Tech’s three best coaches?

Thursday begins probably the biggest weekend of the academic year for Georgia Tech athletics. The women’s tennis team will play Cal at 9 a.m. at the University of Georgia in the Sweet 16. It’s the seventh time in the past eight years that Tech has reached the final 16.

The golf team begins NCAA regional tournament play at Oklahoma, hoping to advance through to the NCAA championships. The Jackets are the No. 2 seed in the Southwest regional. Beginning in 1989, when the NCAA instituted the regional format, Tech has made the regional round 21 out of 23 years and advanced to the national tournament 20 of those times.

The softball team, fresh off its third ACC championship in four years, begins NCAA regional tournament play Friday afternoon against South Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Jackets have made the tournament every year starting in 2002, the last six under coach Sharon Perkins.

The weekend is also testament to, at least from a pure results perspective, Tech’s three best coaches. Consider this: Since Perkins was hired for the 2006-07 academic year, Tech teams have competed for 101 ACC championships (the baseball team will play Miami this weekend to determine if it will make the eight-team tournament field).

In that time, Perkins, women’s tennis coach Bryan Shelton and golf coach Bruce Heppler are a combined 10 for 18, with Heppler contributing five. Tech’s other teams are 1-for-83, the lone championship provided by the football team (which was later vacated).

That doesn’t give them their complete due, either. Shelton has been at Tech since the 2000 season and has made the NCAA tournament every year and won the 2007 national title, making him the only coach in school history to win an NCAA team title. (The football titles were not awarded by the NCAA.) He also won ACC titles in 2005 and 2006, the first two league titles in Tech women’s tennis history. In Irina Falconi, a Shelton recruit who reached the third round of the U.S. Open last September, Tech has its best women’s professional tennis player ever.

In the past 12 years, Tech has finished in the top 10 of the final Golfweek rankings 10 times and has won nine ACC titles in the past 14 seasons. Heppler’s teams have also had a perfect NCAA academic progress rate (1,000) since the NCAA began charting it in 2004. (Steve Hummer wrote an excellent story on Heppler in this past Sunday’s paper.)

Perkins was named ACC coach of the year 2009-2011, when the Jackets won ACC regular-season titles. The softball team’s APR in 2004-05 was 957, one of the lowest on campus. In 2009-10, the last year for which data is available, it was 996, one of the highest.

Defining a coach by ACC titles isn’t entirely fair. For instance, MaChelle Joseph’s women’s basketball team has made steady progress but has yet to win an ACC title. Danny Hall’s record over 19 seasons – two College World Series, 16 NCAA berths, three ACC tournament titles, 97 players drafted – is hard to find fault with. The top of most ACC sports is fairly static; breaking the stranglehold one or two or three schools have on a sport can be close to impossible. From a facilities standpoint, the track and cross country teams face an uphill battle with no indoor track or on-campus cross country course.

That said, the tennis facilities were evidently in such a state that they’re being replaced. The golf team lacks an on-campus course, a challenge Heppler solved by raising money for memberships at two local clubs. Until 2009, the softball team practiced and played on a substandard off-campus field.

It remains to be seen if this is the spring that Heppler’s team knocks down the wall and wins an NCAA title, if Perkins can guide the Jackets to their first College World Series or if Shelton can lead his team back to a national title.

Regardless, their status at Tech appears secure and, for the time being, unchallenged.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

54 comments Add your comment

www

May 17th, 2012
8:13 am

good read. and we’re ready for more articles soon!

FL Jacket

May 17th, 2012
8:18 am

Ken, what local courses do the Jackets play at?

I’m curious if they play at the same city of Atlanta muni’s I played at (Bobby Jones, North Fulton-Chastain, Brown’s Mill) while in Atlanta.

Jim 70

May 17th, 2012
8:34 am

Obviously tech needs to provide more financial support to these great teams.

chad

May 17th, 2012
9:09 am

Crazy Robert

May 17th, 2012
9:10 am

What about Danny Hall???? hahahahahahaaha Give him a 30 year extension!!!

juvenal

May 17th, 2012
9:31 am

wish we could get some really good soccer coaches, & use KSU’s pitch……

Ken Sugiura

May 17th, 2012
9:59 am

FL Jacket – East Lake and Golf Club of Georgia and, evidently, the Georgia Tech Club, which is one I wasn’t aware of.
Robert – Funny you mention Hall. I added a sentence about him a few minutes ago. It’s hard to say much against his body of work.

juvenal

May 17th, 2012
10:08 am

could say the same thing about king kenny’s work at liverpuddle……..

Georgia DAWGS

May 17th, 2012
10:19 am

Paul Johnson??? Ha Ha Ha Ha… He Can’t recruit!!

Tech Fan Since 1950

May 17th, 2012
10:40 am

Thanks Ken for your coverage and reports on all of these excellent Tech teams and their coaches.

NCDAWG

May 17th, 2012
10:49 am

None of them TECH SUCKS

NCDAWG

May 17th, 2012
11:05 am

but none of them SUCKS AS MUCH AS ME

GT Lee

May 17th, 2012
11:06 am

what wonderful and intelligent insight from NCDWAG

Ken Sugiura

May 17th, 2012
12:23 pm

Juvenal – i’m sure i’m not telling you anything new, but i think you’ll have to be content with wishing.
thanks, 1950.

juvenal

May 17th, 2012
2:49 pm

i put in a word with a friend who is a friend of Taz’s, if you are talking soccer-hard to fault Hall in view of his recruiting…….Cobb has been soccer territory since at least my PE days in jrhigh growing up there…..

Fan of the Game

May 17th, 2012
3:30 pm

Tech is very fortunate to have Danny Hall and Paul Johnson. I am a big Dawg fan but I do know those guys can coach their sports. And I just hope Johnson doesn’t find that QB he needs. With a Tracey Ham or Joe Hamilton they would be tough to deal with.

www

May 17th, 2012
3:31 pm

any thoughts on the fsu-AND-GT-to-the-big-12 rumor i just heard discussed on 680 the fan?

5150 UOAD

May 17th, 2012
3:35 pm

TECH fans will not TRAVEL to games in the Great White North/Big12 in the Winter to sit OUTSIDE in bad weather.

5150 UOAD

May 17th, 2012
3:46 pm

Sorry I read BigXII but thought Big10. Tech is an AAU school and so are many ACC schools. I don’t see Tech leaving the ACC and Tech fans will still not travel well to Texas for games.

GT fan

May 17th, 2012
3:46 pm

Fan of the Game….

PJ might have the Tracy Hamm or Joey H on the roster now (i.e. Vad Lee or Justin Thomas).

Yes, when that TH or JH (or even a Tommy Frazier – Neb or Jamel Holliway – OU) guy is found, PJ’s offense is going to be extremely difficult to stop. Heck, just look how good it has done without one of those game-changing type QBs.

Ken Sugiura

May 17th, 2012
3:52 pm

Juvenal – that is what i was referring to. i think the problems are a lack of space and money. the GTAA is scheduled to run a deficit of about $300,000 this year and each year tries to break even. while i agree tech would be in a prime recruiting spot and would likely be competitive, the sport would be a further drain on finances.
5150 – whether or not tech fans will travel to oklahoma isn’t going to make or break the decision, but i don’t see it happening regardless.
impersonating posters is not permitted. you’ve gotten your warning.

GT Man

May 17th, 2012
5:31 pm

Somehow as usual, the mens golf team, and Danny Hall with the baseball team will choke.

Gary GT

May 17th, 2012
5:34 pm

Have to agree with GT man, GT’s golf team wins ACC every year, then chokes in NCAA. Danny Hall will choke as always in the regionals. He will lose to an Austin Peay or Wofford with a top 10 team every season.

OkieDawg

May 17th, 2012
9:37 pm

Choosing Tech’s three best coaches is debatable. Choosing Tech’s three best commits for 2013 football is not. Not much enthusiasm among high school football recruits looking to hone their skills in the TO.

NOVAJacket

May 17th, 2012
9:48 pm

Only the top-rated OL in GA……

1 4 GT

May 17th, 2012
10:25 pm

I’d say the top rated OL in Georgia, 2 running backs (3 star-I think) and a OL transfer this week. CPJ has managed his team numbers pretty good–no where near the discipline trouble Georgie has had–no where near the attrition rate of most schools–only have 14-15 slots to fill scholarship wise. I think GT is just fine–better than Georgie in fact what with CMR having 32-33 open slots to fill. I think I’d rather have to meet GT’s quota.

J'boroJacket

May 17th, 2012
11:30 pm

The pressure is great to win championships. So if these kids don’t make it, we tend to blame the coaches more times than not. Then there is the history of “choking.” Until they get over the hump, it will be on their minds. The Braves had it until the 90s. Overall, we have had good success for the athletic program. As for all those that always have nothing good to say… just keep it to yourself. We all have enough dirt to clean up in our own programs.

Biff Pocoroba

May 18th, 2012
12:14 am

Danny Hall won’t have to worry about choking in the post season this year since they aren’t even going to make the ACC tournament after choking against Miami tonight with another typical Hall meltdown.

5150 UOAD

May 18th, 2012
9:23 am

Biff it was HALL’S fault HOW?
Cruz couldn’t find the strike zone for the first time in his GT career.
Biff you suck and don’t know baseball if you fault HALL for last night.

JM

May 18th, 2012
11:02 am

Wish the women’s tennis team had won that first match against Cal.

DawginLex

May 18th, 2012
12:28 pm

i’d rank your coaches this way

1.)Joseph-women’s hoops-this lady could coach anywhere and win
2.)Danny Hall-Lately not great but overall, pretty darn good
3.)Johnson-Done it his way. I still think if he gets players on defense, look out.

My $.02

Habersham Dawg

May 18th, 2012
12:52 pm

Don’t be busting Danny Hall’s chops. He recruits top talent every year, Tech seems to always be in the National Tournament, wins at least one round, and has the players and pitchers to compete every year. I’m not a Tech fan, but ya’ll should be grateful that he’s there.

Jmonty

May 18th, 2012
1:03 pm

If CPJ knew defense he would had never hired CAG. Which, if the D doesn’t improve A LOT… I see this being CAG last year. I can’t see CPJ accepting middle of the road. He is way too much of a winner to do that. If the D can play at a high level for every game. They can win a few more than last year…. Maybe even a bowl game. VT wil be a very good test from the start. So, we’ll see.

Jmonty

May 18th, 2012
1:03 pm

If CPJ knew defense he would had never hired CAG. Which, if the D doesn’t improve A LOT… I see this being CAG last year. I can’t see CPJ accepting middle of the road. He is way too much of a winner to do that. If the D can play at a high level for every game. They can win a few more than last year…. Maybe even a bowl game. VT wil be a very good test from the start. So, we’ll see.

southern bell

May 18th, 2012
2:25 pm

The baseball team is having a down year in general this year, but Hall is a good coach until tournament time. Michelle Joseph is going to win a National Championship in a couple of years. Golf and Softball always seem to do well. With regards to CPJ, we always seem to be second best in the ACC.

crackbaby

May 18th, 2012
5:54 pm

Machelle Joseph graduated 5 or 6 seniors from her team this year. I would think Shelton does equally well with tennis players graduating. Coach Perkins has a done a great job with softball.

Three high quality individuals who follow their passion. Wish all of us could be so talented and dedicated.

Really?

May 18th, 2012
7:48 pm

The best 3 coaches for tech? LOL That bar has to be set really really low.

Letsplaytwo

May 18th, 2012
11:58 pm

D Hall recruits good players but does practically no coaching of his team and literally no teaching of his players. Overrated and overpaid.

GT71

May 19th, 2012
6:38 am

Thanks for the updates on sports other than football and basketball. Yes, the Ramblin’ Wreck site is available, but it is so ‘busy’ and and confusingly jumbled – for this IM grad anyway – it’s hard to find specific info w/o searching through much fluff.
Keep up the good work, Ken.

Biff Pocoroba

May 19th, 2012
9:36 pm

Hall underachieves every year because he can’t develop any pitching for the post season. He has great pitchers but they tend to wear down and get injured right before the tournament and then get drafted pretty high. People like 5150 see all of his players drafted and think he must be a great coach but never get to go to a game and see his in game management where he just stands there with his arms folded and won’t look at any player going back to the dugout if they don’t get a hit. His pitching “coach” is a guy who was coaching high school girl’s basketball but Danny gave him a job since they were friends in college. Since then, the piching has fallen apart at the end of every season and develop an abnormal amount of arm injuries.

GT

May 20th, 2012
7:48 am

Sure wish we could have gotten Mark Price’s daughter playing tennis for Tech, she is really good. Shelton ex Tech all American and a quarter finalist in Wimbledon is really good too. Great character represents the school with lots of polish. But you know I can’t think of a coach I don’t like coaching at Tech since Hewitt has left. The athletic department should be congratulated on the way they have hired. This is a place you can send your kids and feel comfortable which is the main idea of a college education.

gt4ever

May 20th, 2012
11:11 am

If we only had a football coach….

GT Golfers Choke Again!!!

May 20th, 2012
11:37 am

I see where the GT golfers choked again by failing to qualify in the regionals. Easy to win the Almost Competitive Conference. Not so easy when there is real competition. Even with some very distinguished players the last 10-12 years, GT has NEVER won the NCAA.

UGA has won it twice. Suck in Jackets

Supersize that order, mutt

May 20th, 2012
3:55 pm

It’s true that Tech has never won a NCAA TEAM championship in golf, but Tech has had THREE INDIVIDUAL NCAA champions in history (Troy Matteson in 2002, being the latest) while UGA has had ONE. Tech also has more players who are currently highly ranked on the pro tour, as well as more former players who have won MAJOR tournaments in the pros (Cink, Duvall, Mize, Jones, possibly others), whereas UGA only has ONE former player to have won a MAJOR tournament (Watson, 2010 Masters).

SUCK IT, DWAGS

ACC Falling Apart - Tech to Follow

May 20th, 2012
7:28 pm

Jacket fans how is the Almost Competitive Conference working out for you? By the end of summer the ACC will be a thing of the past. John Swofford has been played like a fiddle and so outflanked it is laughable. Poor Old Tech will be sucking hind tit AGAIN!! The Jackets will be begging the Big East to take them. The SEC is not about to throw GT a lifeline. The Joke by Coke had its chance once. Poor fan support, small stadium and bad teams are not in high demand.

Who do you Techies have to blame? Two words: Bobby Dodd. You Techies always think you are smarter than everybody else. The joke is on you. LMAO!!!!!

Flounder

May 20th, 2012
10:57 pm

keep spewing that hatred dude … hopefully it will eventually eat you alive and the rest of us can live our lives in peace.

Goldenrod

May 20th, 2012
11:06 pm

Paul Johnson is going to bring a MNC to The Flats, possibly this year as we have an easy schedule. We WILL beat the Mutts on the road, CPJ is The New Sheriff and OWNS the mutts in their cesspool of a stadium.

THWG

Mountain Dawg

May 21st, 2012
3:15 am

Tech’s athletic dept. is a total shambles. A complete non-factor in it’s own town, especially draw-wise.

Mountain Dawg

May 21st, 2012
4:48 am

If Moobs Johnson is the new sheriff, who is the deputy? Barney? Reggie Ball?

DawgInCoweta

May 21st, 2012
8:14 am

The only thing Paul Johnson “owns” is a 1-3 record against Big Brother UGA and a losing record in bowl games. Meanwhile WRST!