The Georgia State itinerary: Two miles to “baseball heaven”

The president of Georgia State University gave his baseball coach a new car Tuesday morning. Two hours later, Greg Frady showed a visitor the fruits of his team’s victory in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament – a snazzy red-and-white convertible about six inches long and two inches high.

OK, so the gift of a model car wasn’t quite like winning the showcase on “The Price Is Right,” but it was a nice gesture by Mark Becker, the president who got so pumped he sent his coach text messages between CAA tournament games. And this week has the potential to be better still: The Georgia State Panthers are going to what their coach calls “baseball heaven.”

Friday night will mark GSU’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament, and it will come in a ballpark two miles from Panther headquarters. Georgia State plays Georgia Tech at Russ Chandler Stadium, and Frady knows a grand opportunity is at hand.

“The Atlanta community will be paying attention to this game,” Frady said, “and it’s a big stage for Georgia State. We’ve not been on this NCAA regional stage. It’s old hat to Georgia Tech.”

In the crowded Atlanta market, about the only way for Georgia State to leave a footprint is to stomp on one of the bigger local programs. Lefty Driesell’s basketball team did it in 2000 and 2001, twice beating Jim Harrick’s Georgia Bulldogs, and now Frady’s club – which has already whipped the Jackets once this season – has a chance to make a similar lasting impression.

Frady, who’s in his third season as GSU’s head coach, is an interesting guy. He grew up in Ellijay and played five different sports alongside John Davis, who became an All-American lineman at Tech. (Indeed, the two were inducted concurrently into Gilmer County High School’s Hall of Fame three years ago.) Once the president of the Madison, Fla., Rotary Club, Frady is now the coach of the German national baseball team.

Will Georgia State upset Georgia Tech on Friday?

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Asked to name the greatest German baseball player ever, he mentions Kai Gronauer, who’s a catcher in the New York Mets’ organization. As primed as GSU might be for the NCAA, Frady claims the games won’t carry any more heat than, say, Germany facing Russia.

Said Frady: “Baseball is an interesting game. Except for a sliding-type play, you never touch the other team. You only play the ball. Our focus has to be to play the ball and play the ball well.”

Yes, his name is Frady and he coaches the Panthers, but he’s no ’fraidy cat: “I’m more than thrilled to put the product we have at Georgia State on the field Friday night … When we go into a game, we think we can beat any team in the country.”

On Friday night, Georgia State will endeavor to beat the most prestigious college team in Fulton County. “Being on this side of the fence, Georgia Tech is the big brother in town,” Frady said. “Anytime you’ve got a chance to do something that garners your big brother’s respect, it’s a wonderful opportunity. Our people are paying attention because of that. I love that.”

65 comments Add your comment

[...] Mark Bradley | ajc.com – [...]

coachx

May 26th, 2009
5:28 pm

Go Panthers !

Shock Atlanta by beating Tech ! Then shock the country bby going to the CWS !

Good luck !

THWG

May 26th, 2009
5:36 pm

Nice of GA State to get a nod. Sorry, though, this ain’t just “old hat” to Tech. Not after last year’s Athens regional… We’ve still got a lot to prove this season.

oldhat

May 26th, 2009
6:21 pm

Georgia State should really be ready after that throttling of Atlanta Christian College. No, really, they played them. And Oglethorpe. And Augusta State. In the regular season. What DIVISION I program in their right minds loads up on schools like that?

I’ll be looking forward to watching the used car salesman get his hat handed to him this weekend.

GTMike

May 26th, 2009
6:40 pm

If Deck pitches, I would say Ga State has little chance to pull the upset. If someone else starts, it’s anyone’s game.

Biff Pocoroba

May 26th, 2009
6:59 pm

Danny Hall will look past Georgia State and hold Deck until Saturday. Tech will once again choke in a regional but everyone will talk about how consistent Hall’s teams are and he will get another free pass. Tech’s starters only pitch 4-5 innings and their bullpen is about as consistent as the Braves. Hopefully Hewitt and Hall will bring in some decent assistants one day.

Mark Bradley

May 26th, 2009
7:02 pm

Can you really look past anyone in the NCAA tournament? Just asking.

Biff Pocoroba

May 26th, 2009
7:24 pm

Mark, we will find that out on Friday if Tech decides to hold their best pitcher assuming the State game is an easy win. State scored five runs in three innings against Jed Bradley earlier this season. It was a mid week game but Jed Bradley was the #2 starter for Tech in the ACC tournament. With two other head coaches getting replaced by DRad recently, I think Hall probably feels some pressure to win and get to Omaha this year after some recent choke jobs and not even making the tournament at all a couple of years ago.

George

May 26th, 2009
7:30 pm

All I hope is that those who broadcast the game, either on radio or TV, know how to put a sentence together. No double subjects, please!! Do broadcast journalism majors take English classes? I still say let the print journalism folk do the broadcasts. “Live from Turner Field, this is Mark Bradley saying ‘if you can’t play a sport, for gosh sakes learn to speak the language.’ “

Mark Bradley

May 26th, 2009
7:35 pm

I have some — and I said “some” — sympathy for TV people. There’s not a backspace button when you’re on the air live.

rhynster

May 26th, 2009
10:14 pm

Great visibility for GSU.

Win or lose, hopefully making the NCAA tourney will become routine in the future.

eye of the panther

May 27th, 2009
12:12 am

Didn’t G State destroy Tech earlier this season?

LET’S GO STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Bradley

May 27th, 2009
12:46 am

They split. State won at Tech 10-1. Tech won at Panthersville 18-2.

texstinger

May 27th, 2009
12:54 am

How can Tech lose to itself?

It is playing the GT evening school of commerce. Sad when they forget how they got started.

yesbaseball

May 27th, 2009
3:47 am

Well all you Tech fans out here taking GA State for granted, if you win this regional you will not win the CWS so don’t get too excited. You are supposed to be one of the nation’s premier programs and it has not looked that way since Nomar, Varitek, and Payton. I wanted to go to GT to play didn’t work out but won a CWS for the school I ended up at. So in conclusion, a GA State win is better than a GT win because the upset would be great news. If GT wins its expected and they’ll get clobbered later. And for those wondering why I’m up so late, I feel asleep during the Cavs game and woke up for some business. Had to comment on this because of overconfident Tech fans.

George P. Burdell

May 27th, 2009
7:50 am

Biff:

That is a pretty amazing leap to call Jed the #2 starter. Starting the 2nd game in the tourney doesn’t make you the 2nd best pitcher on staff. More likely, with losing the first game, Hall realized Tech was facing a longshot to get to the championship game with their fate out of their hands. If Tech wins with Jed on the mound, you have your real #2 and #3 starters available for the weekend games.

I am looking forward to the game on Friday. Its one of the better story lines of the tournament and is good for Atlanta. I of course hope the Jackets win it, but you have to be happy for State and the season they’ve had. Should be a great weekend of baseball.

Panthers87

May 27th, 2009
9:20 am

Texstinger,

We know exactly where we came from. Yes we were started by Dr. Wayne Kell from GT where the first class was Mining. Nobody showed up for it so he taught himself accounting got a CPA license and taught accounting, thus the GT evening school of commerce was born. I don’t have a problem with it because I am a huge GT football fan. I drink my whiskey clear.

Sometimes the son grows up to beat the father. In this case because of GT, GSU is the school it is today, which is why I really admire GT.

Don’t bash us because of it. Your only making yourself sound like a mutt. I really hate mutts. Show some respect.

Otto

May 27th, 2009
10:14 am

Panther, GSU was also the Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia in the late 40s. The school has strong ties to both UGA and GT. As a GSU alum I glad to see the Baseball team playing in the tournament and the formation of the football program.

Mark Bradley

May 27th, 2009
10:18 am

It is a pretty fair storyline, State vs. Tech, and apparently we in Atlanta aren’t the only ones who think so. As I was leaving the concrete campus yesterday, GSU assistant AD Allison George handed Coach Frady a message: USA Today was seeking an interview.

Otto

May 27th, 2009
10:29 am

Good to see Ga. St. stepping up on the national stage. The school has several well respected degrees and sports should help the school become more well known nationally.

eye of the panther

May 27th, 2009
10:46 am

Speaking of how schools got started: I’m sure the School of Commerce will have no problem beating the North Avenue Trade School. A lot’s changed since 1913 ;)

eye of the DAWG

May 27th, 2009
10:48 am

Two lame schools playing a pointless game. HOW EXCITING!!

Wake me when GEORGIA FOOTBALL starts (and when GSU finally gets a football team!!)

HOW ‘BOUT THEM DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

eye of the BEAR

May 27th, 2009
10:52 am

Baba O'Riley

May 27th, 2009
10:59 am

eye of the Dawg- You will be awakened when UGA tees it off against Okie State….and wish you were still asleep.

yesbaseball

May 27th, 2009
11:02 am

eye of the DAWG,

Beat Florida then come and make a point. At UGA you go nuts only to be disappointed at the end. You probably wanted a little feedback but I hate UGA so I had to respond.

eye of the GATOR

May 27th, 2009
11:18 am

Hey eye if the dawg,

Wake me when georgia gets a football program because right now FLORIDA owns uga!!!

Baba O'Riley

May 27th, 2009
11:37 am

Is CSS televising these games? I live in South Florida and CSS is probably my only hope.

Panthers87

May 27th, 2009
12:01 pm

Eye of the dawg….hahaha. Georgia football….what a joke. Not even state champions.

Otto, yes we were part of UGA from 1933-1957. They got us in ‘33 because they didn’t think GT should have a business school (now GSU is ranked higher than UGA’s business school in certain repects…hahaha). They then dropped us in 1957 because we were too expensive and left us to shrivel out. Luckily for GSU because of our affiliations with two regents universities it gave GSU the right to become a part of the university system of Georgia. UGA didn’t nothing great for GSU, but give us that loophole that they didn’t even know about when they dropped us. All of our good hero’s came from GT. THWG. Nobody at GSU who knows the history likes what UGA did with GSU.

Eye of the BEAR….laughable….

FinanceBuzz

May 27th, 2009
12:34 pm

I have degrees from both Tech and State but I am always, first and foremost, a Jacket. I wish State well…after we send them to the loser’s bracket Friday night! ;) Go Jackets!

G State Ben

May 27th, 2009
12:35 pm

I certainly enjoy Georgia fans showing up on this thread. How’s it feel to get beat by the lowest seeded team ever to win the CWS title? Go back to your double wide and celebrate another Mark Richt led BCS Title…oh yeah, that didn’t happen and won’t.

As for Friday’s game, I’ll be there wearing Panther Blue. Georgia State is a program that is waking up. Considering the program was dormant for years under Coach Hurst and even shut down for 5 years (1987-1991) this is a tremndous accomplishment. We aren’t supposed to be here remember.

Down with the Jackets! Go Panthers!

FinanceBuzz

May 27th, 2009
12:37 pm

Eye of the Mutt….How bout them Mutts? 45-42.

kirkinga

May 27th, 2009
2:18 pm

As a proud Panther, I await the time when Georgia State has it’s own Beat Blog displayed everyday on the front of the AJC Sports page along with Tech and UGA. We’ll get there some day, I’m sure of it. Laugh now Dawgs and Jackets, but there will come a day, sooner than you think, when you two only will not be the biggest college sports story in town.

Lamar

May 27th, 2009
2:25 pm

This is just the prequel when Rashanti Harris and the basketball Panthers spank on Derrick Favors and the Jackets next season and in 2015 when the Football Panthers of Conference USA beat up on the Jackets.

Otto

May 27th, 2009
3:04 pm

So UGA did to GSU what GT did to Southern Tech. All 4 have great degrees and the state should be happy to have them.

FinanceBuzz

May 27th, 2009
3:13 pm

Keep dreaming Lamar. I generally have a favorable view of GSU not necessarily due to the fact that I went there, but this Panther smack talk is making me more and more hope that Tech crushes them Friday night.

Rearview

May 27th, 2009
4:10 pm

Did someone just say that Southern Tech has great degrees? Laughable.

eye of the EAGLE

May 27th, 2009
4:40 pm

Georgia Southern is the REAL GSU!!! Screw north Georgia colleges (that includes Athens!!)

Mark Bradley

May 27th, 2009
4:50 pm

I haven’t yet detected any trash talk from a Kennesaw State fan. That’s all we’re missing.

eye of the OWL

May 27th, 2009
4:55 pm

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!!!

KENNESAW STATE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bigjohnchopfan

May 27th, 2009
4:57 pm

What?! No love for EMORY??

Oh yeah…NO FOOTBALL PROGRAM!!

gridiron girl

May 27th, 2009
4:58 pm

Agnes Scott Football: STILL UNDEFEATED!!!

former1B

May 27th, 2009
5:02 pm

Wow, did someone from a COLLEGE just post in a discussion about UNIVERSITIES??

bigjohnchopfan

May 27th, 2009
5:06 pm

Speaking of no football programs, why is someone from Mercer even posting here?!

FOOTBALL DOES NOT EXIST IN THIS DOJO!!

**DOCTOR** Harris

May 27th, 2009
5:10 pm

Yeah, no football at Emory, but no MEDICAL SCHOOL anywhere else in METRO ATLANTA!!!

AGTFan

May 27th, 2009
5:10 pm

Congratulations GSU. I wish you well. Just not Friday. It can only be good for the state of GA to add another competitive school in the major sports.

Ala-Dama-BAMA!

May 27th, 2009
5:18 pm

How many wannabe “colleges” does the State of Georgia need?? Meanwhile, ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!

Stingerpride

May 27th, 2009
5:25 pm

What a classless remark about Southern Tech. Where did you go to college, sweet cheeks? Didn’t think so.

Doctor Jeff

May 27th, 2009
5:26 pm

Amen to the comment from that proud doctor from Emory!

Dawg fan

May 27th, 2009
6:59 pm

Tech…………………………………………………SUCKS!!!

dawgsallthewayin2010

May 27th, 2009
7:09 pm

Georgia Southern?! Thanks, I needed a good laugh!