Archive for June, 2011

$58.9 million budget approved for AA


I have some stuff to share with you from the Georgia Tech Athletic Association meeting last Thursday. I was going to blog about it last week but the Brian Oliver transfer came up.

The budget for fiscal year ‘12 was approved at $58.9 million, up from $55.1 million in the past fiscal year. Increased revenues from the new ESPN contract and also the stronger home football schedule (Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia) are expected to cover the increased expenses (more on that below).
Some of the increased costs are due to the firing of basketball coach Paul Hewitt and also the impact of moving the basketball games off campus due to the renovation of Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Both men’s and women’s teams will also play more road games than usual, meaning higher travel costs.
The budget, though, has an apparent leak in it, as football season ticket sales are slower than expected, despite the strong odd-year schedule. As of last week, Tech had sold about 22,300 season …

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Tech’s Oliver to transfer

Georgia Tech basketball player Brian Oliver will transfer, leaving the Yellow Jackets with eight scholarship players for coach Brian Gregory’s first season.

In a press release issued by the school, Oliver, a forward, did not give a reason for leaving Tech.

“We are very appreciative of the two years Brian gave Georgia Tech and this basketball program,” Gregory said in a statement. “Brian is a talented young man and will do well, athletically as well as academically, wherever he lands. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Had Oliver returned, playing opportunity almost certainly wouldn’t have been a problem. Oliver was the third-leading scorer on last year’s team at 10.5 points behind Iman Shumpert (who left school for the NBA draft) and Glen Rice Jr. Further, Tech returns just one other forward, Kammeon Holsey. Incoming freshman Julian Royal, from Milton High, is the only other forward on the roster.

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Incoming Tech receivers will get a shot


A word on wide receivers, a note about Paul Johnson (and his players) earning a notable achievement and one short note about a signee.

If I had to choose the most likely position where you’ll see true freshmen make the field this fall and even make a notable contribution, it would be wide receiver. Not a bold prediction, I realize, as it was one of the weakest spots last fall. Second, it’s one of the easier positions for players to step in quickly. Third, I think Johnson likes the group he has coming in.

Stephen Hill and Tyler Melton return as starters with Daniel McKayhan, Jon Lockhart and Jeremy Moore are backups. The latter three have a combined two career catches. Yikes.

I asked Johnson Tuesday at the season preview event in Macon if Melton and Hill have considerable separation in the competition.

“I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “They ended the spring as starters, but I think that’s a position where we’ve got a chance to see some young freshmen play.”

Of the …

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Tech’s Pope selected to two All-America teams

Georgia Tech pitcher Mark Pope was named to two All-America teams Wednesday. He was a third-team choice for both the Baseball America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-America teams. The Baseball America All-America team had four starting pitchers per team while the writers’ teams had five.

Pope went 11-4 with a 1.74 ERA with 88 strikeouts against 24 walks in 113.2 innings. Opponents hit .218 against him. His ERA is the sixth lowest for a single-season in school history and lowest since 1973.

Pope, from Walton High, was drafted in the fifth round by the San Diego Padres in the major league baseball draft earlier this month. He has one year of eligibility remaining, but is expected to sign with the team.

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Paul Johnson on Chick-fil-A, o-line


Hope you are well. The good folks at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame held their Pigskin Preview Tuesday, inviting coaches and players from every college football team in the state to meet with reporters. I went and compiled these sound bites, including two from the typically straight-shooting Paul Johnson, who took a poke at the expected (at least by some) return of Florida State. Our intern Meghan Rose filed this story about their reaction to Terrelle Pryor getting nabbed for selling memorabilia, including an opinion from linebacker Steven Sylvester.

Anyway, I was able to speak with Johnson for a little bit about the team. I’ll share the first part and then share some more stuff later.

I first asked about the 2013 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, which both Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan and athletic director Dan Radakovich (now on Twitter!) acknowledged was a possibility. Johnson did not strike a terribly optimistic tone.

“I don’t know about 2013,” he said. …

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Stokan interested in Tech for ‘13 kickoff game

Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan nearly landed Georgia Tech for the 2011 kickoff game. He hopes that he can make it work for the Yellow Jackets to play in 2013.

“We want to get Tech into the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, particularly when we open the hall, which is ‘13, the first year the hall will be open,” Stokan said Monday, referring to the College Football Hall of Fame that is scheduled to open in downtown Atlanta in 2013.

Stokan said nothing was imminent, but was confident that the Jackets will play in the game, whether in 2013 or beyond. Alabama is already committed to play in 2013 in the Georgia Dome. If Tech agrees to play, it would be in a second game against a different opponent, Stokan said.

“I think (Tech coach) Paul (Johnson) agrees, and (Tech athletic director) Dan (Radakovich) and myself that we want to find a way to get Georgia Tech in, and they definitely want to play in the game,” he said.

Stokan has sought a place for both Tech and Georgia in the game, …

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Radakovich not interested in Tennessee

It shouldn’t come as a great surprise, but Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich said Friday he has no interest in becoming the next athletic director at Tennessee. The opening at Tennessee was one of a number of topics covered in a wide-ranging interview with the AJC that will be published next week.

“I’m really happy here at Georgia Tech,” Radakovich said, adding that he had had no contact with Tennessee.

In light of his previous employment at LSU, Miami and South Carolina and his producitve tenure at Georgia Tech, Radakovich has often been linked to high-profile AD openings.

Tennessee is in search for a replacement to Mike Hamilton, who announced his resignation Tuesday. Tennessee has been charged with major NCAA violations in men’s basketball and football and goes before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions Saturday.

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Tech’s Esch an unlikely 11th-rounder

On the second day of the major league baseball draft, Georgia Tech’s Mark Pope and Matt Skole went fairly early, as expected. The strange turn came later, when the Florida Marlins drafted shortstop Jacob Esch in the 11th round.

Strange not because Esch is a slouch. Esch was a productive hitter (.319, .490 slugging percentage) and a team captain as a junior. Strange because the Marlins want Esch to pitch, despite the fact he only threw five innings all season for Tech.

“Let’s put it this way,” Esch said Tuesday evening. “Throwing five innings and going in the 11th round – [hoping to get taken earlier] would be greedy.”

Esch knew from interaction with scouts that they saw him as a pitcher. That being the case, considering he was almost exclusively a field position player this season and had only thrown 23.2 innings total in his college career, Esch wasn’t even sure he’d be drafted at all.

“I hoped someone would pull the trigger on me as a position player,” he said.

Esch is …

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How Tech’s Bradley went from so-so to first-round pick

In 2007, 3 1/2 years before he became the 15th overall pick in the 2011 major league draft, Jed Bradley was a lightly-regarded high school prospect who’d just moved to Huntsville, Ala., from Michigan. In the early fall of his senior year, Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall got a call from a coach at Bradley’s school (Huntsville High) who was (and presumably still is) a Tech football fan. He suggested Bradley would be worth looking at in a prospect camp.

Hall made some reconnaissance calls back to Michigan, where he has ties.

“None of them said that they were recruiting him,” Hall said. “They said, ‘If he was in our state, we’d probably take him,’ but it wasn’t a guy they got all excited about.”

Bradley showed up at Russ Chandler Stadium for a workout. Hall liked what he saw immediately. He was tall (6-4) and left-handed to begin with. He had good mechanics and decent velocity.

From having recruited and coached in the Midwest, Hall knew that “if a pitcher’s got size and his arm …

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Tech’s Bradley goes 15th to Milwaukee

One day after presumably his final college game, Georgia Tech pitcher Jed Bradley stood to become a wealthy man.

Bradley, a junior pitcher for the Yellow Jackets, was selected 15th overall Monday by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the major league baseball draft. He became Tech’s 10th first-round pick and its second in as many years following Deck McGuire going 11th to Toronto last season.

By coincidence, last year’s 15th pick was Jake Skole of Blessed Trinity High. Skole, the younger brother of Tech star Matt Skole, had signed to play football and baseball at Tech but took the Texas Rangers’ $1.557 million signing bonus to go the pro baseball route.

Tech coach Danny Hall has said, given Bradley’s expected high draft position, that he doesn’t expect him to return for his senior season. Tech’s season ended Sunday night with a loss to Mississippi State in an NCAA regional tournament held at Tech.

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