Bobby Dodd Stadium

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Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field
"The Flats"
BobbyDoddStadiumGTMiami2008.jpg
Former names Grant Field (1913–1988)
Location 155 North Avenue, Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30332
Coordinates 33°46′21″N 84°23′34″W / 33.77250°N 84.39278°W / 33.77250; -84.39278Coordinates: 33°46′21″N 84°23′34″W / 33.77250°N 84.39278°W / 33.77250; -84.39278
Owner Georgia Tech
Operator Georgia Tech
Capacity 55,000 (2003-present)
43,719 (2002)
41,000 (2001)
46,000 (1988-2000)
58,121 (1967-1987)
53,300 (1962-1966)
44,105 (1958-1961)
40,000 (1947-1957)
30,000 (1925-1946)
18,000 (1924)
5,304 (1913-1923)
Record attendance 60,316
1973 (vs. Georgia)[1]
Surface Grass 1913 to 1970 and 1995 to present
Astroturf 1971 to 1994
Construction
Broke ground April 1913
Opened September 27, 1913[5]
Renovated 2003
Expanded 1924, 1925, 1947, 1958, 1962, 1967, 2003
Construction cost $35,000 (original west stands)[2]
($835 thousand in 2014 dollars[3])

$75 million (Latest expansion)
Architect Charles Wellford Leavitt[4]

HOK Sport (renovation)
Tenants
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (NCAA) (1913–present)
Peach Bowl (NCAA) (1968–1970)
Atlanta Apollos (NASL) (1973)
Atlanta Beat (WUSA) (2001)

Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field is the football stadium located at the corner of North Avenue at Techwood Drive on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. It has been home to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team, often referred to as the "Ramblin' Wreck", in rudimentary form since 1905 and as a complete stadium since 1913. The team participates in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. It is the oldest stadium in the FBS and has been the site of more home wins than any other FBS stadium.

Location[edit]

The stadium is located on the east side of the Georgia Tech campus,[6] across from freshman housing facilities and just a short walk from the campus library and fraternity/sorority row. The facility is located in Midtown Atlanta, just off Interstate 75/85 (the "Downtown Connector"), across from the famed Varsity restaurant. The stadium's atmosphere is unique in its setting, with a picturesque view of the downtown and Midtown Atlanta skylines looming overhead during games.

History[edit]

Grant Field is the oldest continuously used on-campus site for college football in the Southern United States, and the oldest in the FBS.[7]

Football has been played at the current site since 1905. In 1913, permanent grandstands were built for the first time, mostly by Tech students.[8][9] It was originally named for Hugh Inman Grant, son of John W. Grant, a well-known Atlanta merchant and original benefactor of the stadium.

Grant Field and the east stands. (Note houses in background, along Techwood Drive, also visible in other early photos.)

In 1988, it was renamed in honor of Bobby Dodd,[10] who has the most wins of any coach in the team's history. The playing surface is still named Grant Field.

The stadium bears little, if any, resemblance to its original form, having been expanded many times. The original facility, roughly corresponding to the lower level of the current stadium's west grandstands, seated 5,600. The terrain in the area slopes upward from north to south, a slope very noticeable in the background of early photos, before the slopes were covered by the large stands built over them. Due to that natural grade, much of the field itself is below street level. The houses observable in the background of early photos were replaced by dormitory buildings in the 1930s.

Wardlaw Center

By 1925, the east and south stands were completed, making the stadium a 30,000-seat horseshoe with an open north end. The west stands were rebuilt and a large press box was added in 1947, bringing capacity up to 44,000. The original all-steel 4,105-seat North stands were erected in 1958, and in 1962 and 1968 the upper decks were added to the East and West sides, respectively, bringing capacity to its all-time high of 58,121. In 1985 the South stands were razed to make room for the William C. Wardlaw Center, a modern field house and athletic office facility to replace the facilities in the old Heisman Gym, which was located just to the north of the stadium.

The current, modern west grandstand covers the old concrete one, which is still intact underneath. The high interstitial space is currently used for storage. Grant Field was occasionally used as a site for Atlanta Falcons games during the team's early years when it was sharing Fulton County Stadium with the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball and there were scheduling conflicts. The lighting was replaced in 1998.[11]

North stands
GT Fans entering Bobby Dodd Stadium

Following the 2001 season, a major expansion and renovation project was started, which was done in two phases in order to play the 2002 season in the stadium. For the 2002 season, seating was returned to the South end in front of the Wardlaw Center, and the original North stands and lower east bleachers were rebuilt and bowled in. After the 2002 season, the expansion was completed by adding a massive free standing upper deck in the north end zone. This addition of a north end zone upper deck brought Bobby Dodd Stadium to its current capacity. The new stadium was rededicated during the 2003 home season opener versus the Auburn Tigers on September 2, 2003.

In the summer of 2009, Bobby Dodd Stadium underwent a number of changes. First, the scoreboard was renovated and after completion, is now twice as big as the old scoreboard. Also, ribbon boards were installed in front of the Wardlaw Center, as well as along the sides of the stadium. Another change was the improvement of the sound system in the stadium.[12]

Notable games[edit]

Cumberland vs. Georgia Tech game at Grant Field. Looking east toward Techwood Drive (note houses also visible in other early photos).

October 7, 1916: Georgia Tech 222, Cumberland College 0
In the most lopsided game in American football history, Georgia Tech, under legendary coach John Heisman, defeated Cumberland College 222-0. It has been said that Coach Heisman was repaying the Bulldogs for a 22-0 baseball defeat the previous year in which Cumberland had allegedly used professional players to ensure victory or conversely that he was showing how that running up the score against weak opponents was vastly influential over the voters in college football rating polls. In any case, the Engineers (as the Georgia Tech team was known at the time) never threw a pass and never took more than four plays to score. [13]

November 29, 1917: Georgia Tech 68, Auburn 7
This win marked the end of the first undefeated, untied National Championship season for the Yellow Jackets. In 1917, Georgia Tech would outscore opponents 491-17 in the midst of a 33 game undefeated streak spanning over five seasons.[14][15]

December 8, 1928: Georgia Tech 20, Georgia 6
This was the culmination of Georgia Tech's second perfect season and National Championship, though the Yellow Jackets would go on to the Rose Bowl to face Cal in what would turn out to be a famous game itself. Georgia Tech played only two away games in its 9-0 regular season lineup hosting Notre Dame, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. The main reason for this is that many of the other Southern teams' stadiums were not as large or accessible as Grant Field in Midtown Atlanta.[16]

External images
Through the years
100 years of football at Grant Field

November 15, 1952: #4 Georgia Tech 7, #12 Alabama 3
In one of the biggest games of Georgia Tech's third National Championship season, two of the highest ranked teams to ever face off on Grant Field saw Georgia Tech defeat Alabama in a closely matched defensive battle. Georgia Tech's Jake "Mouse" Rudolph was knocked unconscious by tackling Alabama's Bobby Marlow on a fourth-down play on the goal line late in the game, which became known as the "$125,000 tackle." This play prevented Alabama from scoring and provided the Yellow Jackets with the opportunity to win the game with one touch down drive. The victory preserved the Yellow Jacket's undefeated record, and Georgia Tech was invited to play in the Sugar Bowl and earned the bowl payout. Tech, which had already defeated #6 Duke would go on to defeat Florida State, Georgia and undefeated #7 Mississippi (in the Sugar Bowl) in the midst of a 31-game undefeated streak.[17][18][19]

November 17, 1962: Georgia Tech 7, #1 Alabama 6
This incredible upset victory over top-ranked Alabama ended the Crimson Tide's 26-game unbeaten streak. Bobby Dodd called it his greatest victory as Tech thwarted Alabama comeback efforts by preventing a two-point conversion attempt and intercepting a Joe Namath pass deep in their own territory with just 1:05 left.[20]

November 6, 1976: Georgia Tech 23, #11 Notre Dame 14
In the most memorable game of a 4-6-1 season, Georgia Tech defeated #11 Notre Dame without throwing a forward pass.[21] After quarterback Gary Lanier was sacked while dropping back to pass in the first quarter, Notre Dame's Ross Browner and Willie Fry celebrated on the field. Georgia Tech coach Pepper Rodgers decided to not allow the Fighting Irish the chance to strut after a sack, and called for a run on every subsequent play. The unusual strategy worked, and the Yellow Jackets upset Notre Dame.

October 13, 1990: #15 Georgia Tech 21, #14 Clemson 19
Only two seasons removed from a dreadful 3-8 1988 season, Coach Bobby Ross had led his team to a 4-0 record to face the Tigers. The Yellow Jackets came out on top of this closely matched battle and would go on to defeat #1 Virginia and #19 Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl for its fourth National Championship.[22]

October 17, 1998: #25 Georgia Tech 41, #7 Virginia 38
In the second meeting between two highly ranked Georgia Tech and Virginia teams (the first being in 1990), Georgia Tech again came out victorious by the same score of 41-38 earning the Yellow Jackets a share of the ACC Championship. Virginia jumped to a big lead in this Georgia Tech homecoming game. Big plays by GT finally put them ahead late in the game, including a dramatic touchdown pass by Joe Hamilton to Dez White. Virginia missed a field goal in the final seconds prompting thousands of Georgia Tech fans to pour onto the field.[23]

November 27, 1999: #16 Georgia Tech 51, #21 Georgia 48 (OT)
In the highest scoring game ever in the series, Georgia overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half to tie the game and appeared to be within easy victory after driving all the way to Tech's 2-yard line with nine seconds left in regulation. Rather than kick a game winning field goal, Georgia coach Jim Donnan called a running play that was ruled a fumble by Jasper Sanks which Georgia Tech recovered in the endzone. Replays seemed to indicate that the runner was down when the ball came out. In overtime, after intercepting a Georgia pass in the endzone, Tech attempted a field goal on third down in its possession. The kick was blocked, but Tech holder George Godsey recovered the ball. Tech kicker Luke Manget's second chance at the kick was good. The Georgia Tech student section rushed the field and tore down the goal posts.[24]

November 1, 2008: Georgia Tech 31, #16 Florida State 28
Prior to the November 1st meeting between FSU and Georgia Tech, Bobby Bowden was undefeated against Georgia Tech. The last time Georgia Tech defeated Florida State in football was in 1975. During Paul Johnson's first year as Head Coach, Georgia Tech had a 6-2 record going into the game. Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden had never lost to Georgia Tech in 12 meetings. Georgia Tech fell behind by a touchdown twice in the first quarter, but pulled ahead in the 2nd quarter to finish the first half leading 24-20. A third-quarter touchdown put Tech up 31-20, but Florida State rallied, scoring a touchdown and converting on the two-point attempt to come within three points. On their final drive Florida State drove down to inside the five-yard line. Florida State running back Marcus Sims received the handoff and was headed for the endzone, but was met by Georgia Tech freshman, Cooper Taylor, son of former Tech QB Jim Bob Taylor. The football was knocked loose into the endzone and recovered by Tech freshman Rashaad Reid to secure the victory for the Jackets. Chaos ensued as fans swarmed the field after witnessing their team snap a 12-game losing streak to the Seminoles, Tech's longest to any modern team.[25]

October 17, 2009: #19 Georgia Tech 28, #4 Virginia Tech 23
Played before an emotionally charged crowd, this was the first time Georgia Tech defeated a top 5 team at home since beating No. 1 Alabama 7-6 in 1962. After the victory students rushed the field, tore down the goalpost at the north endzone, and carried it to Georgia Tech President George P. "Bud" Peterson's house. The victory launched the Jackets to #11 in the AP Poll. This was the pivotal game which helped Georgia Tech win the ACC Coastal Division title. Later, the Jackets beat Clemson in the 2009 ACC Championship Game and earned its first conference title since 1998 and its first Orange Bowl berth since 1967.[26] However this victory and the title were later vacated.[27][28]

October 29, 2011: Georgia Tech 31, #5 Clemson 17
Before a sellout crowd of 55,646, Georgia Tech rebounded from two consecutive losses to upset #5 Clemson. The Tigers, who were undefeated before the game, turned the ball over 4 times in the game and allowed Georgia Tech to rush for 383 yards. Tevin Washington led the Yellow Jackets by rushing for 176 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown, which was the most rushing yards ever by a Georgia Tech quarterback. The Yellow Jackets raced to a 24-3 halftime lead and held off Clemson which was 8-0 for the first time since 2000, when Georgia Tech defeated the then #4 Clemson Tigers. It was Tech's first win against a Top 5 team since defeating #4 Virginia Tech in 2009.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sohani, Alex (August 18, 2011). "Athletic Venues Embody Tech’s Winning Background". The Technique (Georgia Institute of Technology). Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ Sugiura, Ken (September 26, 2013). "Notes: Scheduling, Grant Field History and More". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ Funderburke, Dick. "Historic Grant Field". Hometown Atlanta. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ 1913 Georgia Tech football schedule
  6. ^ "Campus Map: Bobby Dodd Stadium". Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Bobby Dodd Stadium At Historic Grant Field: A Cornerstone of College Football for Nearly a Century". Georgia Tech Athletic Association. Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  8. ^ Edwards, Pat (October 15, 1999). "Students build first stands at Grant Field". The Technique (Georgia Institute of Technology). Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Tech Timeline: 1910s". Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  10. ^ Edwards, Pat (October 1, 1999). "Football Program, Traditions Spurred by Dodd". The Technique (Georgia Institute of Technology). Archived from the original on February 8, 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2007. 
  11. ^ Samon, Jon (February 6, 1998). "Let There Be Light at Bobby Dodd Stadium". The Technique (Georgia Institute of Technology). Retrieved May 18, 2007. 
  12. ^ Hartstein, Larry (April 18, 2009). "Jackets' Kicking Game Remains a Concern". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 8, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Georgia Tech Football". Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 1917 Season Schedule". Database Footbal. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  15. ^ "1917 College Football National Championship". Tip Top 25. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 1928 Season Schedule". Database Football. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  17. ^ Van Brimmer, Adam; Rice, Homer. 100 Things Yellow Jackets Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. Chicago: Triumph Books. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Georgia Tech to Honor Former Yellow Jackets Teams". WRDW (Augusta, GA). August 20, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ Van Brimmer, Adam (September 1, 2006). Stadium Stories: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Globe Pequot. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  20. ^ Sharnik, Morton; Creamer, Robert (November 26, 1962). "A Rough Day for the Bear". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Beat Notre Dame Without Throwing a Pass? Georgia Tech Did It in 1976". Georgia Tech Athletic Association. Associated Press. August 25, 2006. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  22. ^ George, Thomas (October 14, 1990). "Ga. Tech Outlasts Clemson". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  23. ^ "GT's Magnificent Seven". Georgia Tech Athletic Association. June 13, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  24. ^ Haynes, Seth (November 19, 2009). "Georgia Tech Football: Top 10 Games of the Last 10 Years". Bleacher Report. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Florida State Seminoles vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Recap". ESPN. Associated Press. November 1, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Recap". ESPN. October 17, 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  27. ^ "NCAA places Georgia Tech on probation". ESPN. Associated Press. July 14, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  28. ^ Sugiura, Ken (November 12, 2011). "Georgia Tech's Appeals Hearing Sunday". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Tevin Washington Runs for 176 Yards as Georgia Tech Knocks off Clemson". ESPN. Associated Press. October 29, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the
Peach Bowl

1968 – 1970
Succeeded by
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
Preceded by
Miami Orange Bowl
Host of the
Drum Corps International
World Championship

1984
Succeeded by
Camp Randall Stadium
Preceded by
Francis Field
Host of the College Cup
1968
Succeeded by
Spartan Stadium