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Burdell’s Bracket: Final Four

What do George Griffin, Marion Brittain, and Bobbys both Dodd and Jones have in common? They’re the best of the best.

Bobby Jones and the Original Grand Slam.
Georgia Tech Archives/Georgia Tech Photography Collection (

It’s time to let the people decide - we’re busting out the poll tool to run the second edition of From the Rumble Seat’s Burdell Brackets, this year featuring some of the greatest coaches, professors, presidents, and alumni Tech has ever produced. We’ll vote each week on Thursday mornings, so check back here next week for the last one - the Championship.

I am pleased with how this worked out. Unlike the Buildings, this isnt all number one seeds (though I’ll gladly admit drew more eyes and was a little more esoteric), so we have some pretty interesting matchups. But welcome back, here’s the draw for a refresher:

Updated bracket.
Jake Grant

America’s second favorite sports content of the week, behind The Match. I don’t love golf, nor do I love Tom Brady, but him silencing Charles Barkley by drilling that birdie was pretty great. Anyways, back to the topic at hand.

Final Four:

Fittingly Happen to Both Be Sports Guys:

No. 2 Bobby Dodd vs. No. 11 Bobby Jones

On a nice gameday, if one enters the Flats from Tech Square, in order to get to the game, one must walk down Techwood to Bobby Dodd Way and take a right in order to get into Bobby Dodd Stadium. It is no accident the man was doubly immortalized, seeing as his name is also on the award that goes to the football coach of the year, and he served extensively on the Flats to a school he wanted to come to as a young two-way football star, but rejected him because of his poor academics. Before he was Alexander’s successor, he was an assistant coach and coached baseball, and he would go on to be Tech’s athletic director, but his greatest accomplishment was the Golden Era of Tech Football, with a claimed national championship in 1952 joined by unclaimed awarded titles in 1951 and 1956, as well as many other years of great success, bowl wins, and growth. It was said Bobby Dodd would only leave Tech for Texas, but neither they or his alma mater of Tennessee ever pried him away. Ultimately, it’s probably principally his fault we’re no longer in the SEC, but he stuck to higher principles, and, for that, I respect him more.

In fact, go read the profile of the back half of his tenure I wrote for the history column earlier this week. Incredibly fittingly, in his retirement, he was described as an Atlanta insitution, “like Bobby Jones or Peachtree Street.”

Meanwhile, Jones was a lawyer by day after graduating from Tech as a mechanical engineer in 1922 and picking up degrees from Emory and Harvard, while moonlighting as the greatest amateur golfer of all time. He is famous for his innovations at Augusta National, where he helped found the course and the Masters, but even more notable for his “Grand Slam” in 1930, where he won the US Open, US Amateur, British Open, and the British Amateur, the four main golf tournaments of the day, all in the same year. Afterwards, he retired from golf, participating in his Masters’ tournament on an exhibition basis from its founding until 1948, when he retired due to health. A noted sportsman, he once quipped that “you might as well praise me for not robbing banks” when he was acclaimed for openly taking a questionable penalty - the USGA’s sportsmanship award is named in his honor. He died in 1971 and is one of the few on this list to be a member of both Georgia Tech’s athletic and engineering halls of fame, and, unsurprisingly, is also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.


No. 2 Bobby Dodd vs. No. 11 Bobby Jones

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Bobby Dodd
    (52 votes)
  • 28%
    Bobby Jones
    (21 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now

The Best Friend to All Tech Men Tech and the President Emeritus-turned-Preeminent Historian

No. 1 George Griffin vs. No. 1 Marion Brittain

The Best Friend to All Tech Men, “The Most Beloved Person in the History of Georgia Tech,” or one of his other many Tech-friendly nicknames would fit in well here, but, really, the man did it all. Whether it was carrying two touchdowns across the line in the Cumberland game, graduating in 1922 as an engineer after an 8 year slog from sub-freshman to senior interrupted by World War One, serving as a math professor, a football assistant coach, and tennis, track and cross country head coach, countless administrative positions, or, most famously, as the Dean of Men, Griffin did it all, and wrote it down for us to enjoy in his memoirs. For that, he is immortalized in statue form outside the Ferst Center in a plaza named in his honor, as well as the namesake of the track. Oh, and he also invented what is now known as the Freshman Cake Race.

A cursory glance at the map lends Marion Brittain a respect not given to any past faculty, staff, or administrator. Not one, but two places are named for Brittain: the beautiful collegiate gothic dining hall, and the path known as Brittain Drive, more colloquially known as Yellow Jacket Alley. He would find both fitting. Brittain helped expand campus to new and previously underserved students, like the women of the Evening School, growing the research at the Engineering Experiment Station, and standing up to the inequalities of the state government with resolve, despite countless setbacks like losing the Commerce School and the school’s independence when the Board of Trustees was merged into the state Board of Regents. It was Brittain who secured the Guggenheim grant that established the School of Aeronautics and he who established the ROTC. When it was all said and done, after a tenure of fighting legislature that began before he even dreamed of leading the Institute, he stepped down on his own terms. He still lived in the old President’s House on North Avenue and still walked to work every day to his desk in the same office. Brittain was the only man to ever officially hold the title President Emeritus. Instead of administrative duties, he toiled for a few years on his book, The Story of Georgia Tech, a labor of love. He would continue to be Tech’s biggest, most loyal football fan - fittingly, one of the founding fathers of what is now the Ramblin’ Reck, Club - and remains to this day Tech’s longest serving president.


No. 1 George Griffin vs. No. 1 Marion Brittain

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    George Griffin
    (43 votes)
  • 41%
    Marion Brittain
    (30 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now

Who ya got? It’ll be one no. 1 vs. one, well, not no. 1 to decide it all when we meet up again. We’ll see you next Thursday for the Championship.

Sidenote: Considering fun things like this for the future that are interactive/not reliant on live sports. Buildings NIT? People NIT? Traditions bracket (probably smaller)? Best 64 games? That one would be tough to do all the recaps. Not a bracket? I dunno what to do, let me know your thoughts below.