Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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Georgia Tech football

The good days (1892-1963)

An average score from the era

Georgia Tech began playing football in 1892. Known in the early days as the Blacksmiths, the Engineers, and the Golden Tornado, the school settled on the nickname Yellow Jackets after sportswriters made reference to fans who attended a game wearing yellow... jackets. Look, we're not exactly creative, okay?

In 1904, Georgia Tech hired professional bad-ass John Heisman, who coached the team for 16 years and led the Jackets to their first national championship in 1917. Tech would win another national title in 1928, and appeared that season in the Rose Bowl (so you guys that cry about 'TRADITION' can blow me). The Jackets were included as a founding member of the SEC during its formation in 1932, and contributed by winning five conference titles and the school's third claimed national title in 1952. Following a big hissy-fit between Tech's coach/athletic director Bobby Dodd and Alabama's lord/savior Bear Bryant over recruiting practices or something (more info here), Georgia Tech withdrew from the conference in 1963, severing their established rivalries with a number of southeastern schools and abandoning all hope of ever again being a nationally relevant football program.

In the wilderness (1964-1989)

A whole bunch of shitty teams, a half-dozen or so short-lived coaches, a decade as an independent followed by joining a basketball conference, and not much else of note. You know you've had it rough when the highlight of a 25-year period is being responsible for the Bill Curry era at Alabama.

Screw you, fifth down (1990-2001)

The Jackets returned to the limelight in 1990 by going 11-0-1 against a watered down ACC (some things never change) and claimed their fourth national championship by winning the coaches' poll that season, splitting the title with Colorado. Head coach Bobby Ross departed the next season, and the team temporarily reverted back to its sucky ways of the previous three decades. The Yellow Jackets rebounded into a contender in the late 1990s when George O'Leary took the reins as coach, but he could never beat the ACC's only good team as the Jackets failed to regain full national prominence. In 2001, O'Leary faxed a list of Chuck Norris facts with his name attached to Notre Dame and convinced them to hire him, but was asked to resign shortly thereafter when it was brought to the university's attention that Superman did not, in fact, wear or even own any George O'Leary pajamas.

As exciting as oatmeal (2002-2007)

That's right, he got a Gatorade shower for beating Tulsa.

Apparently awed by his work as the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, who ranked 26th and 21st in total offense during his two seasons there, Georgia Tech hired Chan Gailey as head coach during the 2002 offseason to replace O'Leary. Determined to prove that his 18-14 career head coaching record in the NFL was no fluke, Gailey unleashed a mind-numbing barrage of 7-win seasons, leading the International Organization of Standards to establish the Chan Gailey Equilibrium as a constant approximately equal to a 0.583 winning percentage. During his time as coach, the Jackets were notable mostly for their occasional upsets of quality teams and their equally occasional losses to terrible teams (such as snapping Duke's 30-game ACC losing streak in 2003). Gailey also presided over possibly the most quality-disparate quarterback/receiver tandem in college football history, with four-year QB starter Reggie Ball consistently overthrowing All-American wideout Calvin Johnson all the way to bowl games in scenic locations such as Boise, San Francisco, and Jacksonville. Despite having no real offense to speak of, he guided the Jackets in 2006 to a 7-1 ACC record and a berth in the storied ACC Championship Game against Wake Forest. In that game, the Chan Gailey era reached its impotent climax as the Jackets fell 9-6 in what might someday be remembered as the worst football game of the millennium. In November 2007, following his sixth consecutive loss to the rival Georgia Bulldogs, the axe fell, and Gailey was fired.


Above average, but forgettable. Still trying to run that offense from 1946. Megatron is long gone.

Georgia Tech basketball

Paul Hewitt sucks.



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