There are numerous factors that could explain how the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been able to compile so many seasons of consistent success, but at least part of the credit for staying in the proverbial fast lane goes to the steady hands at the wheel of the university’s football program. From 1904 to 1966, Tech employed a total of three men to serve as head coach of the school’s gridiron crew. These field generals have more in common than just a job title: they each piloted the Yellow Jackets to a national championship.
The legendary John Heisman became the university’s first full-time football instructor in 1904, and his debut campaign saw Tech finish with a record of 8-1-1. He’d orchestrate four undefeated seasons in the following years, and in 1916, guided the school into the NCAA record books when they pummeled Cumberland by a score of 222-0 in one of the most lopsided victories in the history of college football. A year after the remarkable trouncing, the Yellow Jackets went a flawless 9-0 to nab a piece of the national title. William Alexander took over for Heisman in 1920 and forever endeared himself to fans in ‘28, when Tech went 10-0 and defeated Cal at the Rose Bowl to seize the White and Gold’s second NCAA crown.
Bobby Dodd arrived in time for the ‘45 campaign, and over the course of 22 seasons, he led Tech to two SEC conference titles, 13 bowl appearances and a national championship in ‘52. Dodd compiled a record of 165-64-8 during his time with the Yellow Jackets and was also on the sidelines the day the university’s most celebrated tradition was born. The “Ramblin’ Wreck,” a 1930 Ford Model A, roared onto the field in ‘61 prior to a contest with Rice University, and it’s been revving up the crowd ever since.
Almost as renowned as the official vehicle of Tech fandom is the stately coliseum that serves as home to the Yellow Jackets. Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field was constructed in 1913 and is considered to be one of the oldest football grounds in the entire country. On Saturdays in the fall, more than 55,000 diehards pack inside to create a sweltering environment that opponents dread. Without a doubt, no visitor feels the wrath of the “Ramblin’ Wreck” faithful quite like the University of Georgia. Feelings for the cross-state rivals are summed up neatly by the phrase “To hell with Georgia,” a Tech rallying cry since 1893.
Through thick and thin, the Yellow Jackets have always managed to hang around. A fourth national championship on the gridiron was earned in 1990, while 11-win seasons in 2009 and 2014 have fans dreaming about even more title hardware. Until then, supporters will have to live with beating up on Georgia a few more times.