrest but later a court order forced Gailey to allow Houston back on the team. Houston would see little playing time following the court order. [cite news|url=http://nique.net/issues/2005-11-18/sports/7|title=Sports Shorts: Court rules in favor of Houson|work= The Technique|date= 2005-11-18|accessdate=2007-08-09] [cite news|first=Nikhil|last=Joshi|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/2005-07-01/news/3|title=Houston arrested in marijuana conspiracy|work= The Technique|date= 2005-07-01|accessdate=2007-08-09]
At the end of the 2005 season, an NCAA investigation found that eleven ineligible players had played between the 1998 and 2005 seasons. [cite news|url=http://www2.ncaa.org/portal/media_and_events/press_room/2005/november/20051117_georgiatech_infractions_rls.html|title=Georgia Tech Penalized for Allowing Academically Ineligible Student-Athletes to Compete, Lack of Institutional Control|publisher=NCAA|date=2005-11-17|accessdate=2007-09-16] The players played while not being on track to graduate in the NCAA approved time span. The records and victories were vacated, Georgia Tech was put on two years probation, and twelve scholarships were taken away for the 2006 and 2007 freshman classes. [cite news|first=Michael|last=Clarke|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/2005-12-02/news/1|title=NCAA adds to self-imposed sanctions|work=
The Technique|date= 2005-12-02|accessdate=2007-08-09] Georgia Tech appealed the decision and the records were restored but scholarship reductions and probation remained. [cite news|url=http://gtalumni.org/buzzwords/jun06/article540.html|title=NCAA Preserves Football Record|work=Buzz Words|publisher=Georgia Tech Athletic Association|date=June 2006|accessdate=2007-09-17]
Gailey's most successful year at Georgia Tech was in 2006 with 9 victories and an ACC coastal division title. Georgia Tech reached its first New Years Bowl since the 1999
Gator Bowland played West Virginia in the Gator Bowl. Tashard Choicelead the ACC in rushing yards and Calvin Johnson lead the ACC in receptions and receiving yardage. On the morning of Monday, November 26, 2007, Gailey was fired from the Yellow Jackets, two days after another heartbreaking loss to the University of Georgia. [cite news|url=http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/112607aag.html|title=Gailey Relieved Of Duties As Georgia Tech Head Coach|work=RamblinWreck.com|publisher=Georgia Tech Athletic Association|date= 2007-11-26|accessdate=2007-11-26] Navy and former Georgia Southern head coach
Paul Johnson was announced on December 7, 2007 as Gailey's replacement.cite news |url=http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3145534 | title=Johnson accepts offer to become Yellow Jackets coach | publisher=ESPN | author=Schlabach, Mark | date=
Current regime: 2008–Present
On Friday, December 7, 2007, less than two weeks after Georgia Tech announced the firing of Chan Gailey,
Paul Johnsonwas announced as the new Georgia Tech head football coach. Johnson was hired under a seven year contract worth more than $11 million. Johnson immediately began installing his unique spread option offense at Georgia Tech. [cite news|url=http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/gatech/stories/2007/12/07/gtfoot_1208.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab| title=Johnson introduced as Tech coach | publisher= [Atlanta Journal Constitution|date= 2007-12-07| accessdate=2008-04-09 ]
The Yellow Jackets play their home games at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon his hiring in 1904,
John Heismaninsisted that the Institute acquire its own football field. Grant Field was constructed to appease Heisman as well as bring a true home field advantage to Tech football.cite web|url=http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/genrel/071001aaa.html|title=Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field|work=RamblinWreck.com|publisher=Georgia Tech Athletic Association|accessdate=2007-08-09]
From 1893–1912, the team used area parks such as
Brisbane Park, Ponce de Leon Park, and Piedmont Parkas the home field.cite news|first=Pat|last=Edwards|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/1999-10-15/campus%20life/6|title=Students build first stands at Grant Field|work= The Technique|date= 1999-10-15|accessdate=2007-04-10] Georgia Tech took out a seven-year lease on what is now the southern end of Grant Field, although the land was not adequate for sports, due to its unleveled, rocky nature. In 1905, Heisman had 300 convict laborers clear rocks, remove tree stumps, and level out the field for play; Tech students then built a grandstand on the property. The land was purchased by 1913, and John W. Grantdonated $15,000 towards the construction of the field's first permanent stands; the field was named Grant Field in honor of the donor's deceased son, Hugh Inman Grant.
The stadium now sits amongst a unique urban skyline and is the oldest Division I-A football stadium. In fact, the only Division I stadiums older are
Franklin Fieldof University of Pennsylvaniaand Harvard Stadium. [cite news|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/travel/news/story?id=3016019|title=Football's Oldest Stadiums: Witnesses to Game's Evolution|work=ESPN.com|publisher=ESPN|date= 2007-12-27|accessdate=2008-02-17] Grant Field was natural grass until 1971. The astroturfwas replaced by grass in 1995. The stadium officially holds 55,000 but has held up to 56,412 in 2005 [cite news|url=http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/112605aaa.html|title=Georgia vs Georgia Tech (Nov 26, 2005)|work=RamblinWreck.com|publisher=Georgia Tech Athletic Association|date= 2005-11-26|accessdate=2007-08-09] and 56,680 in 2006. [cite news|url=http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/2006-2007/gt0902.html|title=Notre Dame vs Georgia Tech (Sep 02, 2006)|work=RamblinWreck.com|publisher=Georgia Tech Athletic Association|date= 2006-09-02|accessdate=2007-08-15]
*Georgia – Tech's fight songs are tailored to belittling the
University of GeorgiaBulldogs and the catch phrase for Tech fans is "To Hell with Georgia". Tech and UGA have played each other over 100 times and the rivalry known as " Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate" is by far the most important game on the schedule for Tech fans. The winner of the game takes the state Governor's Cup and a year's worth of pride.
*Auburn – Tech has played Auburn over 80 times making Auburn by far Tech's second-most played opponent. The rivalry has lost some luster since Tech left the
Southeastern Conferencein 1963 and the annual meetings ceased in 1987, but from a historical perspective Auburn is Tech's next biggest rival behind Georgia. cite news | url = http://www.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/stories/090403abz.html | title = Freshman Auburn, Georgia Tech Rekindle Old Rivalry | work = CSTV | date = 2003-09-03| accessdate = 2007-08-15 ]
*Clemson – Tech and Clemson is the fourth-most played series in Tech football history. Clemson is Tech's closest opponent in the ACC and happens to be the official cross-division rival. cite news | url = http://www.nique.net/issues/2005-10-28/sports/4 | title = Clemson rivalry adds to homecoming fun | work =
The Technique| date = 2005-10-28| accessdate = 2007-09-28 ] In 1977, the series was in danger of being cancelled by Georgia Tech. Clemson fans, in an effort to show their economic impact on Atlanta, brought only two dollar bills stamped with tiger paws to Atlanta. [ [http://media.www.thetigernews.com/media/storage/paper863/news/2004/09/10/Sports/Memories.Of.Two.Dollar.Bills.Surround.77.Game-1991337.shtml Memories of two dollar bills surround '77 game] ]
*Notre Dame – The Tech-Notre Dame rivalry is perhaps more well known for its poor off-the-field behavior rather than the actual games. Tech fans pelted Notre Dame players, coaches, and fans with fish and liquor bottles during games played at Bobby Dodd Stadium in the 1960s and 1970's. cite news | url = http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/sportscolumns/entries/2006/07/16/techirish_serie.html | title = Tech-Irish series has ugly past | work =
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution| date = 2006-07-16| accessdate = 2007-08-15 ] The 1975 contest is immortalized in the film Rudy when Rudy Ruettigersacks Georgia Tech's Rudy Allen. The Tech-Notre Dame series is the most played series by both teams across the Mason-Dixon line. cite news | url = http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/acc/georgia_tech/opponents.php | title = Georgia Tech Opponents | work = College Football Data Warehouse | date = 2007-08-15| accessdate = 2007-08-15 ] cite news | url = http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/independents/notre_dame/opponents.php | title = Notre Dame Opponents | work = College Football Data Warehouse | date = 2007-08-15| accessdate = 2007-08-15 ]
*Colors – Georgia Tech football features old gold and white uniforms with old gold helmets.
Navy blueand black have been used as alternate jerseys. In 2006, Georgia Tech featured a throwbackjersey based on Bud Carson-era uniforms. The jerseys were mustard gold and the helmets were white.
*Songs – The fight songs for Georgia Tech are "
Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech" and " Up With the White and Gold". If Georgia Tech scores a touchdown, then both songs are played. If Georgia Tech only kicks a field goal or makes a big play, a shortened version of "Ramblin' Wreck" is played.
*Nicknames – Georgia Tech football teams have had several nicknames over the years including the
Blacksmiths, the Engineers, the Golden Tornado, or just the Techs. Officially, the team is called the Yellow Jackets or the Ramblin' Wreck.
*Mascots – The
Ramblin' Wreckand Buzz are the mascots of Georgia Tech football. The Ramblin' Wreck is a 1930 Ford Model A Sports Coupe and has led the football team on to Grant Field every game since September 30, 1961.cite web|url=http://cyberbuzz.gatech.edu/reck/reckHistory.php|title=History of the Ramblin' Wreck|publisher=The Ramblin' Reck Club|accessdate=2007-03-04] Buzz began pacing the sidelines of Grant Field as a mischievous anthropomorphized yellowjacketin the 1970s.cite news|first=Cam|last=McNair|url=http://smartech.gatech.edu/dspace/bitstream/1853/10619/5/TT%202004%20Winter%20NoAds%20LoRes.pdf|pages=4|title=Give My Wife Some Credit|work=Tech Topics|publisher=Georgia Tech Alumni Association|date=Winter 2004|accessdate=2007-05-20]
*Yellow Jacket Alley – Yellow Jacket Alley is an event staged before every game. It is a players' walk in which the team and coaches walk from the buses to the stadium and the fans surround and cheer the walking players. [cite news|first=Pat|last=Edwards|url=http://www.nique.net/issues/1999-09-17/campus%20life/6|title=Yellow Jacket Alley gets the game going|work=
The Technique|date= 1999-09-16|accessdate=2007-09-16]
*Steam Whistle – An industrial steam whistle has graced Tech's campus since the early shop days. It typically is blown for the change of classes 5 minutes til the hour. On game days it is blown after every Tech score and after every Tech victory. cite news | url = http://www.nique.net/issues/2002-08-23/focus/13 | title = Freshman Survival: You certainly won’t find these in Webster's... | work =
The Technique| date = 2002-08-23| accessdate = 2007-08-09 ]
*Student Section – The student sections for the Georgia Tech football games are primarily located in the North and South End Zones. Flash card displays have been performed by the student section every year since 1957. An official student cheering section called the Swarm is located in the North End Zone adjacent to the marching band. The Swarm began in 1996.cite news | first = Robert | last = Cunningham | url = http://www.nique.net/issues/2001-10-12/sports/2 | title = Techsters swarm to join student-run cheering squad | work =
The Technique| date = 2001-10-12| accessdate = 2007-09-16 ]
*Marching Band - Tech fields a marching band at all home games and most away and bowl games. The Yellow Jacket Marching band performs the fight songs and alma mater as well as a rendition of "
Here Comes the King" at the completion of the 3rd Quarter.
*1917 – John Heisman's Yellow Jackets concluded a perfect 9–0 season with a 68–7 pounding of rival Auburn.
*1928 – William Alexander coached the Jackets to a perfect 10–0 season and defeated California in the Rose Bowl.
*1952 – Bobby Dodd's 32-game unbeaten streak featured the 1952 National Title and a victory over
Ole Missin the Sugar Bowl.
*1990 – Three seasons removed from a 2-win season, Bobby Ross led the Jackets past Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl for a share of the National Title.
*SIAA – 1916, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1921 – John Heisman and William Alexander coached Tech teams to 5 conference titles during Tech's 26 year span in the SIAA.
*Southern Conference – 1922, 1927, 1928 – William Alexander coached Tech to 3 Southern Conference titles during Tech's ten year stint in the Southern Conference.
*SEC – 1939, 1944, 1951, 1952 – Coach Alexander and Coach Dodd lead Tech to 4 SEC titles during Tech's 30 year affiliation with the Southeastern Conference.
*ACC – 1990, 1998 – Bobby Ross and George O'Leary's most notable performances included Atlantic Coast titles over Tech's 29 year span in the ACC.
Georgia Tech has appeared in 35 bowl games. cite news | url = http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/acc/georgia_tech/bowl_history.php | title = Georgia Tech Bowl History | work = College Football Data Warehouse | date = | accessdate = 2007-08-15 ] Georgia Tech ranks eighth in all time bowl wins with 22. cite news | url = http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/bowls/team_records_most_wins.php | title = Team Records - Most Bowl Wins | work = College Football Data Warehouse | date = | accessdate = 2007-08-15 ] Georgia Tech's first four bowl game appearances, the Rose, Orange, Cotton, and Sugar Bowls, marked the first time a team had competed in all four "major" bowls. cite news | url = http://gtalumni.org/news/ttopics/fall92/football.html | title = 100 Years of Georgia Tech Football | work = Tech Topics | publisher = Georgia Tech Alumni Association | date = Fall 1992 | accessdate = 2007-08-15 ]
Position award winners
Three Georgia Tech players have been awarded the highest collegiate award possible for their position. Joe Hamilton won the Davey O'brien Award after his senior season in 1999, Calvin Johnson won the Fred Biletnikoff Award after his junior season in 2006, and Durant Brooks won the Ray Guy Award in 2007. Hamilton and Johnson happen to be the only Tech players to be named ACC Player of the Year as well. cite news | url = http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/calvin-bio.html | title = Calvin Johnson Player Achievements | work = RamblinWreck.com | publisher = Georgia Tech Athletic Association | accessdate = 2007-08-15 ]
Two Yellow Jackets have been inducted into the
Pro Football Hall of Fame. [cite web|url=http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/colleges.html|title=Hall of Famers by College|publisher=Pro Football Hall of Fame|accessdate=2007-09-15] Joe Guyon played professional football from 1920-1927. Guyon was a collegiate teammate of Jim Thorpeat Carlisle Indian Industrial Schoolbefore transferring to Georgia Tech. His playing career began with the Canton Bulldogsand finished with the New York Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the class of 1966. [cite web|url=http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=84|title=Joe Guyon|publisher=Pro Football Hall of Fame|accessdate=2007-09-15] Billy Shaw played professional football for the Buffalo Billsfrom 1961-1969. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the class of 1999. [cite web|url=http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=192|title=Billy Shaw|publisher=Pro Football Hall of Fame|accessdate=2007-09-15]
* [http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/geot-m-footbl-body.html Official website]
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