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Georgia Tech’s spring football game – Friday Night on the Flats (presented by PNC Bank) – attracted more than 18,000 to Bobby Dodd Stadium.


A Dynasty On The Links Georgia Tech led start to finish to capture its fourth consecutive ACC golf championship April 22nd in New London, N.C.

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SUMMER 2012 • Volume 5, Number 4 EDITOR


Dean Buchan

David Johnson, Danny Karnik and Sam Morgan



Simit Shah Jack Wilkinson Adam Van Brimmer Matt Winkeljohn

Summit Athletic Media

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Former Jacket Foursome: (From left) Roddy Jones, Tyler Melton, Stephen Hill and Jerrard Tarrant were among the 18,125 in attendance at Friday Night on the Flats (presented by PNC Bank), a rousing spring game success.

THE BUZZ IMG College 540 N. Trade St. Winston-Salem, NC 27101 All material produced in this publication is the property of IMG College and shall not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission from IMG College and Georgia Tech. The appearance of advertising in this newspaper does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser and/or the advertiser’s product or service by Georgia Tech or IMG College. The use of the name of the University or any of its identifying marks in advertisements must be approved by Georgia Tech and IMG College.

In This Issue






Georgia Tech had a successful, relatively healthy spring. Now, attention turns to August practice and a season opener at Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech softball has been an ally in former Yellow Jacket Amy Hosier’s battle with cancer.





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Tech swim icon Herb McAuley continues to compete at the age of 89.

Nine-year-old Nolan Blake has been an inspiration to Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team.

Bowling Leagues Birthday Parties Food & Drinks









The Wren twins are more than brothers and teammates – they’re the best of friends.

Dodd called Sid Williams “One of the finest players I have ever coached.”

Yellow Jacket men’s basketball uses heart-rate monitors to let them know when they’re working too hard – or not hard enough.


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Senior Chris Jackson (33) hopes to help fill the shoes of Stephen Hill, while Rod Sweeting (6) could be one of the ACC’s top defensive backs.

PREPPING TO WORK ON LABOR DAY Georgia Tech had a successful, relatively healthy spring. Now, attention turns to August practice and a season opener at Virginia Tech.


By Matt Winkeljohn

In an annual search for lowhanging fruit, the temptation to make much out of spring football practice is a deeply rooted enterprise in Georgia Tech’s part of the country. Silly or sage, with head coach Paul Johnson’s fifth spring on the Flats in the rear view, we endeavor here to play the guessing game again. There are two banks of process feeding the art/science of projection: the undeniable, and the un-


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predictable – not that there won’t be plenty of tries to forecast the Yellow Jackets between now and their Labor Day evening season opener at Virginia Tech. With good fortune and health, Georgia Tech may challenge for a berth in the ACC Championship game. Or, they might struggle to expand their identity as a runheavy squad whose defense stands up less frequently than Johnson would like.

The known: Tech will be bigger on the defensive line and more experienced in the back seven than in several years. Offensively, the Jackets finally have several linemen recruited specifically for and trained in Johnson’s system, and there’s still no telling who – if anyone – will step into the breech at wide receiver. Oh, and Tevin Washington likely remains the starting quarterback.

From that point onward, there is considerable room for conjecture. As nearly always, the quarterback position interested many fans this spring as the everybody-lovesthe-backup (or two) syndrome was fueled by fascination with backups Synjyn Days and redshirt freshman Vad Lee. Once the last whistle blew, Johnson confirmed that Washington would be the starter if the season were about to start. What he did

Redshirt freshman Vad Lee throws a pass in the T-Day Game.

not say outright but hinted at was that the distinct strengths of Days and Lee might spin forward into playing time for all three. Washington may not throw a beautiful ball nor run it with the ferocity of predecessor Joshua Nesbitt, but when all factors are taken into account – especially the concepts of running the option cleanly and securing the ball – the young man with a year-and-a-half of starts wins at least for now. Yet Lee, the redshirt freshman, appeared to be the most effective throwing the ball (often out of the shotgun), and Days runs the ball quite a bit like Nesbitt. They have considerable ground to make up on Washington, though, when all things are considered. “One is probably more experienced and knows how to do things better. The other one is a really good runner, and excels more in the option game, and the other one is the better passer and needs to work on the option game to be a complete player,” Johnson said. “They all bring something to the table, and really it’s going to be who can improve the most between now and when we play. If you had to play right now, [Days and Lee] bring different things and they would be situational players. The goal is to . . . be able to do the whole thing.” It’s conceivable that Days might run the ball from a position other than quarterback. He worked some at A-back in the spring, and when at quarterback he struggled noticeably to throw the ball, and his ball security issues remain. Now, who’s to catch the ball when the Jackets throw?

The early departure of wide receiver Stephen Hill to the NFL and the graduation of Tyler Melton leaves prospects. Jeff Greene, Darren Waller, Jeremy Moore, and Chris Jackson have shots. Perhaps a true freshman will arrive to make an impact. “We only have four scholarship wide receivers (on the spring roster) and we’ll play five or six,” Johnson said. “So a freshman will play. Maybe two.” Senior Orwin Smith is battledtested at A-back. He was recovering from turf toe surgery and missed spring practice, but no player in ACC history has a better per-carry average (9.7) than Smith, so he’s at the top of the heap. There is long list behind him chasing the spot left by Roddy Jones, and several are impressive enough catching the ball that it’s possible A-backs may factor as much in the passing game as wide receivers. The return from injury of sophomore B.J. Bostic merits watching. Redshirt junior David Sims, a former quarterback, remains the B-back, but there is depth behind him. Charles Perkins fits the role and sophomore Zach Laskey, who moved to B-back in the spring from defensive back, was impressive in April practices. You could hardly tell in the spring because so many were injured or held out, but All-ACC guard Omoregie Uzzi, center Jay Finch and returning starting guard Will Jackson will center a line that has considerable experience. Shaq Mason, Ray Beno, Tyler Kidney and Nick McRae have all

started at least one game, and Catlin Alford, Trey Braun, Errin Joe and others will get a look. The big boys may run more sophisticated games up front. Finch suggested the potential for audiblizing and/or changing pass protection schemes at the line is greater. “A lot of people have playing experience,” he said. “The coaches have a little more trust in us being able to handle it, which is good because we’re allowed to try more things.” Two of three starters on the defensive line will be new, but familiar – and bigger. Nose tackle T.J. Barnes (6-feet7, 347 pounds) is the space eater in the middle that every 3-4 practioner covets, and there have been several comments that Barnes has worked himself into better shape than ever. Fourth-year starter Izaan Cross (6-4, 292) is back at one defensive end, and he’ll be mirrored on the other side by Emannuel Dieke (6-6, 264) or Euclid Cummings (6-4, 270). At inside linebacker, Tech must replace, Julian Burnett, its leading tackler each of the last two seasons. Burnett, who was a co-captain last season as a junior, will be missed. A medical condition ended his college career prematurely. Quayshawn Nealy and Daniel Drummond each started roughly half last season there, redshirt freshman Jabari Hunt-Days flashed in the spring, and defensive coordinator Al Groh likes a corps of redshirt freshmen and sophomores also in the mix. Jeremiah Attaochu will start at one outside linebacker and Brandon Watts, who enjoyed an outstanding spring, will likely hold down the other side. Four of the five leading members of the secondary are back – third-year starter Isaiah Johnson, cornerbacks Louis Young and Rod Sweeting, and utility man deluxe Jemea Thomas – and Fred Holton is back after missing last season with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. He was on the rise when he went down in the final scrimmage last summer. “I’m getting back in the rotation,” Holton said. “I’ve come back sooner than what I was supposed to . . . I think I’m getting to where I need to be.”

Yellow Jacket Spring Caravan May 7 - Augusta (Fellowship Hall at First Baptist Church) May 10 - Columbus (Cunningham Center at Columbus State University) May 22 - Atlanta (GT Hotel & Conference Center) May 29 - Dalton (The Farm Country Club)

New special teams coach Dave Walkosky has returning punter Sean Poole and returning kicker Justin Moore to start with. The greatest change in special teams, obviously, is the presence of a coach dedicated to them. “I think we had a productive spring,” Johnson said. “We really couldn’t do a whole lot with the offensive line [absences], but . . . I saw some progress.” Cross, who has started 28 games and played in 39, expects more than progress. And he thinks that opening the season at Virginia Tech has everybody’s attention. “I think so. With all due respect… when Virginia Tech is the first game on your schedule, that wakes you up,” he said. “You say, ‘We don’t have that ease-in game to get our feet wet. “We’ve got to go because playing in Lane Stadium on national television on a Monday night is going to be a huge environment. The way the bowl game ended is kind of fresh in our mind . . . that’s kind of fuel. We know that we’re a better team than we showed at the end of the year.” ■

David Sims returns as the starter at B-back. Charles Perkins and Zach Laskey give the Yellow Jackets depth at the position.


Friday Night on the Flats Scrapbook


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Hosier, throwing out the first pitch in a game earlier this year, said she has been “shocked” in a good way by the support of Georgia Tech.

KINDRED SPIRIT A Georgia Tech softball has been an ally in former Yellow Jacket Amy Hosier’s battle with cancer By Adam Van Brimmer

Amy Hosier’s shoulders absorbed many a tear and propped up many a teammate in her Georgia Tech softball career. The slugging outfielder was the go-to girl when times were tough for Yellow Jacket family members from 2003 to 2006. Any problem, big or small, was worthy of Hosier’s attention. She offered the same level of emotional support as she did run support – and with 111 RBIs and 117 runs scored in her final three seasons, that constitutes good service. Hosier now finds herself in difficult times. Diagnosed with breast cancer last fall, the 28-year-old underwent surgery to remove cancerous cells earlier this spring. She’s currently undergoing chemo-therapy and faces a summer’s worth of radiation treatments. Through it all, she has a supportive shoulder clad in an old gold and white uniform.


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Georgia Tech’s softball team has raised money throughout the season to support Hosier. That she played with only one current Yellow Jacket – assistant coach Aileen Morales – and now lives in Colorado doesn’t matter. “We are one big family – you’re close with one or two former players, you’re close with everyone connected to the program,” Morales said. “It was our duty and call to help her.” Georgia Tech accepted donations for Hosier during nine home games earlier this year. The finale, a Sunday game against Maryland, was

Help Hosier

designated “The Pink Game,” with the players donning pink jerseys in support of Hosier. The uniforms were auctioned off afterwards, with the proceeds also going to Hosier.

An Indiscriminate Disease

Georgia Tech’s softball team has been working to strikeout breast cancer since 2007, following the example of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The movement has taken on new meaning

Learn more about Amy Hosier’s fight against breast cancer and make a donation at her website,

for the Yellow Jackets now that the disease has impacted one of their own. It puts a name and a face on the issue, said head coach Sharon Perkins. Hosier’s plight should grab every young woman’s attention. She has no family history of breast cancer and was healthy and active and about to celebrate her 28th birthday when she felt a tiny knot in her left breast. The cancer cells had started in her milk duct and had been growing for two years, by her doctor’s estimates, before she was diagnosed with Stage II (on a scale of IV) cancer. The oncologist found during surgery the cancer was more advanced – Stage III -- than initially believed. Hosier had both breasts removed as well as 18 lymph nodes, 15 of them cancerous. “Amy is so young and it came as

such a shock,” Morales said. “Players heard about it and they were like ‘Wow. How old is she?’ Truth is cancer doesn’t care about age.” Hosier never took a “Why me?” attitude. Known for her patience as a hitter – she set Georgia Tech’s single-season record for walks as a senior – she’s been aggressive with cancer, intent on “getting it out of me as fast as possible.” The support from Georgia Tech and the softball program only strengthened her resolve. “We talked about family a lot when I was there, but I admit I was shocked by the reaction at Georgia Tech,” Hosier said. “I didn’t play for coach Perkins. I didn’t play with any of the girls now on the team. But it’s nice to know that once you become a member of the family, you will always be one.”

Enthusiastic Response

The Georgia Tech softball family couldn’t wait to don the rally caps for Hosier. Morales heard the news about Hosier from another former teammate, Jessica Sallinger. The most accomplished pitcher in ACC history, Sallinger played three seasons with Hosier and remained close with her after Hosier moved home to Colorado after graduation. As soon as Morales got word from Sallinger and passed the news to Perkins, the coaches brainstormed what they could do to help. They already had the “pink” event schedule and proposed expanding those efforts with the proceeds going to Hosier. Athletic Director Dan Radakovich and Associate Athletic Director Theresa Wenzel supported the idea. “We wanted to do anything to help,” Morales said. “She’s in Colorado, so it wasn’t like we could offer physical help, like taking her to her treatments or cooking for her or things like that. But we could offer financial help.” The softball team raised more

Hosier with Caitlin Lever.

than $4,000, and the donations continue to roll in. Another Yellow Jacket team, women’s tennis, held an “Ace for the Cure” match to benefit Hosier as well. “It’s been so humbling,” said Hosier, who attended the alumni game in March. “I’ve never been in a situation like this where everybody rallies around me. I’m usually helping others. It’s different for me to step back and have other people help me. It means so much.” ■

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WET BEHIND THE YEARS Tech swim icon Herb McAuley continues to compete at the age of 89


By Adam Van Brimmer

Herb McAuley’s dealt with all manner of aches and pains in his eight-plus decades as a competitive swimmer. Never before has an abscessed tooth confined him to the pool deck, though. And for McAuley, it’s harder to stay out of the water than to eat with just one side of his mouth. “These teeth problems have really slowed me down,” said the former Georgia Tech swim star, swim coach and drownproofing instructor.


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“I’ve been hibernating like some darn bear.” Like a polar bear, McAuley will soon return to the water. Even at age 89, on the 70th an-

niversary of Georgia Tech swimming’s 1942 Southeastern Conference championship, McAuley longs to swim.

About Drownproofing Developed by the late Fred Lanoue, a Georgia Tech professor and swim coach, drownproofing is a water survival method. Lanoue introduced drownproofing as a Georgia Tech class in 1940 and it was taught until the summer of 1987 by Lanoue and his successor, Herb McAuley. The 22-hour course was long a Georgia Tech graduation requirement.

He made quite a splash two years ago in his return to Georgia Tech for the United States Masters Short Course National Championships. He swam seven events and finished no worse than third. Last year, he won his age group in the meet in four events. McAuley personifies the “fast is fast” mantra of current Georgia Tech assistant swimming coach Marty Hamburger. Fast is fast “means being competitive is a relative thing, and Herb impresses me by his dedication and his skill level,” said Hamburger, who as a Masters team coach 13 years ago tried to tried to recruit McAuley to swim for his team. “Being competitive is so important to him.”

A Quiet Legacy

McAuley is an often overlooked Yellow Jacket icon. He lacks the notoriety of his mentor and longtime boss, the late Fred Lanuoe, developer of the drownproofing technique. And he didn’t coach the Yellow Jackets to national prominence like two of his Tech coaching peers, Bobby Dodd and Bobby Cremins. Yet his career spanned the tenures of both those greats. He joined Lanuoe as an assistant coach the day he graduated from Georgia Tech in 1947 and spent the next 40 years as a program leader. He emphasized academics over athletics. He was flexible with the team’s practice schedules – some swam twice a day every day, others once a day four or five days a week -- but was unbending when it came to classroom performance. The top honor for a Tech swimmer in McAuley’s day was to be on a school-record setting relay team where all four members also made the dean’s list, said Paul Thompson, a 1978 graduate. “Setting a school record was fine and good but to excel in the pool and the classroom was a very big deal,” said Thompson, one of 17 swimmers in the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame. “To swim for coach McAuley, you had to have your priorities straight.” So ingrained was McAuley in the culture of Yellow Jacket swimming that the program took a one-year hiatus following his retirement. The elimination of the infamous drownproofing class – long a graduation requirement – also coincided with McAuley’s departure.

Staying In The Sport

By his own admission, McAuley was always more swimmer than swimming coach. He finished his head coaching career with a winning record – 169-144-1 – and tutored several Tech greats, including Georgia Tech Hall of Famers Paul Thompson and Tommy Towles. But it was his desire to spend as much of his adult life in the pool as possible that attracted him to coaching. He enjoyed a hall of fame career himself, winning the SEC 220-yard and


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McAuley became an assistant coach the day he graduated from Tech in 1947 and spent the next 40 years leading the program.

440-yard freestyle titles in 1942. He continued to compete even after adding a whistle and clipboard to his practice attire. He made Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” column on July 13, 1981, for winning three age group titles – back when the competition was deeper in his age group than it is now -- at the Masters nationals meet. “There’s no substitute for swimming and swimming competitively,” McAuley said. “Coaching gave me an excuse to keep swimming. I didn’t even consider it coaching until my last four or five years before retirement, and only then because I had a group that had little interest in their studies. I had to do more work with them outside the pool than inside it.”

Then And Now

The Georgia Tech swimming program’s current success, in and out of the pool, makes McAuley proud. He recalls the 2010 team attending the U.S. Masters Short Course Nationals that summer and sitting together at one end of the pool. “They didn’t look like the Tech swimmers I

remembered, so young and strong,” McAuley said. McAuley’s program and the one now presided over by Courtney Shealy Hart have little in common beyond the team name on their suits. McAuley’s teams practiced and competed in a pool at the Heisman Gym they shared with the rest of the student body. The Yellow Jackets had only 90 minutes of pool time per day, and “they always wanted us out 10 minutes early,” McAuley said. Today’s Yellow Jackets call a former Olympic venue home. Georgia Tech in McAuley’s day awarded few swimming scholarships, the main reason why “so many of our opponents could swim their third teamers and beat the snot out of us,” McAuley said “But we had camaraderie and the kids were close and got something out of it,” he added. “I see that same camaraderie in the team today, and that’s why I’m so happy to see them do well. They inspire me.” Now if only he could get those abscessed teeth to heal up so he could return to the pool… ■

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The photo above is of Blake with the Tech tennis team in April of 2010.

“OUR GREATEST ROLE MODEL” Nine-year-old Nolan Blake has been an inspiration to Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team


By Adam Van Brimmer

Kenny Thorne had his notebook in his lap and a scowl on his face when his smartphone chimed to alert him of a received text message. Thorne’s Georgia Tech men’s tennis team had just lost to Virginia in the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. Like most coaches, he spends the hours after losses, particularly in championships, thinking about “what we could have done, should have done and what we should do in the future.” The dinging phone interrupted his brooding, though, and he punched the necessary buttons to read the message. The note was from one of his player’s mothers, but it lacked the “nice try” or “get them next time” tone you might expect. “We had a good day today because Nolan only threw up three times this morning,” the message read. “Nolan” is Nolan Blake. He joined the Geor-


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gia Tech team in May 2010. And while he’s never played an official point for the Yellow Jackets, he’s as valuable to the team as ace Kevin King. Blake is a nine-year-old boy from Griffin (Ga.) with Anaplastic Medulloblastoma. That’s a pretty name for an ugly affliction: brain cancer. But over the last two years, Blake and the Georgia Tech tennis team have formed a beautiful relationship. His strength and courage, and that of his mother Brittany and his siblings, provides inspiration for the Yellow Jackets. Knowing his plight also puts things in proper perspective. “You get texts about a positive day being one where you only throw up three times and you realize there are many definitions for the term ‘good day,’” Thorne said. “Nolan is incredible.”


Blake came to Georgia Tech as an unexpected blessing. Thorne received an email in 2009 from a representative of an advocacy group for children afflicted with brain tumors known as Friends of Jaclyn. The organization formed in 2005 after Northwestern University’s women’s lacrosse team adopted a nine-year-old girl, Jaclyn Murphy, as an honorary team member. Northwestern would go on to win a national title that year, and Murphy enjoyed the experience so much she convinced her parents to start a foundation that would pair cancer patients like her with high school and college teams nationwide. Thorne responded to the email, taken with the idea of introducing his team to the relational side of community service.

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Yellow Jacket head coach Kenny Thorne says, “Nolan is incredible.”

“It’s great to give back in as many ways as you can, but what we have with Nolan is different than going out for one day and helping build or clean up something,” said senior Kevin King, who was a promising sophomore when he met Blake. “It’s more rewarding than any of us would have ever imagined.” The relationship has been an emotional roller coaster for King and his teammates. They got to know Blake in the wake of the boy’s cancer surgery, to remove a golf ball-size tumor on his brain, and in the midst of his first chemotherapy sessions. The operation and treatments were a success, and Blake’s strength and stamina steadily improved. He reached the point where Thorne and the players could engage him in short playing lessons. Blake relapsed in early 2011, however. While surgeons cut away the main tumor in 2009, they couldn’t remove smaller growths on his brain stem and near his spine. The initial series of chemo and radiation treatments put that cancer in remission but failed to eradicate it.


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Blake restarted treatments in March, 2011. Part of his routine on therapy days was to stop at Georgia Tech and visit with the team on his way to Scottish Rite hospital. On days schedules conflicted, the Yellow Jackets would go to the hospital and see Blake. “They’d bring tennis balls and bounce them around the room with him,” Blake’s mother said. “When this started, I didn’t know what to expect. I was just hoping for a positive experience that would help encourage him through his treatments. It’s been that and more.”

Quick Tennis Study

The relationship has been an educational experience for the Blakes. The family had no connection to Georgia Tech prior to the introduction by Friends of Jaclyn. And while Nolan is a sports nut – he rarely misses a NASCAR race or a Braves game on TV – he hadn’t shown much interest in tennis. He’s taken to the game the same way the

Jackets have taken to him. “He very coachable,” Thorne said. “We’ll show him some technique with the forehand or the backhand and he comes back the next time and remembers it. It’s incredible the focus he has.” Blake’s even schooled several Georgia Tech players on the court – at least the Nintendo Wii version. His mother brought the video game console to one of his first meetings with the team and a virtual competition helped foster a quick bond. Another memorable visit had Blake playing actual tennis in a pair of snow boots. “There wasn’t any snow on the ground, he was just into snow boots at the time,” Brittany Blake said. “The guys just loved it.” More than the boots, they love Blake. “He’s our greatest role model,” King said of Blake. “When things are going tough on the court and I want to give up or give in, I just think about his example of fighting every day against incalculable odds. It’s incredible.” ■

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Kyle (right) is his brother’s biggest champion in Colby’s (left) fight against mitochondrial disease.

INDESTRUCTIBLE BOND The Wren twins are more than brothers and teammates – they’re the best of friends By Adam Van Brimmer


Kyle Wren remembers just a single detail from his last fight with his brother Colby. “I hit him with a vicious flying drop kick,” Kyle says, with a hint of satisfaction in his voice, in recalling the decade-old brawl. “But I don’t remember who won. Or why it started.” Was it over a girl maybe? “No, he’d never do that, even back then when we were too young to know better,” Kyle says. Sibling rivalry on the baseball or football field? “No way. There’s definitely a competitive nature between us but there’s never been resentment,” Kyle says. Could he have invaded your privacy, borrowed a shirt without asking or something? “Don’t think so,” says Colby, who is equally clueless about what prompted the brawl. “I was bigger and taller than him even back then.” The answer to why they haven’t engaged in fisticuffs since is easier to come by. “We share common interests, but we have very different personalities,” Colby says. “That


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makes us more like best friends than brothers. And how often do you slug your best friend?” Few best friends are as close as the Wrens. They play many roles in each other’s lives – confidant, counselor, champion and, on the diamond as Georgia Tech baseball players, coach. The twins are so chummy that despite sharing the same living space since conception, they choose to live together in college. They even room together on Yellow Jacket road trips. “Kyle and Colby are inseparable,” says their father, Frank Wren. “They have a special bond. Twins often do, but their relationship goes beyond that. They compliment each other with their differences.”

Opposites Attract

The Wren brothers put the fraternal in fraternal twins. Colby is right-handed. Kyle is a southpaw. Colby weighs a solid 215 pounds. Kyle is 55 pounds leaner. Colby is gregarious and outgoing. Kyle is

quiet and reserved. Colby decorated his side of the room as a boy with posters of sluggers. Kyle idolized speedsters. “We’re so different,” Kyle says, “it makes it easy for us to be around each other.” Georgia Tech is a better baseball team because of it. Kyle is a star, on track to be the next in a long line of Yellow Jacket centerfielders (Jay Payton, Eric Patterson, Matt Murton, Danny Payne) to make All-American and eventually become a high Major League Baseball draft pick. And when Kyle’s struggling with his swing,

Hope Flies Home Run Challenge Georgia Tech’s baseball team is partnering with the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine for the Hope Flies Home Run Challenge all season. Fans can pledge from $1 to $100 or more per home run hit by the Jackets during the 2012 season, with the proceeds going toward mitochondrial research. For more information or to participate, go to and click on the “Hope Flies” tab.

he consults his brother, a first baseman waiting his turn for playing time behind veteran Jake Davies. “He knows my swing as well as anybody,” Kyle says of his brother. “He hit right behind in the lineup growing up, watching my swing from the on-deck circle. He sees

Kyle and teammate Brandon Thomas give Tech one of the fastest leadoff duos in college baseball.

the nuances no one else does. He’s my biggest supporter.” Colby says the same about his twin, although in a different sense. Kyle is his brother’s biggest champion in Colby’s fight against mitochondrial disease. The disorder impacts the body’s ability to produce essential energy. In Colby’s case, the disease affects his digestive system and causes dehydration, cramps, vomiting and extreme fatigue. He was diagnosed with mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation as a 10th grader after more than a year of stumping one medical specialist after another. A frightened yet unflinchingly positive Kyle stood by his side throughout the ordeal. “He’s going to practice and I’m going to the hospital, so it was definitely unnerving for him,” says Colby, who today serves as a spokesman and ambassador for the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine. “Yet he was so supportive. It would have been easy for him to pull away and focus on doing his own thing, but he never did. It really meant a lot that he was there for me.”

Best Friends Forever

The day is approaching when life splits the Wren brothers up. Kyle’s athletic talents promise him a future as a professional baseball player. Colby’s people skills point him toward a career in the business or communications fields. Don’t be surprised, though, if the Brothers Wren make like Brothers Grimm and work together. Colby aspires to a front office job with a Major League Baseball team, perhaps in a public relations role. He can see himself one day arranging media interviews for Kyle, the big league star. “They have both grown up around the game and that’s all they know,” says their father Frank, who’s worked in professional baseball his entire adult life and is currently the Atlanta Braves’ general manager. “Whatever happens, they’ll remain close.” A continued tight relationship is a given, the twins say. Their first extended period apart came last year, when Kyle spent the summer playing in the Cape Cod League. They still talked at least once each day by telephone.

Colby wants to eventually work in Major League Baseball, perhaps in a public relations role.

Kyle’s convinced they’ll always live close to each other, even when they form their own families. “We’ll probably live down the street from each other,” Kyle says. “We’ve seen each other every morning and talked every day of our lives. I can’t imagine not living close to Colby.” ■


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Dodd called Sid WILLIAMS “One of the finest players I have ever coached.”


By Simit Shah

It’s easy to tell that Dr. Sid Williams loves Georgia Tech. As one of the school’s most well-known graduates, his resume includes an impressive list of accomplishments and has been all over the world. However, his alma mater has never been far from his heart, and this is evident as he talks about his memories of playing football for Georgia Tech. “I tell people that it’s like a disease if you love Georgia Tech,” he said. “You can’t help it, because you love everything about it.” That admiration began when Williams was growing up in Atlanta. His father John and mother Jessie were both avid Tech fans. “Neither was a college graduate, but they always loved Georgia Tech,” noted Williams. “So I have always loved Georgia Tech as early as I can remember.” The elder Williams had season tickets for Georgia Tech football, and Sid Williams, an Eagle Scout, served as an usher at Grant Field as part of the Tech/Boy Scout youth program. The Boy Scouts of America recently honored Dr. Sid for 60 years of service. As he got older, Williams became a star athlete at Tech High School. He played both quarterback and end, earning all-city and all-state honors. He also captained the school’s track team and was class president. When it came time to pick his college of choice, Williams had numerous scholarship offers, but he was drawn to Coach Bobby Dodd. “He was larger than life in a lot of ways,” Williams remembered. “We were 17 or 18 years old and very impressionable. He was the 6-foot-5 head coach, and had done some magical things at Tennessee, so naturally you’d think he was the king fish. “Coach Dodd had a very Southern way of talking, and he’d say things like, ‘Plaint yo foot and slant up in there.’ He had a unique way about him, and we had a tremendous amount of respect for him.” Williams’ football career almost derailed before it started due to injuries. As a high school senior in 1947, he was selected to play in the Georgia All-Star Game, but he broke his collarbone in several places during a practice session prior to the game. A constant string of debilitating injuries also marred his first year on the Georgia Tech football team, but Williams was determined to play. He convinced the coaching staff to put him wherever they wanted in every practice and scrimmage. By the time the actual season began, Williams had proven that he belonged on the field. He played in about half the games in 1949, as the Jackets went 7-3. He became a full-time starter at defensive left end the following season. “In those days, if you were a starter, they didn’t substitute for you,” he explained. “You were out there for every play. That’s the way football was in those days, offensive and defense teams were all the same.” Injuries that would have sidelined a less determined player were simply a challenge, and Williams would not let them stop him. Prior to


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Williams was a starter on the 1951 team that went 11-0-1 and beat Baylor in the Orange Bowl.

the 1951 season, he visited the medical staff to ascertain the extent of the damage to his body and his full playing potential. “The doctors said that I could continue to play, but it would be painful,” he remembered. “That’s when Coach Dodd said, ‘If you’d continue to play, that would please me real good.’ That’s how he talked. I could hardly walk ,but when the call to duty presented itself, I would play 100% and never let up during the game.” The 1951 season was one of the greatest in Tech history, as the team went 11-0-1 with a perfect 7-0 record in the SEC. The only blemish was a 3-3 tie to Duke. The team was filled with some of the brightest stars to ever don the white and gold, including Pete Brown, Lamar Wheat, Leon

Hardeman, Ray Beck, Hal Miller, Buck Martin, George Morris, Daryl Crawford, and Larry Morris. Coach Dodd saved some of his highest praise for the fierce 160-pound Williams, declaring, “For his size, he is the finest end in America. There is no way to overestimate his value to our team. He is one of the finest players I have ever coached.” The team capped the season with a narrow victory over Baylor in the Orange Bowl, as Tech kicked the game-winning field goal in the final moments. “I remember very vividly Pepper Rodgers kicking that field goal,” recalls Williams, with a gleam in his eye. He still wears the Orange Bowl ring on this left hand. see ONE OF DODD’S BOYS PAGE 30



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WORKOUTS Yellow Jacket men’s basketball team uses heart-rate monitors to let them know when they’re working too hard – or not hard enough


By Adam Van Brimmer

To step onto Brian Gregory’s practice floor is to jump into the deep end of a swimming pool with a brick tied to one’s waist. You will survive, but you’ll emerge dripping wet and dog tired. Gregory can be as much a heartless drill sergeant as he is a men’s basketball coach. He pushes better than a bulldozer, probably because he addressed his own shortcomings as an undersized overachiever during his playing days by driving himself harder each day.

Mike Bewley recognized the trait in his then new boss six years ago. No stranger to intense workouts – Bewley is a strength and conditioning coach, after all – he knew training included a point of diminishing returns. But where did hard work become too hard on the body? And more importantly, could he and Gregory identify that point and push players right up to it thereby maximizing their training?

Enter the “belt”

Research led Bewley to the narrow strip of fabric that fastens around the chest and includes a sensor that monitors heart rate. The sensor feeds data into a software program designed to take readings on duration of activity and level of exertion – based on a baseline maximum heart rate -- and compute those numbers into workload figures. see High-tech workouts PAGE 26

Tech players wear heart rate monitors at practice, allowing for real-time data on how hard each player is working.


from High-tech workouts PAGE 23

Given those statistics, Bewley then only needed to put the numbers into context. Not surprisingly, stretches of heavy practice workloads showed up in fatigue during games and even injuries. Conversely, Bewley could identify the workloads that coincided with Gregory’s team at the time, the University of Dayton, playing its best. “I thought our guys were being over-trained but had no empirical evidence, and no coach likes to hear they’re doing too much,” Bewley said. “All of a sudden I had the data, and while the ideas weren’t met with open arms initially, coach Gregory eventually embraced it. “Now the belt is a part of everything we do.”

Planning Benefits

Gregory has customized his practice approach to “the belt” for four years now. He uses the data to formulate his practice plan. He spaces out exercises and drills to get the work done without overstressing the


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players. And because the belts now produce workload figures in real time – each player’s output is displayed on the scoreboard during practice-- Gregory can ramp up or back down practice intensity on the fly. “I never want to be on the court where we don’t have great intensity and energy, and the belts give us a map for how to get there and stay there,” Gregory said. Bewley has found the optimal average intensity for players at practice during the season is 80 to 89 percent of their maximum heart rate. The goal is to produce weekly workload figures between 1,000 and 1,200. Players produce approximately 200 training load points per game during the season. Based on playing two days a week, that leaves Gregory and Bewley 600 to 800 training load points per week for practice. They tend to go light – 100 points or so -- on the days before games and either light or not at all the day after games, leaving them one high-intensity practice load day. The schedule at times conflicts with Gregory’s coaching instincts,

especially when the coach finds his team’s play unsatisfactory. But he’s seen the results: Since adopting the belt, his teams have finished games and seasons strong. His Dayton teams went 8-2 in the postseason during his tenure and Georgia Tech played its best basketball down the stretch in his first season on the Flats. “That’s no coincidence,” Gregory said. “The belts provide a barometer for keeping our guys fresh throughout the year. I don’t know how to read the numbers per se but I see the results.”

Motivational Tool

“The belt” may be designed as a lifebelt for worn-out players. Some, however, wear it like a shock collar. Just as workload figures validate a hard worker, low numbers give the slacker “no place to hide,” according to Bewley. Given the competitive nature of every major college athlete, “the belt” drives effort. They can see how hard they’re working compared to their peers, which resonates louder than a cajoling coach.

“When you find something good, it’s usually good only one way,” Gregory said. “But with the belts, it protects against overtraining but also drives guys to put forth the type of effort we want on a daily basis. The program captures both ends of the spectrum.” Bewley and Gregory have even found team-building benefits in “the belts.” This generation of college athletes can be hesitant to challenge one another on effort. They have a “hard time with tough love,” Bewley said, which led him to use “the belts” in spin class sessions. The whole group had to pedal until they reached a cumulative workload level, and it didn’t take long for Bewley to hear calls of “Hey man, pick it up” and “Hey, we were supposed to be done a minute a go. Pedal harder.” “Once guys get comfortable with it and start to feel accountability to each other, you see development of the culture of the team,” Bewley said. “We utilize the belt system in a lot of ways.”

Beyond Basketball

“The belt” also offers Yellow

Jackets wisdom for life beyond basketball in terms of nutrition. The workload figures allow Bewley to calculate calorie burn as well as lactate production. The average Gregory workout costs players between 2,000 calories (backcourt) and 2,500 calories (frontcourt), and Bewley can update players daily on their nutritional needs. Athletes tend to under-eat during the season, Bewley said, which is why so many players that add 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason are back where they started by the start of the next offseason. The nutritional knowledge gradually becomes innate with players. “When we start talking about refueling there is such an immediate recognition,” Bewley said. “Those types of things get guys eating purposely instead of foolishly. And they take that knowledge with them once they leave here.” ■

The monitor is strapped to the chest, visible through Brandon Reed’s shirt.


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Upon graduating with a degree in Industrial Management, Williams married his college sweetheart Nell Kimbrough at All Saints’ Church in Atlanta. Martin was Williams’ best man, and “the church was full of football players,” Dr. Nell, his bride of 59 years, remembered. His interest in healing and peak performance sparked Williams’ interest in chiropractic. With the same spark that had characterized his years of football at Tech, the couple set off for Iowa’s Palmer College of Chiropractic, the birthplace of the profession, where they graduated together and became legends in that school’s history. While in Davenport, they still maintained their support of Georgia Tech, even traveling to Indiana in 1953 to see the Jackets take on Notre Dame in the biggest game of the year. They moved back to the Atlanta area and started their chiropractic practice. As it grew, both Drs. Williams became leaders in the field. They founded Life Chiropractic College in 1974 and surrounded themselves with individuals who lived the lifestyle of Lasting Purpose-- to love, serve and give from one’s own abundance. Williams has written five books and has been recognized as the “Defender

of Chiropractic.” His 60 years of devotion to his profession has been characterized by the same tenacious ambition with which he founded and grew Life University into the largest chiropractic university in the world. While his professional achievements elevated his stature, many still associated Williams with Georgia Tech and his exploits on the gridiron. He had left an indelible mark on the spirit of the game and institution that he loves. “One time, we were in South Africa for a meeting,” he recalled. “When I went up to speak, they played ‘Ramblin Wreck.’ Who’d ever think they had even heard of it? The crowd was standing up and singing ‘I’m a Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hellava engineer!’ It brought tears to my eyes. It was amazing...incredible.” The Williamses have traveled to virtually every bowl game over the years, and whenever the team plays in Florida, they usually host a mini-reunion of the 1951/52 football team at their home in Sarasota. The couple also attends every basketball game, sitting courtside for nearly 30 years. Throughout the years, Sid and Nell Williams have contributed to Georgia Tech and its athletic programs in numerous ways. Life Members of the Alexander-Tharpe Fund, the Williamses haven’t missed a football home game in

over 60 years. In fact they sit in roughly the same spot where Williams’ father had season tickets and the seats will be passed down to their son, Dr. John Sidney Williams, also a Tech graduate. “We will never give up the tradition,” Dr. Nell explained. “The white and gold is in our blood.” “We’ve watched Tech’s athletic prowess improve over the years,” said Dr. Williams. “Athletics is such an important part of the college experience, and it’s really special because it brings people together for a common purpose.” At Life University, Williams grew the athletic program into national prominence with the help of former Georgia Tech basketball great Roger Kaiser. Williams hired Kaiser as Athletic Director to build the athletic department from scratch and coach the basketball team. Over the years the school won over 21 national championships, including three basketball titles. Williams was inducted into Georgia Tech’s athletic Hall of Fame in 1999, and he proudly wears his Hall of Fame ring on his right hand. “I was lucky to play football for three years at Georgia Tech because it really changed my life,” he said. “I played through a lot of physical challenges, but I learned so much from Coach Dodd and my teammates. That’s the big-

Williams and wife Nell have contributed to Georgia Tech athletics in numerous ways.

gest reason I love Georgia Tech so much. It is not only an institution of higher learning; it is the basis for a special lifestyle that becomes part of your overall viewpoint and self belief that endures throughout one’s life.” ■

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Compliance Corner

By Jerome RoDgers Associate Athletic Director/ Compliance

What Tech supporters should know as graduation approaches Greetings from the Georgia Tech Compliance Office, The purpose of this article is to provide insight into the world of NCAA Compliance and specifically the topic of graduation gifts for student-athletes. You may recall that several years ago the University of Kansas (KU) men’s basketball program was punished for major violations of NCAA rules where three donors were providing graduation gifts to members of the team. KU reported that three university supporters wanted to express their appreciation to team members who were either graduating or completing their eligibility by providing them with small gifts, including cash or clothing.  The first donor had been providing a graduation gift of between $25 and $100 to graduating seniors for approximately five years.  The second donor provided between $300 and $400 to student-athletes who had exhausted their eligibility over a three year period.  The gifts were intended to help the student-athletes during their first few months out of college.  The third donor purchased lifetime memberships to the KU Alumni Association for several student-athletes and purchased a suit for another student-athlete after completing their eligibility.  In each case, the donor had good intentions.  However, NCAA rules specifically prohibit donors/supporters from providing student-athletes (even those who have graduated and/or completed their eligibility) with any benefit not expressly allowed by the NCAA.


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The Buzz Magazine - Summer, 2012  

The Buzz Magazine - Summer, 2012

The Buzz Magazine - Summer, 2012  

The Buzz Magazine - Summer, 2012