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The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team represents the Georgia Institute of Technology in the sport of American football. Tech began its football program with several students forming a loose-knit troop of footballers called the Blacksmiths. 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.[8] In 1920, he was given the job of head coaching Tech's football team. The only retired jersey in Georgia Tech football history is #19.[15] The number belonged to Tech halfback Clint Castleberry. Bobby Dodd took over the Georgia Tech football program following Coach Alexander's retirement in 1944. Chan Gailey came to Georgia Tech in 2002 after head coaching stints with the Dallas Cowboys, Samford Bulldogs, and Troy Trojans. 2004 and 2005 saw Georgia Tech improve talent and skill wise but Tech won seven games again. At the end of the 2005 season, an NCAA investigation found that eleven ineligible players had played for the Yellow Jackets between the 1998 and 2005 seasons.[36] These players played while not making progress towards graduation on the NCAA-approved schedule.
Gailey's most successful year at Georgia Tech was in 2006 with nine victories and the ACC Coastal Division championship. On Friday, December 7, 2007, less than two weeks after Georgia Tech announced the firing of Chan Gailey, Paul Johnson was announced as the new Georgia Tech head football coach.[40] Johnson was hired under a seven year contract worth more than $11 million. The Yellow Jackets play their home games at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, Georgia.
From 1893–1912, the team used area parks such as Brisbane Park, Ponce de Leon Park, and Piedmont Park as the home field.[47] 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.
The first game of the 1903 season was a 73–0 destruction at the hands of John Heisman's Clemson; shortly after the season, Tech offered Heisman a coaching position. In 1916, Cumberland College ended its football program and attempted to cancel a scheduled game with Heisman's Jackets.
He had amassed 104 wins over 16 seasons, helped students construct Grant Field in 1913, and led Tech to its first national title in 1917. Castleberry played on the 1942 Tech team as a true freshman and was third place in the 1942 Heisman Trophy voting.
Fulcher appeared to be the right choice but quit after two seasons, overwhelmed by the Tech fan base. Rodgers was hired away from the UCLA Bruins and like Carson and Fulcher, simply could not return Tech to its national prominence of Dodd's era, and after six seasons, Rodgers had accumulated only 34 wins and barely a 50% winning percentage.[20] Rodgers flamboyant demeanor shortened his welcome at the school, and Athletic Director Doug Weaver, replaced him with Bill Curry.
Ross' first season at Tech experienced a severe talent vacuum after Curry's departure, and the players Ross inherited resisted the changes he demanded.


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. The football victories for that season were initially revoked, and Georgia Tech was put on two years of NCAA probation. The Yellow Jackets football team reached its first New Year's Bowl since the 1999 Gator Bowl and played the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Gator Bowl.
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 angry Georgia fans threw stones and other debris at the Tech players during and after the game. He helped to establish a spirit organization known as the Yellow Jacket Club in 1930 to bolster student spirit.[14] The group would later become the Ramblin' Reck Club. After ending his freshman year at Tech, Castleberry elected to join the war effort and signed up for the Army Air Corps.
Chick Granning of Tech was playing coverage and relaxed after the signal for the fair catch. Homer Rice became Athletic Director, and attempted to reinvigorate Tech's program by joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1980. The Tech faithful hoped that he could continue the winning tradition of Tech that Bobby Ross has kick-started. His performance against Clemson in 2004 helped cement Johnson's place in the annals of all-time Tech greats.
In addition to its players, Tech's football program has been noted for its coaches and its, in many cases bizarre traditions and game finishes. The game was a defensive struggle with the first points being scored after a Georgia Tech fumble. Coach Alexander finally retired in 1944 after winning 134 games as head coach and taking Tech to the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl Classic, and Sugar Bowl. Finally, Dodd withdrew Georgia Tech from the SEC in 1963.[18] Tech would remain an independent like Notre Dame and Penn State (at the time) during the final four years of Dodd's coaching tenure. Carson's most notable achievements included recruiting Tech's first ever African American scholarship athlete and being the first Tech head coach to be fired. The Georgia Tech football program reached its lowest point in modern history after the hiring of Bill Curry, who had no experience as a head coach, but was a refreshing change after the flamboyant Rodgers. In 1998, Hamilton and Tech's high powered offense won 10 games and a season ending victory over Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. The following spring, Chan Gailey was hired to replace O'Leary as Georgia Tech's head coach.


On October 24, 2009, Johnson led the Yellow Jackets to their first win against the Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville, VA since 1990. The Macon Telegraph reported, "The game, while not brilliant, was full of earnest and determined effort, and this sort of playing, is after all, the most enjoyable to watch."[3] Tech played two other games during their first season and lost both of them for a season record of 0–3. While 9-0 Michigan State would capture the AP and UP titles, the Yellow Jackets' were ranked first in the International News Service poll.
Curry's first two Tech teams from 1980–1981 went 2-19-1 with the only bright spots being a brilliant 24-21 victory over Bear Bryant's Alabama team at Legion Field to open the 1981 season and a 3-3 slug fest in 1980 with then No.1 rated Notre Dame at Grant Field. Bill Lewis' first season at Tech in 1992 saw a team two years removed from a National Title only win 5 games. Heisman led the team to the highest-scoring game in American football history, and both Heisman and Dodd led Tech's football team to national championships. Things had gotten so bad, they could only get better.[21] He slowly rebuilt the team, restored a winning mentality to the Georgia Tech fan base, and in 1985 Tech won 9 games, including a 17-14 victory over Michigan State in the All American Bowl.
Preseason All-American Shawn Jones suffered from nagging injuries, leaving Tech's offense inept. Still, Johnson and company could not win their second game in a row over hated Georgia as the Bulldogs upset Tech 30-24 in the final home game of the season in 2009.
Dodd also led the Jackets on their longest winning streak against the University of Georgia, Tech's most time-endured rival. Hamilton passed for over 3000 yards and rushed for over 700 yards.[28] 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 2003, eleven Georgia Tech players were found academically ineligible.[33] Despite the academic losses and the playing of true freshman Reggie Ball, Gailey would lead Tech to a seven-win season and humiliation of Tulsa in the Humanitarian Bowl. On December 5 the Jackets defeated the Clemson Tigers to make them ACC champions, a title that would be vacated on July 14, 2011 due to NCAA infractions. In a late-season, nationally-televised game against Wake Forest, Tech gave up 26 points and Hamilton threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. Cal would score a touchdown and point after but Tech would score another touchdown to finally win the game 8–7. Hamilton's Georgia Tech career ended on a sour note in the 2000 Gator Bowl against the Miami, where the Jackets lost 28–13.[29] The following season, redshirt junior George Godsey, a more traditional pocket passer, succeeded Hamilton at the helm of Tech's powerful offense.
It was Tech's second National Title in 11 years.[7][12] After the game, Jack "Stumpy" Thomason acquired a live bear cub.




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