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L awa l S t r i v e s f o r P e r f e c t i o n

Drought’s

Over The Jackets ended the seven-year drought against Georgia with a 45-42 win in Athens

On-the-Court Training

Georgia Tech vs. LSU December 31, 2008 Ramblinwreck.com/tickets

Shaday Woolcock markets Georgia Tech both on and off the court

january 2009

The Lethal Engineer Brian Oliver has returned to where he began his career nearly 20 years ago www.ramblinwreck.com


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1/09

january 2009 • Volume 2, Number 3 EDITOR

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Cheryl Watts

David Johnson, Sam Morgan and Barry Williams

WRITERS

DESIGN & LAYOUT

Simit Shah Jack Wilkinson

Summit Athletic Media

january 2009

www.summitathletics.com

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In This Issue 4

Q&A WITH JAMES LIIPFERT

6

Cover Story – Photos by Jerry Pillarelli

Wes Durham Column

TECH ENDS DROUGHT WITH CLASS

The Yellow Jackets snapped a seven-year drought against the Bulldogs with a three-point win in Athens.

10

FINDING PERFECTION

14

ON-THE-COURT TRAINING

Consistency and patience – combined with a dash of fun – make up Gani Lawal’s recipe for success this season. A chance photo leads to a marketing internship for Shaday Woolcock, and the women’s basketball standout now promotes Georgia Tech both on and off the court.

18

AT HOME ON THE FLATS

22

THE LETHAL ENGINEER

26

SETTING A STEADY COURSE

31

compliance corner

David Brown finally found a home on Tech’s offensive line

Brian Oliver followed through on his promise to graduate and is currently working on a project at the Center for Advanced Brain Imaging at Georgia Tech. After spending three years as Tech’s starting setter, Allie Niekamp looks ahead to a career in business.

www.ramblinwreck.com

3


20 QUESTIONS WITH: JAMES LIIPFERT By wes durham

Fans and media tend to get caught up in the hype of the marquee college player that is expected to have a bright professional career, but often times some of the best college sports stories are fashioned by guys who know that their playing career will end at the collegiate level. One example is James Liipfert, a native of Marshallville, Ga., who joined the Georgia Tech football team as a walk-on in the fall of 2004. He redshirted his first season and then began his quest to get on the field the following spring. In his first fall, Liipfert played in two games and was credited with one tackle. On the way to the ACC Championship game the following season, Liipfert, who was nicknamed “Elmer” by former defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, played in 12 games, primarily on special teams. Last year he saw action in every game, just as he has this fall for new head coach Paul Johnson. But Liipfert got the added bonus this summer when Johnson awarded him a scholarship for his final season. Liipfert has not let up - he has been one of the Jackets’ best special team players this fall. As his playing career winds down, Liipfert let us in on the differences of being a “walk-on” and what his next challenge will be after this season is over:   1. How did you decide on Georgia Tech out of high school?  I grew up a huge Georgia Tech fan in a family full of GT graduates. Some of my earliest football memories are of my dad taking me to Bobby Dodd Stadium and watching Joe Hamilton, Keith Brooking and all the other great players of the 90’s. It had always been a dream of mine to play for GT, so when Coach Gailey called and offered me the chance to be a preferred walk-on, there was no way I could turn it down. I am very happy with my decision! 2. What kind of process did you go through to be a walk-on in football? There were no tryouts or anything of that sort. When it comes to how walk-on’s are dealt with, I was treated like a scholarship player, and that is something I greatly appreciated. There were times when I thought I was going to come in and be a practice dummy for four years, but I have been given every chance to compete, and that is all you can ask for. 3. How different an experience is it being a walk-on than a recruited/scholarship player? Well, after I received my scholarship, I realized how nice it is to get your school paid for! Other than the obvious financial benefits, there really is no difference. If you work hard and make plays when you get your chance, you are going to play, regardless of if you are on scholarship or not.

4

The Buzz

4. How many different positions have you played at Tech? What’s been your favorite? I’ve played fullback and linebacker and started on every special team unit at some point. This year has been my first year being on the kickoff cover team full-time, and that is my favorite. It’s a blast to be able to just run down the field with reckless abandon trying to knock someone’s head off. 5. Favorite part of playing football at Tech? I would have to say the relationship with the fans. It’s just amazing to have fans that are so passionate and knowledgeable about everything that we are doing on the field. When people come up to me and truly appreciate the hard work that we put in, or people are lined up all along Yellow Jacket Alley just wanting to shake our hands, that is something special and something that I will truly miss.

James Liipfert captured a piece of Sanford Stadium’s famed hedges following Georgia Tech’s win over Georgia in November. to say Michael Cox. “Bull” came to work everyday for four years and did his job. He never complained about not getting the ball very much, and he played his whole career with shoulders that were constantly popping in and out, which is terribly painful. He was a great fullback and he is a very close personal friend of mine, so I am so excited to see him doing well in the NFL. KaMichael Hall is a close second – he’s the smartest linebacker I have ever been around.

6. Best football experience to date?

11. Best player (opposing team) you have faced on the field?

This is an easy one – going to Athens my senior year and beating Georgia. The feeling I had once that clock hit zero and we were victorious is indescribable. I feel so blessed to be a part of this program, and it is a great feeling to know that all Tech fans will never forget our last regular season game as seniors. Plus, all the hedges that I took home was a nice little bonus! 

I had to block Gaines Adams of Clemson on a kickoff return once, and he was a load. Not only was he faster than me, but he was about five inches taller and seventy pounds heavier, not to mention a heck of a lot more athletic! Although I did not line up against him, the best player I have seen in person is Matt Ryan. He is an unbelievable football player that could go down as one of the greats. 

7. Favorite class and why?

12. Favorite game you have played in and why?

Personal Selling with Professor Peter Vantine. Vantine is a great professor, and this class taught me so much. It is an interactive class that focuses on perfecting interview techniques and sales presentation techniques. There is so much subtle stuff that can make or break a deal that I had never even thought of before I took this class. 8. We hear about “time management”. What does that mean to you? It means going ahead and doing things you have to do in order to have time to do things that you want to do later on. Georgia Tech has basically taken the procrastinator out of me and has helped me realize things are so much easier if you go ahead and get your work done when it is supposed to be done.  9. What is the toughest part of being a student-athlete at Tech? The long days are the toughest part. While it is exhausting to attend three classes a day and be attentive, it’s even tougher when those classes are sandwiched between a 7 a.m. workout and an afternoon full of film, meetings, and practice.  10. Who is your favorite Georgia Tech football player and why? While it is tough to vote against Joe Hamilton or Calvin Johnson, I would have

Beating Georgia, 45-42, this season. I had two tackles on kickoff coverage, and we also recovered a fumble that led to the touchdown that put us up for good. As a special teams player, getting turnovers is huge. I was so proud of the guys on the unit for getting down there and making a play. To get that monkey off our back and beat those guys for the first time since 2000 was a great feeling. Bret White and I were talking after the game about how we would still be talking about this game when we are 60! 13. What is your post-school ambition? I want to get involved on the business side of the NFL, specifically in the player personnel department of a franchise. 14. Why pro football and not college? I am mesmerized by the way the NFL has become such a powerful brand all over the world, and I want to be a part of that. Pro football is unique in that all twenty-two players on the field are all amazing, worldclass athletes. College football players are talented as well, but the NFL is on a completely different level. 15. How long have you wanted to be in an NFL front office? For my entire life I knew I wanted a job that involved sports. There was simply no way I could be as passionate in another

profession as I would be in sports. Once I enrolled at Tech, I realized that an NFL front office job would be a great mix of business and sports.  16. Who is your favorite Falcon and what has been your favorite Falcons game? My favorite Falcon is Matt Ryan. He is such a cerebral, poised QB who will do some great things for the franchise. My favorite Falcons game is a toss-up between two great ones: My dad took me to the 1995 game vs. the 49ers on Christmas Eve when Terance Mathis caught a touchdown from Bobby Hebert at the end of the game to send the Falcons to the playoffs. The other game is the 2004 Divisional playoff game against the Rams where the Falcons totally dominated and won 47-17. I went with (former GT player) Brad Brezina, and we had a great time. 17. What’s your favorite book? I don’t really have an all-time favorite. I read a lot, and something recently that I really enjoyed is usually my favorite. I just finished “Next Man Up” by John Feinstein, which was great. The author spends a year with the Baltimore Ravens organization sitting in on personnel meetings, the draft, etc. I love behind-thescenes, football-junkie type books. 18. What is your favorite movie? My girlfriend hates me for saying this, but I’ve got to go with “40-Year Old Virgin.” I laugh every single time I watch it, and the great quotes are all over the place. “Remember the Titans” is a very close second. 19. What is your favorite TV show? “Talk Soup” on the E! network. The host, Joel McHale, is hilarious, and he makes fun of all the crazy things celebrities are doing these days. I TiVo it on Friday nights and it’s the last thing I watch on Sunday night before I go to sleep. 20. What’s the one thing you would tell a player whose going to walk-on to play football at Georgia Tech? Be patient and have a great attitude. If you come to work every day, learn the plays and fly around, the coaches can’t help but find a spot for you. It took me two years to get on the field, and I was not sure if that time was ever going to come. God blessed me with the patience to wait for my opportunity, and it’s been the best experience of my life. 


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fb football

Tech Ends Drought with Class

After seven interminable years, Jackets earn right to crow

O Roddy Jones became the third Tech back to rush for 200 yards against Georgia, joining Jerry Mays (1989) and Robert Lavette (1982), and set a single-game school record with 16.4 yards per carry against the Bulldogs.

6

The Buzz

Outlined against a dank gray November sky, the four sportsmen crowed again. And again. And again. And why not? After what Georgia Tech had finally wrought here, after seven interminable years, after eating all-you-can-stomach crow for far too long, well, you’d crow, too. With class, though. Not trash. “Seven years has been WAY too long!” cried Roddy Jones, the freshman A-back-turned-aerialist who walked a sideline tightrope for 54 yards and put himself -- and his team -- right into Tech lore. “Great job, baby! Way to go!” shouted Dan Radakovich, and the Georgia Tech athletic director wrapped an arm around the football coach he’d hired last December. The coach who’s made this a November to remember, and a team for all seasons. To which a beaming Paul Johnson replied, “We had `em all the way.” “Had to take a piece of the

BY JACK WILKINSON

hedge,” yelled Dominque Reese, the cornerback who, like dozens of his teammates, held aloft a keepsake sprig, surely suitable for framing. “Between the hedges, baby! History, baby!” How historic? Let the resident Tech historian provide some prospective. “One of the truly great wins,” said Dr. Aaron King, the septuagenarian team dentist who should know. He’s cared for the Jackets’ cracked teeth since the days of Dodd. “It goes down in the history books.” After seven consecutive losses to Georgia, after a frightening firsthalf in which Tech surrendered 271 yards passing to trail 28-12 at intermission, after the Dogs seemed in control, the Jackets rose up and said, “Enough. Seven is enough.” With Jones and Jonathan Dwyer each rushing for two touchdowns - including Dwyer’s 60-yarder to open the third quarter and Jones’ tippy-toe 54-yarder to give Tech a late, 10-point


cushion -, Tech triumphed 45-42. A triumph, indeed, in every sense. On an alternately rainy-drizzlymisty afternoon in Sanford Stadium, the Jackets’ near-drought in Georgia finally ended. Lake Lanier may still be far below its normal depth, but not Tech. Not anymore. The Drought, Georgia Tech’s celebrated eight-game winning streak over Georgia from 1949-56, remains intact in this Clean Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry. And Georgia Tech, like Georgia, is 9-3. Which 9-3 record is more satisfying? You be the judge. You, Lucas Cox. “We were picked to win two games, three games,” said the sophomore running back who scored Tech’s second touchdown. “We’ve done above and beyond what anyone expected. And we’re gonna improve from this, too. “I was talking in the locker room to [James] Liipfert,” Cox said, “and Andrew Smith and A.J. Smith.” All three redshirt seniors. All three winless versus Georgia until Saturday. “They were almost in tears, they were so happy. Especially Liipfert. `Cause now he can say for the rest of his life that he beat Georgia.” They all can: Morgan Burnett, the sensational sophomore rover who returned his seventh interception of the season 35 yards for Tech’s first touchdown and his first career TD. Dwyer, the sophomore A-list B-back who rushed for 144 yards, his ninth 100-yard game of the season to tie Tashard Choice’s school singleseason record. Josh Nesbitt, who ran the option fumble-free on a wet day - and has there ever been a quarterback who was 1-for-6 passing for 19 yards yet was so crucial to a team’s success? And, of course, Jones, the 5-foot-9 redshirt freshman from Stone Mountain who ran in Sanford Stadium as he did at Chamblee High: like the wind. For 214 yards on just 13 carries, joining Robert Lavette (202 in

1982) and Jerry Mays (207 in ‘89) as the only Jackets to rush for more than 200 yards against the Dogs. “Just kept my feet moving,” Jones - who had a 62-yard run earlier - said of his decisive 54-yard TD with 7:13 to play. “They teach you that from a young age, and that’s what I did.” That, and this: “We’re making people believers (in Johnson’s option offense). We like it when it fuels the fire.” At halftime, however, Georgia appeared in command. This, after Matthew Stafford had already passed for 271 yards and three touchdowns to Mohamed Massaquoi to give the Dogs a 28-12 lead. Not that Paul Johnson was worried. In the locker room, he recalled, “I just said, ‘Hey, it’s 60 minutes. Anybody who came over here and didn’t think it’s going to be that kind of game, don’t come back out.’ We talked about (how) we’re going to get the ball first and we’re going to go down and score. “I didn’t know it’d be on one play,” Johnson said, smiling. “And we’d be right back in it.” And the Jackets were, once Dwyer took a counter-option pitch, slipped a tackle and sped 60 yards down the right sideline. His 2-point run on the conversion cut it to 28-20. And when Tech held, and then went 56 yards - all on the ground, the last eight by Jones to score -, and when Nesbitt ran a 2-point conversion quarterback draw, it was tied at 28. When Georgia’s Richard Samuel promptly fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Dwyer’s 23-yard run put Tech ahead for good. Scott Blair’s field goal made it 38-28. Twice, Georgia closed within three points. Twice, Tech stood firm, and tall. And once Jones walked the line 54 yards into the end zone, and Nesbitt took a knee, the Jackets could finally scratch their seven-year itch. As consolation prizes go, this one took the prize. Tech’s only disap-

Jonathan Dwyer tied the school record with his ninth 100-yard rushing game of the season, racing for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia.

www.ramblinwreck.com

7


pointment? Virginia’s 17-14 loss at Virginia Tech, which gave the Hokies the ACC Coastal Division title. Georgia Tech also finished 5-3 in ACC play, but lost 20-17 to Virginia Tech. That put the Hokies into the ACC Championship Game. That hardly dampened Georgia Tech’s joy. Coastal, shmoastal. “It’s bittersweet to me, still,” Darryl Richard admitted. “I think we could’ve gone into Tampa and been victorious.” But for Richard, the senior defensive tackle, co-captain and a soon-to-be Tech graduate school grad, this damp November day was still all sweetness and light. “This says, `Hey, you can compete. You don’t have to listen to these clowns who say it (the option offense) doesn’t work on this level, in the ACC,” Richard said. “You’re still gonna have naysayers. People will talk nonsense. But this is a team that can make a run in the next few years.” He paused, sitting there with a enormous sprig of the hedges looped around his right ear like an earpiece and headphone. “We have guys that a lot of Division I football factories wouldn’t even look at,” Richard said. “And on the field, you don’t have to go to a football factory to have success. We just had success against one of the biggest football factories, picked No. 1 in the pre-season.” ■

First-year head coach Paul Johnson directed an offense that rushed for 409 yards against the Bulldogs in the 45-42 win in Athens.

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The Buzz

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mb menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s basketball

Finding Perfection by Simit Shah

Gani Lawal is leading the Yellow Jackets in both scoring and rebounding this season.

10

The Buzz


Consistency and patience – combined with a dash of fun – make up Gani Lawal’s recipe for success this season

G Name:

Gani Lawal Class:

Sophomore Major:

Management Hometown:

Norcross, Georgia Notable athletic achievement:

Started 25 games as a true freshman

Gani Lawal believes in perfection. Whether it’s patrolling the paint or pulling a practical joke, the sophomore forward doesn’t believe in cutting corners. “Whatever he does, he wants to be the best,” said Georgia Tech head basketball coach Paul Hewitt. “Gani wants to be successful very badly, and he’s driven - whether you’re talking athletics, academics or anything else. Sometimes I’d like to see him not put as much pressure on himself.” Just a year ago, Lawal stepped onto Tech’s campus as a heralded McDonald’s All-American and the state’s reining Mr. Basketball following a stellar prep career at suburban Norcross High School. Like most freshmen, he struggled at times, but his talent was clearly evident as he started the team’s final 25 games and led the Yellow Jackets in blocked shots. Consistency was his biggest weakness. Lawal posted back-to-back double-digit scoring games only once and never grabbed more than nine rebounds in a single contest last season. His output faded down the stretch, and his playing time dwindled. “Coach Hewitt always says that the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores, and I see that happening now,” Lawal said. “Things are starting to slow down for me, and I think I understand what the coaches need me to do when I’m out there.” During the offseason, Lawal added about 15 pounds to his 6-foot-9 frame and spent considerable time learning the nuances of playing in the post. “I think he’s in much better shape physically,” observed Hewitt. “He’s not as fatigued. When you get tired, it’s hard to think, plus you’ve got a big guy leaning on you. When you come out of high school, you’re not used to playing with the kind of bodies that guys have up here. “Plus, he’s really worked very hard on his turnaround jump shot and his game around the basket. I think it’s the combination of his conditioning and experience that’s going to make a difference this year.” Hewitt is counting on Lawal making a significant impact this season. A depleted roster has left Lawal in position to become a major front-

court force for the Jackets. So far so good – he is averaging a double-double while leading the team in both scoring and rebounding. While pleased with his numbers, Lawal is quick to point to having only four turnovers and seven fouls through the four games as a primary focus for him in 2008-09. “That was a year of me maturing,” he explained. “We talked a lot about patience. When I get the ball, I wait a split-second to see what’s going on and get a feel for what I need to do. That’s what you’re seeing when I get the ball. I’m still working on not rushing, but my main goal is to get the ball, scan the defense and then make my move.” “I think he’s learning his role,” noted sophomore point guard Moe Miller. “He’s rebounding and running the floor hard. Iman (Shumpert) and I are getting him the ball, and he’s got a lot of power around the basket. He’s going to score if we get him the ball in the right spots.” “It’s important for Gani to know how to get the ball,” added Hewitt. “I’ve told him that he’s sometimes content to bang his body to get the ball as opposed to setting screens. That’s where I think he’s matured a lot. He really understands the

value of screening to get good post position. That’s where he’s really improved.” Improvement is also necessary from the free throw line. Last season, he connected on only 50 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe, and he’s regressed early-on this season, with that ineffectiveness making him a liability in late-game situations. “That’s a situation where he needs to slow down a little,” said Hewitt. “He’s got too many things running around in his head. In practice, he’s making about 40 out of 50, so he’s not a bad free throw shooter. He just needs to calm down a little bit.” “That’s a work in progress,” Lawal admitted. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but I am working on it. For all the people that say things and might criticize me, I am working on it. Sometimes I’m a little rushed, so I just need to find the right routine.” Speaking of routines, Lawal has developed a reputation as the team’s comedian. He’s quick to downplay his comedic talents, but teammates and coaches are quick to rattle off some of his hijinks, including a recent prank that involved dropping a water balloon on a sleeping teammate.

www.ramblinwreck.com

11


“He’s one of the funniest people I know,” said Miller. “He can imitate anybody whether it is from a movie or someone we know. He can walk and talk like anyone. He’s gotten just about everybody on the team and coaching staff.” His impression repertoire includes Coach Hewitt, who let Lawal loose in the locker room before the Virginia game last year. “I had to see it for myself,” Hewitt laughed. “I had been hearing about it, so I gave him the marker and let him go through the pregame. About halfway through, I told him to sit down. It was pretty good.” “I have a little fun,” Lawal finally conceded. “I do impressions and some other things. I like pranks. I’m a goofy guy.” However, there’s no time for goofiness on the court, as Lawal and the Jackets face stiff competition in the ACC, which had four ranked teams in early December. “It’s going to be uphill battle, but every team has to face adversity,” he said. “It comes in different forms. We have to take that in stride and work from there. Just look at what happened at Mercer. That definitely helped our confidence. We were down 18 in a hostile environment and came back to win, so we know what we’re capable of.” ■

Gani Lawal may be serious on the court, but off the court the sophomore enjoys doing imitations of others – including his coaches.

CHEROKEE COUNTY

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December

POWDER SPRINGS AUSTELL

October

DEKALB COUNTY

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The Buzz

CLAYTON COUNTY FAYETTE COUNTY

September HENRY COUNTY


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On-the-Court Training A chance photo leads to a marketing internship for Shaday Woolcock, and the women’s basketball standout now promotes Georgia Tech from on and off the court.

S

by Simit Shah Shaday “Day-Day” Woolcock knows how to seize an opportunity. When photos were being taken for the women’s basketball media guide last year, a teammate wasn’t ready, so the sophomore guard stepped in for a photo with Jim Fetig, the institute’s associate vice president for communications and marketing. “We took the picture, and then we started talking,” Woolcock recalled. “He told me what he did, and it was pretty interesting. He gave me his card, so I emailed him. One thing led to another, and he ended up offering me an internship.” Working in Fetig’s office this past summer, Woolcock drew assignments that included preparing press kits, collecting content for a new web site focused on student service opportunities and assisting with the renewal of licensing applications. “Day-Day’s a real charmer,” said Katie Bows, the school’s director of marketing communications. “She has a radiant personality and isn’t shy in the least bit. She’s been a great fit for us.” “They are great people, and I’ve learned a lot,” noted Woolcock. “I do hands-on stuff rather than the typical internship. I get to be a part of what they do and really understand all the different aspects of their office.” In addition to helping the school’s marketing efforts, Woolcock is promoting the basketball program as well through her blog on Ramblinwreck.com. “Dishing with Day-Day” has been in production since last fall, and it provides a behind-the-scenes look at the program through Woolcock’s eyes and words. “I like to write, and this a good way for fans to follow the team,” she said. “They can’t see what goes on before and after the games, so this gives them a chance to do that. It’s a little inside scoop.” The blog has generated plenty of positive feedback and even a few friend requests on Facebook. “She’s got a great personality,” noted head women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph. “She’s always upbeat and has a smile on her face. She’s such a great representative of our program. She goes out into the community and around campus. She represents exactly what our program

14

The Buzz

Despite her busy schedule, Shaday Woolcock still enjoys speaking to kids about their futures.

Name:

Shaday Woolcock Class:

Sophomore Major:

Management Hometown:

Atlanta, Georgia Notable athletic achievement:

Led her high school to three region and one state championship.

is about.” Give credit to Joseph for recognizing those characteristics early. “When she was a freshman in high school, her team at Avondale High School was having a lot of success,” explained Joseph. “They were playing four freshmen at the time, and I think they had gone to the state championships. We went over there to see her play and ended up offering her a scholarship as a freshman. As a sophomore, she committed to us. It’s definitely the earliest (commitment) I’ve ever had.” At that time, the program was just starting to establish itself, but Woolcock didn’t see her early commitment as a leap of faith by any means.

“I knew this was a team on the rise,” she said. “It wasn’t a superstar team. It was a team that was building, and I wanted to be a part of that. When I got here, it felt like a family. I wouldn’t change a thing.” Georgia Tech’s academic reputation clinched the decision for Woolcock, who was her high school’s valedictorian. On the court, Woolcock has emerged as one of Joseph’s “seven starters” that is aiming for a third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid. Her action was limited to 14 games last season due to injury, but she’s established herself as a versatile guard that can defend and connect See training page 16


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training from page 14 from long-range. “I sat out my senior year of high school (due to another injury), and then I had to sit out a good bit of last year,” Woolcock said. “It’s nice to get out there and get involved. We are so young but so athletic. We’ve got players that can play one through five (positions), and we’re quick. We’re also close, more a real family than just a team.” “She’s done a really good job of learning our system,” Joseph added. “Last year, she struggled because of that Achilles injury, which was tough for her. She’s come back from that. It’s been close to two years since she’s really played due to injuries. “She’s really improved her work ethic. As those things have improved, her confidence level has gone up,” Joseph continued. “She’s got great quickness, and she relies on her speed and quickness for the majority of her game, so that injury set her back.” As for the future, Woolcock will continue her internship this summer, and she has her sights set on a career in marketing. “If I’m not playing professionally, I wouldn’t mind being right here,” she said. “I’ve learned so much, so I’d like to use that here to help Georgia Tech and the team.” ■

When Shaday Woolcock took this photo with Jim Fetig, the associate vice president for communications and marketing at Georgia Tech, little did she know that she would one day become an intern in his office.

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fb football

At Home on the Flats David Brown finally found a home on Tech’s offensive line.

F

by jack wilkinson From military brat to migrant lineman. From heralded high school star, whose play could take your breath away, to a follow-thebouncing-ballplayer collegian with a respiratory problem that was finally diagnosed properly. Yet not before his final season was cut short. And still, after all that, David Brown can look back in wonder, not anger. And give thanks. “Oh, it’s been great,” said Brown, Georgia Tech’s fifth-year senior offensive tackle. “For my last year, my senior season, to go out like this, it’s great.” He said this on the Monday evening before Thanksgiving. He said it knowing he would not get one last crack at Georgia, knowing his football career was over. Best of all, Brown said it with a smile. At Tech, even the Georgia game is overshadowed by the game of life. “I was really enjoying it,” said Brown, who earned his degree in management during the summer, then finally found a home at right tackle, where he started the first eight games and flourished in Tech’s new option offense. “It’s crazy, though. You really don’t know when it’s going to be your last game. “Now I wish I could go back,” he said. “I just hope the Virginia game isn’t the last game I put my pads on. I think I could play [at Georgia]. But I saw the pictures. It hasn’t changed.” The latest MRI photos had confirmed that Brown’s breathing condition - laryngomalacia - hadn’t changed. “It causes flaps of skin [in the windpipe] to close,” said Brown, who was first injured in the Oct. 18 game at Clemson. That, and the MRI done just before the Florida State game, which, Brown said, showed a blood clot in his spinal cord. “For all my life, they thought I had asthma, but inhalers never worked,” he said. “I always knew the [asthma] medications didn’t work, but now I know why.” And now we know why Brown was so exhausted, so emotionally spent that day last August, after a preseason practice. In the off-season, during spring ball and before coach Paul Johnson’s first season on the Flats, the Jackets’ conditioning program was brutal for all. Yet after one practice, Brown - all 6-foot-3, 271 pounds of him - was slumped on a bench, head bowed, weeping. “That day, I had nothing,” he

18

The Buzz

Name:

David Brown was instrumental in helping the Yellow Jackets rank third nationally in rushing.

David Brown Class:

Redshirt Senior Major:

Management Hometown:

Madison, Ala. Notable athletic achievement:

Part of an offensive line that has helped Tech rush for more than 3,000 yards in 2008, which ranks third in the nation.

recalled. “I was just drained. It was a long night that night I found out. I didn’t sleep. I was just exhausted. That was a weird emotional day, and week.” Within four days, Brown’s maternal grandfather, Esau Crews died in Alabama on the Wednesday Brown took his last final exam toward his degree. “My parents knew I had a final that day and didn’t want to tell me,” he said. “That was a weird week. I graduated that Friday and went to his funeral Saturday.” And when he returned to practice, there was a mandatory qualifying fitness run: Three 300-yard shuttle runs. “I tried to practice,” Brown said, “but my body was just out of it.

That’s a crazy time: to be graduating from college, you’ve been working for it the last four-and-a-half years straight, without any breaks. You want to be excited.” But you’re exhausted, emotionally as well as physically. So David Brown wept. Then he did his grandfather - with whom he’d watch baseball games on TV, drink goat’s milk and eat mint jellies - proud. Did his parents and himself proud, too. He finally found a home on Tech’s offensive line and made it his own. Follow the nomadic backup: Despite being a highly-touted high school star in Alabama, Brown was redshirted his first year on the Flats, See flats page 20


After bouncing around at several positions, David Brown found a home on Coach Paul Johnsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s offensive line.

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flats from page 18 then didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t play under Chan Gailey in 2005 after missing spring ball and losing 25 pounds due to mononucleosis and strep throat. He played in just two games in 2006, and was pressed into duty at tight end the Tuesday before the Duke game. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Coach Gailey came in and asked if I wanted to help out there, on the offensive line,â&#x20AC;? Brown said. He did, happily. Still with us? Last fall, Brown began the season as an offensive line reserve, played nine games as a blocking tight end and was the only Jacket to wear two jersey numbers: 82 as a tight end, 55 on the O-line. At Bob Jones High, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d played defensive end and tackle, linebacker,

But this year, in Techâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new option blocking scheme, with less emphasis on the oversized offensive linemen that Gailey favored, Brown was reborn. He helped Tech become the ACCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most potent running attack, after adjusting yet again to a new position, new system and new surroundings. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s almost the same mindset as always moving around, always having to change up,â&#x20AC;? said Brown, who should know. His father, David Sr., is a U.S. Army colonel and career military man. Davis was born in North Carolina at Fort Bragg. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lived in Kansas and went to kindergarten in Indiana. Then came two years in Seoul, Korea. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I liked it,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My mom [Yoshie] is the kind of mom whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll

â&#x20AC;&#x153;For all my life, they thought I had asthma, but inhalers never worked,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I always knew the [asthma] medications didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work, but now I know why.â&#x20AC;? offensive line, fullback, tight end and wingback. Last season, in the Army game, Brown played offensive right tackle, offensive guard - both left and right -, and tight end.

make you go out and see things and taste different foods. I was into Tae Kwan Do and T-ball there, and I started getting into sports.â&#x20AC;? The family moved and was based

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The Buzz

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in Ohio, then Canada - in Canata, Ontario, near Ottawa, for four years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was a great place to live,â&#x20AC;? said Brown, who now goes on Facebook to reconnect with friends heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s made from all over the world. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You could go to Montreal and Toronto. We went skiing, and ice skating. My mom made me look at Parliament and all the old buildings [in Ottawa].â&#x20AC;? He even played not one but two musical instruments as a kid: trumpet and tuba. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I even made the all-star band in tuba,â&#x20AC;? Brown said, smiling, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cause I was the only one

playing it. I liked the tuba better. It fit me better.â&#x20AC;? He paused. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As a kid, sometimes you do get tired [of moving],â&#x20AC;? Brown said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You move to a place where kids have best friends, and you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. Now, it defines me as a person, as far as [having experienced] different cultures.â&#x20AC;? And different positions, and tribulations. And after it all, after living all over the globe and playing all over the two-deep depth chart, David Brown can still look back in wonder, and in thanks. â&#x2013; 


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mb men’s basketball

The Lethal Engineer

Following a successful professional basketball career, Brian Oliver followed through on his promise to graduate from Georgia Tech.

E

By jack wilkinson Eighteen years later, and he’s still in uniform. Yet instead of a gold jersey, that’s an orange reflective safety vest he’s wearing. Instead of a basketball in his hands, that’s a Blackberry which rings regularly, and which he answers, “DPR. This is Brian.” Instead of X’s and O’s and hastily-scribbled plays for lastsecond shots, those are precise blueprints he’s studying. And on his head? A white hard hat which, in every sense, fits Brian Oliver perfectly. “This is our first project here at Georgia Tech, and I take pride in it,” he said. “It’s almost like it’s my baby. If we’re going to establish a presence here, everything rides on the impression we make.” Oliver was sitting inside a building on Marietta St., on the edge of Tech’s campus. Nearly two decades ago, he seldom sat or stood still for long. Not on a basketball court, as part of Georgia Tech’s legendary Lethal Weapon 3. Today, he’s still a helluva, helluvan engineer: A project engineer with DPR, a Californiabased construction company with 15 offices nationwide - including one in Atlanta, where Oliver is working on an expansion at the Center for Advanced Brain Imaging at Georgia Tech. “I’ve always been fascinated with building,” he said. “It’s a passion that hasn’t escaped me. “I’ve come full circle,” Oliver said, smiling and forming a circle with his hands. Among Lethal Weapon 3, Oliver was always more hard hat than feathery jump shot, more straight Jacket than fancy crossover dribble. Not that he wasn’t a gifted hoopster. You have to be to become the only player in Tech history, and just the thirdever in Atlantic Coast Conference annals, to amass 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in a career. In 1990, Oliver led all ACC guards in rebounding for the second consecutive season. If Dennis Scott’s long-range laser jumper and Kenny Anderson’s mindboggling ball-handling and no-look passing were more lethal weaponry, Oliver was the heart and soul of LW3: a senior wingman with the all-purpose game and a bottomless pit of true grit. Together, they took Tech on a magical ride to Denver and the 1990 Final Four, the Institute’s first. Yet it

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The Buzz

Lethal Weapon 3 - the Golden Years: Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott and Brian Oliver all returned to campus for the annual Letterman’s Game last year. was Oliver who was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the ACC Tournament that year after the Jackets beat Virginia in the final. Now it’s Oliver, after a pro career that spanned 17 years, four NBA teams and several more clubs in three foreign countries, who’s become the first of Lethal Weapon 3 to return to the Flats and graduate. “It was always a matter of when, not if,” Oliver said. “When I came to Tech, I promised my mother and father I’d finish.” James and Delois Oliver of Smyrna raised their son right. Last year, having already taken some courses in 2001, he returned to Georgia Tech full-time to finish his last 14 credit hours. Now, at age 40, with a B.S. in building construction, he’s putting his degree to good use. “Georgia Tech was great about it - the academic people, Paul Hewitt and his staff, everyone,” said Oliver, one of several former Tech athletes who’ve come back to the Flats in recent years to finish their education. “I didn’t have to open up my pocket.” Not that he needed financial aid. “I’ve been fortunate to take care of myself financially,” said Oliver, a second-round draft pick in 1990 who played two seasons with Philadelphia and later briefly with Washington

and the Atlanta Hawks before embarking on an accomplished - and lucrative - career in Europe, primarily in Italy. “I didn’t want my next venture to be solely based on financial needs.” Earning his degree, Oliver said, “was accomplishing a major goal for me. You have a lot of athletes who go to college, make millions of dollars playing ball, and don’t go back to school. I didn’t want to be the typical man, typical black athlete, typical professional athlete who doesn’t graduate.” “And,” he said, “it was important to also show athletes who come to Tech that you can go to a great school and play ball and graduate and succeed.” Oliver was drawn to DPR not just by the nature of the work, but a quality found in successful business and basketball: An abiding sense of teamwork. “I wanted to be able to use my strengths - who I was, what I’d developed over the years,” he said. “And I wanted to be in a team atmosphere. “It’s the same thing in sports,” said Oliver, who took five of his DPR colleagues one Thursday night to the Tech-Miami football game. “I think a lot of my co-workers see me as ‘Brian Oliver, the co-worker.’” In beginning life-after-basketball, “One of the biggest things was I

wanted to do it on my own,” Oliver said. “I’m sure a lot of Georgia Tech graduates would’ve helped me. But I didn’t want to be hired because of ‘Brian Oliver, the basketball player.’ I loved the [LW3] fame and everything, but that’s a small part of my life. I just want people to accept me for the quality of the person I am, not who I am.” Not that Oliver isn’t grateful for Georgia Tech and all it did for him. “So much of what I am as a man, as a person, has to do with me going to Georgia Tech,” he said. “It’s a badge of honor to say you’re from Georgia Tech.” Indeed, he continued, “I want to get more involved with Tech’s basketball team. I just want to be around and accessible to the guys. I still think I can relate to some of these guys, as an athlete at a great academic school. I feel like it’s my duty, ‘cause Georgia Tech has done so much for me. And Bobby [Cremins] has, and the fans.” As for the Final Four, “The one thing that stands out with me is the ‘What if?’” Oliver said. “What if Kenny Anderson hadn’t gotten into foul trouble against UNLV [in the semifinal]? At that time, you didn’t realize UNLV was that strong. I felt that had Kenny not gotten into foul trouble, we could’ve been the na-


tional champions. “We’d beaten Duke in the ACC semifinals,” he said. “We were up seven on UNLV when he got in foul trouble. If he hadn’t, we might’ve beaten UNLV and Duke and won the national championship.” But then Oliver had played part of that season with an injured foot, and reinjured it in the ACC final. It clearly hindered him in Denver against Vegas. “Lethal Weapon 3 wasn’t as lethal in the Final Four,” he said, smiling. Overseas, Oliver became far more lethal than he was in the NBA. Playing first in Israel (“I was right outside of Tel Aviv when they were blowing up buses and when the prime minister was assassinated, and I contemplated coming home”), he then played in Italy. There, several important things happened: Oliver shot more and scored more and earned more. He learned to speak Italian fluently, especially after returning to Italy after playing in Greece. He played two seasons with Manu Ginobili for the Reggio Calabria club, winning the Italian championship. And three years ago, at age 37, Oliver was named the MVP of the Italian league while playing for Capo D’Orlando. See LW3 page 24

Lethal Weapon 3 - Dennis Scott, Kenny Anderson and Brian Oliver - all averaged over 20 points per game during Tech’s 1990 Final Four season.

www.ramblinwreck.com

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MrsEaves_italic_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;',./ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_ +{}|:"<>?_åç´ƒ©˙ˆ˚¬µ˜øœ®ß†¨¥`¡™£¢§¶•ªº–“‘«…æ÷ |ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜،‰Íˇ¨„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìò ùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ chalet_londonnineteensixty_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;',./ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:"<>?_åç´ƒ©˙ˆ˚¬µ˜øœ®ß†¨¥`¡™£¢§¶•ªº–“‘«…æ÷ |ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜،‰Íˇ¨„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖ ÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ chalet_obilique_london_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;',./ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:"<>?_åç´ƒ©˙ˆ˚¬µ˜øœ®ß†¨¥`¡™£¢§¶•ªº–“‘«…æ÷ |ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ ˜ØŒ‰Íˇ¨„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ chalet_newyorknineteensixty_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;',./ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:"<>?_åç´ƒ©˙ˆ˚¬µ˜øœ®ß†¨¥`¡™£¢§¶•ªº–“‘«…æ÷ |ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜،‰Íˇ¨„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄË ÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ chalet_obilique_newyork_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-=[]\;',./ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:"<>?_åç´ƒ©˙ˆ˚¬µ˜øœ®ß†¨¥`¡™£¢§¶•ªº–“‘«…æ÷ |ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜،‰Íˇ¨„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏ ÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ

Following a professional career that spanned 17 years, Brian Oliver returned to Georgia Tech to earn his degree and now serves as a project engineer with DPR, a Californiabased construction company.

lw3 from page 23 Most importantly, while playing for Messina in 2001, he met his future wife, Eleonora. “Her university was next door to our team hotel,” Oliver said. “One day I came back from training, and I saw her standing outside. It sounds corny, but that day the street was full of people and there was a ray of light. She stood out. There was something that made me want to talk to her. I had basketball gear on. She thought I might be one of the street vendors: ‘No, I’m sorry, I’m not interested in buying anything.’ “My wife,” Oliver said, smiling, “assumed I was a panhandler.” Brian reassured her, and they’ve been together ever since. In 2003, they married, and now live in a gorgeous house in Vinings. “I feel that she’s my greatest gift,” Oliver said, rolling up his sleeve to reveal the heart-shaped tattoo on his right bicep, emblazoned with a script “Eleonora.” Already in the Tech Hall of Fame and now having graduated, perhaps Oliver will one day have his number 13 retired? Could happen. For now, well, he gets up well before dawn five days a week and is on the job by 6 a.m. before finishing at 2:30 - at the earliest. Sometimes, it’s not ‘til 4 or 5. Not the kind of hours that NBA

24

The Buzz

players keep. Not that he’s complaining. “That wasn’t my path,” Oliver said. “Had I been an NBA star, I wouldn’t have met my wife, and I wouldn’t be here. I’m not lacking for anything. I have friends. I had accomplishments. I have God. I live about 10 minutes from my parents. Every day I walk in my house, my wife is happy to see me. That sounds corny, but…” Corny? Hardly. At 40, his playing days behind him, the rest of his life unfolding before him, Brian Oliver’s a Tech man in full. ■

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Brian Oliver received his degree in building construction in August, 2007, 17 years after helping Georgia Tech to its first Final Four appearance.

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vb volleyball

W

Setting a Steady Course

After spending three years as Tech’s starting setter, Allie Niekamp looks ahead to a career in business.

By simit shah

To say that Allie Niekamp is competitive is an understatement. A reporter from her hometown in Ohio recently reminded her about an encounter at a basketball camp when she was just five years old. When he asked why she was there, Niekamp responded, “I have to be better than both my older sisters, so I have to start young.” Niekamp, a senior setter for the Yellow Jacket volleyball team, grew up around athletics and healthy sibling competition. Her father Ron is in his 24th year as head basketball coach at the University of Findlay (Ohio), and his 500+ career wins place him among the top tier of Division II, where his Oilers are currently the top ranked team in the nation. “I was always very competitive,” said Niekamp. “Some people take camping trips or family vacations. When we had a day off, we all went to the gym and played knock-out. I’ve been competing as long as I can remember.” Niekamp grew up playing basketball and volleyball, but around the time she started high school, she faced a choice. She had to either pick an AAU basketball team or a club volleyball team. “I wouldn’t be able to play both,” she said. “My sister Sherry had just gone to Cincinnati to play Division I volleyball, and I realized at that point that I had a love and passion for volleyball. I wanted it to help me continue my education.” Not long after that, she caught the eye of the Georgia Tech coaching staff. “We saw her play at a big tournament in Indianapolis when she was a sophomore,” remembered Yellow Jacket head volleyball coach Bond Shymansky. “She had height and skill, but she was still growing and learning. You have to use a crystal ball to a certain degree. We put her on the list to watch how she progressed. By her junior year, it was pretty clear that she was one of the best setters in the country.” By the time she was a senior, Niekamp was among the top 50 prep players in the country, and she picked Georgia Tech over North Carolina. “I knew they had a great business program here,” she said. “I came here, met the coaches and players and really fell in love with it. The atmosphere in O’Keefe is amazing. Everyone was so warm and welcom-

26

The Buzz

ing that you instantly feel comfortable here. I knew from my visit here that it was my number one school.” Once on campus, her inherent competitive fire served Niekamp well. She just capped her Georgia Tech career by moving into third among the school’s all-time assist leaders with 3,560. She sits behind Kele Eveland, the only female in school history to have her jersey retired, and Georgia Tech Hall of Famer Andrea Nachtrieb. “It’s amazing,” she reflected. “I’ve been looking at the banners and thinking about all the great players that have been here. Having the opportunity to play with great teammates and coaches, I feel privileged.” As the team’s starting setter for the past three seasons, Niekamp has literally been in the middle of all the action. “Setter is definitely a leadership position,” she said. “I’m calling the plays, and I’m also a go-between for the offense and defense. You need to have a special connection with each player, because you have to know what needs to be said to motivate them. There’s a huge mental aspect to it, and it’s rewarding to interact

Name:

Allie Niekamp Class:

Senior Major:

Management Hometown:

Findlay, Ohio notable athletic achievement:

Third in Tech history with 3,560 assists

Allie Niekamp concluded her career ranked third in Tech’s career record books with 3,560 assists, behind Kele Eveland, the only female in Tech history to have her jersey retired, and Georgia Tech Hall of Fame setter Andrea Nachtrieb. with everyone. The setter is usually involved in every play. “I’ve learned so much about team interaction and building relationships with people,” she continued. “On the volleyball court, we’re put in such extreme situations. You have to rely on your teammates, because you can’t do it by yourself. I’ve really learned so much about working with other people.” “That position is really the quarterback, so you have to have someone intelligent, and Allie shows that in the classroom with her GPA,” added Shymansky. “She’s been one of our top students the whole time she’s been here. That translates to how you think about the game. As a setter, you can’t just react. You have to anticipate, plan and then execute. She’s done a good job of learning that over the last four years.” Niekamp, a management major, has been on the ACC Honor Roll her entire career, and she earned Academic All-ACC honors the past two years. That’s in addition to her service on the Student-Athlete Advisory Board for the last three seasons as the volleyball program’s representative. “My biggest goal was to make Academic All-ACC,” she said. “That means you’re contributing to your

team and also getting it done in the classroom. I think that’s been my biggest accomplishment, because academics is so important to me.” With her athletic career complete, Niekamp is turning her full attention to academics. First, she’ll be heading to Australia and New Zealand to study abroad. She also has a marketing internship lined up with Marathon Petroleum over the summer. She’ll return to school next fall and graduate in December. “She’s going to use her Georgia Tech degree, and she’s going to use it quickly,” Shymansky added. “She’s not going to be one of these kids that flounders around for a few years after graduation. Just like she had a plan for what she wanted to do at Georgia Tech as an athlete, she has a plan for what she wants to do as a graduate. I think she’ll enjoy going abroad, and she’ll be ready for the real world when she graduates.” While she won’t be on the court, she’ll make an effort to stay involved with the program, which is something that Shymansky finds valuable. “For us, they can be a steadying force. They can be a sounding board for younger players. Once a player leaves, they gain a whole lot more perspective. Those are good resources for our players.” ■


The senior setter had plenty to cheer about over the last four years, as she helped the Yellow Jackets to more than 20 wins each of the last three years and at least 12 ACC victories all four seasons.

Allie Niekamp has spent much of her free time participating in Student-Athlete Advisory Board community service activities, including Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics.

www.ramblinwreck.com

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at alexandertharpe fund

Moore Generosity Benefits Tech Athletes Desiree Moore continues to give back to Georgia Tech – the school that gave so much for her late husband

D

By simit shah During World War II, Desiree Buchanan was working for the American Red Cross in Honolulu when one night her friend awakened her with some startling news. “She had just met Bill and thought he was great,” the Long Island native remembered. “She woke me up that night and said, ‘I just met the man you’re going to marry.’ I had never even thought about getting married, so I said, ‘Forget it, you marry him.’ I was serious about my work, so that was the last thing on my mind.” Bill turned out to be William “Bill” Moore, an officer on a naval destroyer on shore leave in Hawaii at the time. The two finally met at a dance, through Desiree was there with a fighter pilot on a blind date that her friend had arranged. “I met Bill, and I thought he was rather attractive,” she laughed. “In fact I thought he was a knockout.” Bill called later to ask her out on a date, and Desiree accepted despite being wary of her new suitor. “We went out on a date, a cheap one at that since you could get all the ice cream you wanted at the commissary,” she said. “The movies were free too.” The two hit it off, and Bill introduced her to Dean George Griffin, who was stationed in Hawaii during the war. “Bill told me that he wanted to meet a friend of his that was his dean at Georgia Tech,” she said. “He was just the greatest guy. As we’re going out the door, I remember Dean Griffin saying to Bill, ‘If you don’t marry her, I will.’” The couple married on July 18, 1946. Bill and Desiree settled in California, where Bill had been working for the Glidden paint company in San Francisco. He and a colleague decided to branch out on their own, founding Kelly-Moore Paints. Over the years, Bill grew the venture into the largest privately-held paint company in the nation. He also developed the Broken O. Ranch, the largest irrigated acreage in Montana, and became chairman of Calmutual Insurance.

28

The Buzz

As his career soared on the opposite coast, Bill always kept Georgia Tech close to his heart. Growing up in Arkansas, he was captivated by tennis and started practicing on a makeshift court. He eventually became the state doubles champion and earned a tennis scholarship at Tech. He arrived in Atlanta in 1934, and like most during the Depression, he barely had enough to make ends meet. Dean Griffin stepped in and helped Bill secure a number of small jobs to cover his living expenses and help pay for his younger sister’s college tuition. The Atlanta Journal even documented his 11 different jobs, ranging from babysitter to soda jerk to mechanic. All the while, Bill starred on the tennis courts, winning the SEC doubles crown with Russell Bobbit and helping to secure a team title in 1938. He lost one singles match while at Tech. He graduated in 1938 with an industrial management degree. His experiences at Georgia Tech left an indelible impression, and Moore sought to support his alma

mater in numerous ways. In 1988, the Bill Moore Tennis Center was dedicated to him, and four years later his $5 million gift helped build the Bill Moore Student Success Center that is adjacent to Bobby Dodd Stadium. Bill took great pride in his Georgia Tech roots, and he was active in various campus boards and committees until he passed away in 2004. “Bill wanted to repay Tech for everything they did for him, and that was his way of doing that,” Desiree said. “I am continuing to do that, particularly for women’s sports.” After the women’s tennis team captured the school’s first-ever NCAA championship in 2007, Desiree Moore asked former athletics director and close friend Dr. Homer Rice how to appropriately honor the achievement. That led to her and her children, daughter Chris McCall and son William Moore II, establishing the Moore Family Scholarship Fund for Women’s Tennis. The seven-figure endowment fully funds two scholarships for the program in perpetuity. “The Georgia Tech community

has benefited from the generosity of the Moore family for many years,” said women’s tennis coach Bryan Shelton. “I am so grateful for Mrs. Moore’s confidence in our talented and driven athletes. This endowment is a long-term investment in our team that will allow us to attract female students who are highly skilled and competitive tennis players and top-notch scholars.” She made another contribution recently that will help fund the expansion of the Bill Moore Tennis Center as well as the installation of new lights on the outdoor courts. “They’ve really answered the call every time we’ve asked for something,” added Shelton. “They’ve really help build and develop our program. Without their efforts and support, we couldn’t be accomplishing the things we have at Georgia Tech. We owe them a great a deal of gratitude. I wish Bill Moore was around to see the success of the programs. I think he’d be very proud.” “It’s all because of Bill,” Desiree explained. “Georgia Tech meant a great deal, and I want to continue to help in any way that I can.” ■

YELLOW JACKET FANS ®

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, HERE S YOUR MISSION: 1. Go to www.iwantmygt.com 2. Print an official “I Want My GT” card 3. Give the card to a retailer that you think should carry Georgia Tech merchandise

There are thousands of Yellow Jacket fans, and they want their GT! ®

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A Cottage by theLake

Family swimming pool with water slide, splash pad and hot tub

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T H E R E Y N O L D S L A N D I N G C O T T A G E C O L L E C T I O N by ooking for an idyllic setting to relax and reconnect with your loved ones? Just over an hour from Atlanta, Athens and Augusta, Reynolds Landing proudly announces the release of The Cottage Collection by Southern Living ®. Be among the first to own one of the charming cottage homes designed to bring generations together for funfilled weekends, restful vacations and memorable holiday celebrations. The award-winning Bob Cupp golf course is just a short stroll away, and a new clubhouse, family swimming pool (with water slide, splash pad and hot tub), restaurant, athletic field and other amenities ensure that your perfect lakeside setting creates a lifestyle unlike any other. To help you make the most of your leisure time, storage areas adjacent to the front porch provide handy access to recreational items such as golf clubs, bicycles and fishing equipment. Open floor plans accented with cozy niches create a warm environment for your family, while spacious porches invite your friends and neighbors to gather outdoors.

To learn mor moree about th thee Reynolds Reynolds Landing Cottage Collect Collection ion ® community unity or other re realal estate by Souther Southernn Living Living , the comm opportuni opp ortunities, ortuni ties, contact you yourr Reynolds Reynolds Landi Landing ng sales executive executive 866.405.7400 7400 or toll free at 866.405. www.r.r.reynoldslan eynoldslanding.com eynoldslan ding.com visit us at www Artist’s conceptual rendering, subject to change.


your ticket to

great entertainment

presenting the 2008-2009 Season

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Arrested Development

Friday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m.

THE CAPITOL STEPS Friday, Oct. 3, 8 p.m.

The Capitol Steps

EAST VILLAGE OPERA COMPANY

Friday, Oct. 10, 8 p.m.

ABIGAIL WASHBURN and the

East Village Opera

SPARROW QUARTET featuring BELA FLECK with CASEY DRIESSEN and BEN SOLLEE Friday, Oct. 17, 8 p.m.

® Jazz Abigail Washburn

JOE SAMPLE TRIO

Enriching the Educational Experience ( E 3 )

Call today for tickets!

By Paul Parker

Georgia Tech Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance Services

featuring RANDY CRAWFORD

Saturday, Oct. 18, 8 p.m.

LA THEATRE WORKS WAR OF THE WORLDS/ THE LOST WORLD Friday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m.

LILY TOMLIN

Friday, Nov. 7, 8 p.m.

ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET

Friday, Nov. 14, 8 p.m.

THE DEL MCCOURY BAND featuring THE

DOYLE & DEBBIE SHOW Saturday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m.

® More Music ® Dance ® Comedy & Theatre

See the full season at www.ferstcenter.org

Division of Student Affairs

Compliance Corner

sponsored by

On the Georgia Tech campus at 349 Ferst Drive

404-894-9600

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With the November signing period complete and the February signing date approaching, here are some reminders regarding the signing of the National Letter of Intent (NLI): • P rior to the signing of a prospective student-athlete to an NLI, Georgia Tech coaches and staff members may comment only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospect. • C  oaches and staff may not comment generally about the prospect’s ability or the contribution he/she might make to the team. • C  oaches and staff are precluded from commenting in any manner as to the possibility of the prospect’s signing with Georgia Tech. • It is not permissible for a media entity and/or a representative of Georgia Tech’s athletics interest to be present during any on- or offcampus recruiting contact that is made by an authorized coaching staff member with a prospect. • G  eorgia Tech may make an announcement on campus for the sole purpose of presenting at one time to the media and alumni the names of all prospects who have signed a NLI in a particular sport from Georgia Tech, with the understanding that no prospects (or their friends or relatives) may be in attendance. • P ress conferences to announce a signing may be arranged independently by the prospective student-athlete (or the prospective student-athlete’s family), provided there is no arrangement or involvement whatsoever by the institution or representative of Georgia Tech’s athletics interests. • It is not permissible for a media entity and/or a representative of Georgia Tech’s athletics interest to be present during any on- or off-campus signing of the National Letter of Intent by a prospective student-athlete. • It is not permissible for a representative of Georgia Tech’s athletics interests to have any contact with a prospective student-athlete prior to or after the National Letter of Intent signing date. • P ublicity released by Georgia Tech concerning a prospective studentathlete’s commitment to attend Georgia Tech shall occur only after the prospective student-athlete has signed a National Letter of Intent or after the prospective student-athlete’s signed acceptance of the Institute’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid.

National Letter of Intent Signing Dates Sport Initial Signing Date Final Signing Date

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Football (Regular Period)

February 4, 2009

April 1, 2009

Track and Field/Cross Country

February 4, 2009

April 1, 2009

Basketball (Regular Period)

April 15, 2009 May 21, 2009

All other Sports (Regular Period) April 8, 2009

August 1, 2009

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31


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Š2008 The Coca-Cola Company. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Coca-Cola,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Coca-Cola Zero,â&#x20AC;? the Contour Bottle design and the Dynamic Ribbon are trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company.

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The Buzz Magazine: January 2009