clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Burdell’s Bracket: Round of 32

New, 13 comments

I am baffled that Leonard Wood lost in the first round, but here we go again.

Van Leer in the middle left and Gov. Talmadge on the middle right, flanked by two other guys.
Georgia Tech Archives/Georgia Tech Photography Collection (http://history.library.gatech.edu/items/show/4110)

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 Sweet Sixteen.


Welcome back to the bracket challenge, here’s the draw for a refresher:

The Burdell Bracket through the Round of 32.
Jake Grant

Round of 32:

Coaches Region:

No. 1 John Heisman vs. No. 8 Bobby Cremins

First up, we have a man that needs no introduction versus a man who probably needs a fair bit of introduction. John Heisman, simply put, is probably the reason Georgia Tech athletics exist, at least at the level they do today. He may not be the clear-cut greatest coach of all time in his sport, but he has an argument at it, at least, and, thanks to the award in his namesake, probably the loudest legacy today. At Tech, he served as athletic director, as well as coach of the baseball, basketball, and football teams. He won conference titles in the former and latter, and was the coach of the 1916 222-0 Cumberland win and the 1917 national championship. His 1916 retroactive title is unclaimed by the school today.

As for the former, well, most of you probably already know the name Bobby Cremins. Whether you remember the glory days of his coaching career, which spanned two decades and included the famous 1990 Final Four run, the years of Lethal Weapon 3, or the 1992 “Holy Mackerel” game, or you’ve got newer memories of watching basketball games on the “Cremins Court,” Tech’s winningest basketball coach earned this spot with nine straight NCAA tournament appearances, his role as coach during all of Tech’s ACC titles, and his legacy of success on the Flats.

Poll

No. 1 John Heisman vs. No. 8 Bobby Cremins

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    John Heisman
    (54 votes)
  • 18%
    Bobby Cremins
    (12 votes)
66 votes total Vote Now

No. 4 William Alexander vs. No. 12 Paul Johnson

William Alexander is another man who probably doesn’t need an introduction. He started at Tech as a student and captain of the scrub team, graduated as a civil engineer and class valedictorian, and stayed on to be an instructor, before eventually finding his way to Heisman’s staff in several sports. He proved so indispensable that, despite his young age, he was named to be the Old Man’s successor, and would go on to not only lead the team to the 1928 national championship, but to be the first coach to ever lead a team to every major bowl - Rose, Cotton, Sugar, and Orange. His “Plan” in 1927 famously ruined the School in Athens’ national title hopes, and, despite getting offers to follow in the footsteps of Wallace Wade in Alabama, he never left his alma mater. As athletic director, he would also see the athletic department through some of its leanest years, costing the school its boxing and lacrosse programs, and, for a while, swimming and other non-revenue sports, but kept the doors open and founded the Reck Club.

As for Johnson, well, if Jim Morris is a salty skipper, then what on earth is dear old CPJ? He captained Tech to not only an ACC title, an Orange Bowl win, a Gator Bowl win, 3 Coastal 1st place finishes, 3 ranked finishes, and to the 4th most all-time football wins, but to an identity unique in the college football landscape. He was a Tech guy, through and through, and gave us some of the strongest lasting memories, whether it’s the Miracle on Techwood Drive, the Miracle on North Avenue, or the 2009 Virginia Tech game. Those indelible memories are hard to shake, and clearly they’re still around, since Johnson upset Bruce Heppler in one of the truly shocking first round upsets, given the latter’s massively successful tenure on the Flats. Either that, or people are nostalgic for the triple option. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Poll

No. 4 William Alexander vs. No. 12 Paul Johnson

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    William Alexander
    (50 votes)
  • 24%
    Paul Johnson
    (16 votes)
66 votes total Vote Now

No. 3 Bryan Shelton vs. No. 6 Bobby Ross

Bryan Shelton is the only Georgia Tech coach to ever win an NCAA-recognized national championship. The Tech tennis legend came back to his alma mater and built the strong program that remains today from a team that had never qualified for the postseason before he was hired. His success, taking the 2007 NCAA title along with the 2007 and 2008 ITA indoor titles, represents the highest of highs in the sport.

Like many of the top seeds in this region, Bobby Ross probably requires no introduction for the fair reader of this blog. For those that don’t know, Ross was the coach of Tech’s most recent football national championship team in 1990, a year that, unsurprisingly, also saw a conference title and a bowl win (Citrus, over Nebraska). That team came from pretty much nowhere, just two seasons removed from being the dregs of the conference, and took a lot of skill and a little luck to go the whole season without a loss, something no other title claimant from the year can make. The next year, Tech would finish second in the ACC behind a newcomer/juggernaut, the Bobby Bowden-led Florida State Seminoles, and, despite an 8-5 record and Aloha Bowl win, Ross would depart for the NFL after just five years at Tech.

Poll

No. 3 Bryan Shelton vs. No. 6 Bobby Ross

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Bryan Shelton
    (13 votes)
  • 79%
    Bobby Ross
    (50 votes)
63 votes total Vote Now

No. 2 Bobby Dodd vs. No. 7 Danny Hall

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.

To talk Hall is to talk of a man who spans several Tech eras. There’s typically only two or three we think about, usually dividing our eras between football coaches, for the sportier-leaning Tech folk, or by president, for a decent bit of alumni, or, if you’re getting esoteric, basketball coach or athletic director. He, by those definitions, is a man of patchworks, between names like O’Leary, Gailey, Johnson, and Collins; Cremins, Hewitt, Gregory, and Pastner; Clough, Peterson, and Cabrera; or Rice, Radakovich, Bobinski, and Stansbury. Hall defies this logic - his three CWS appearances, coming within one team of the title in his very first year, status as Tech’s winningest coach in any sport (including years when Heisman, Dodd, or Alexander coached some combination of baseball, basketball, and football all at once), longest tenured Tech coach at a school with a history of loyal, long-serving coaches, and five ACC titles - exemplify a man that has been the very definition of stability. Georgia Tech baseball has missed the postseason five times in the last 27 years, suffering one losing season, and Hall has been named ACC Coach of the Year four times.

Poll

No. 2 Bobby Dodd vs. No. 7 Danny Hall

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Bobby Dodd
    (58 votes)
  • 9%
    Danny Hall
    (6 votes)
64 votes total Vote Now

Faculty and Staff Region:

No. 1 George Griffin vs. No. 9 Cherry Emerson, Sr.

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 Two, 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.

As for Emerson, he would go on to become the first notable chemist named Cherry Logan Emerson, despite being the second notable chemist in the family. He earned his degrees from Tech in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering while chartering ANAK, being highly involved in ATO, and serving as the Editor in Chief of the Blueprint, but was most famous for being a Tech administrator, first as Dean of Engineering, then as the Vice President in charge of expansion, where, under his leadership, the campus doubled in size. He is immortalized in a building named in his honor just up the Ferst Drive hill overlooking Russ Chandler Stadium.

Poll

No. 1 George Griffin vs. No. 9 Cherry Emerson, Sr.

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    George Griffin
    (54 votes)
  • 12%
    Cherry Emerson, Sr.
    (8 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now

No. 5 D. M. Smith vs. No. 13 Frank Roman

David Melville Smith was a mathematics professor best known for his teaching style and winning personality. He spent forty years as an instructor at Tech, retiring in 1954, and spent 14 of those years as the department head of mathematics and helped charter the Mathematical Association of America. He was described as,

“‘A friendly, inspiring curmudgeon who could scare the hell out of you, teach you, advise you, and follow your future after graduation...unfailingly interested and supportive.’ His memorable teaching style and devotion to his students earned him the title of “legend” among alumni...He was often seen driving around the Georgia Tech campus in a 1930s black coupé automobile similar to the Ramblin’ Wreck.”

Upon his death, the Carnegie Physics Building would be renamed in his honor.

Roman’s legacy is obvious. John Wayne knew it, even if he had never heard of Roman. Nikita Khrushchev knew it, even he hadn’t either. Though both fight songs had come into use before Roman’s time on the Flats, he created the modern arrangement for both, as well as writing the Alma Mater in his 16 year stint as director of bands.

Poll

No. 5 D. M. Smith vs. No. 13 Frank Roman

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    D. M. Smith
    (31 votes)
  • 47%
    Frank Roman
    (28 votes)
59 votes total Vote Now

No. 3 James Boyd vs. No. 6 John Saylor Coon

Without Boyd, there would have been no nuclear reactor at Tech. Though Knight contributed to the founding of the EES, it was Boyd who took it to the next level. He joined Tech as a physics professor in 1935, where we worked until the disruptions of World War II. After the war, he picked up a position in the EES, working his way up the ladder of the latter, and helping found Scientific Atlanta along the way. As director of the EES, he was a powerful man and a visionary, publishing works about Tech and the future of institutional research, as well as promoting new areas of study like electronics. After being hired away to be the president of West Georgia, where he spent most of the 1960s, he was promoted to vice chancellor of the University System before being tapped to be interim president of Tech, thanks to his years of experience at the EES in light of the brewing controversy about the future of that in relation to the rest of the school. Not only that, but he faced controversy with Bud Carson’s success as football coach, or lack of it. Soon after Joseph Petitt was hired to replace him, he retired after nearly forty years in the system.

This guy was the first one, as in, the first professor of mechanical engineering and drawing, Tech’s first major, as well as being the first head of the department. He spent 35 years as a Tech educator and was known for being a very difficult professor. As superintendent of the shop program, he ended the expectation that students use the school shops to make and sell goods to raise money, moving the school closer towards a traditional collegiate engineering degree. He promoted quantification and pushed the degree program with classes broadening the scope of learning with ethics, design, and analysis. Like Smith, he was a pioneer in his field, helping found the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His lasting legacy would define mechanical engineering curriculum across the country, fusing his shops and classrooms into unified programs, with the shops essentially becoming labs for the classes in the New Shop Building, named in his honor after his retirement in 1923. Though it no longer houses engineering classes, it is the oldest building on campus still used for academics, and was the largest by floor area at the time of its completion. Though Mason would be seen as promoting “shop culture” in the 1960s, its true form died in the turn of the 20th century with Coon, as he helped evolve it to where it stood in Mason’s time, when it needed to evolve again. Watching the results of this was an interesting straw poll on the founding father of Tech ME versus the founding father of Tech AE.

Poll

No. 3 James Boyd vs. No. 6 John Saylor Coon

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    James Boyd
    (24 votes)
  • 58%
    John Saylor Coon
    (34 votes)
58 votes total Vote Now

No. 2 James Dull vs. No. 10 Homer Rice

Dull arrived at Tech in 1958 to be the Associate Dean of Students. Along the way he was promoted to Assistant Dean of Students. By the time Griffin was ready to retire, it was Dull who was pegged to be next in line to be Dean of Students at Georgia Tech. How does one get deemed as worthy to follow one of the most well-respected and loved men in the school’s history? See, he had proven his worth on a pair of critical decisions early in his tenure that leave a lasting legacy today. The first is his critical role in the integration of Georgia Tech and the second is his quick thinking to buy a car he saw on the side of the road outside the stadium when he lived in the Towers Dorm. Tech, consequently, would be the first school in the South to integrate peacefully, as well as be represented to this day by the Ford 1930 Model A Sport Coupe he bought off of Delta pilot Ted Johnson. Of course, his involvement with the cheerleading and spirit program, Ramblin’ Reck Club, and FASET are worth mentioning, too.

Rice, meanwhile, was the athletic director’s athletic director. In fact, the best one of the year gets an award named after him. Not only that, but, in terms of general success, he oversaw Tech athletics’ Golden Era, with unmatched heights in basketball, a national championship in football, a baseball College World Series appearance, and sustained success in golf and tennis, and two of his facilities hosted Olympic events. Most importantly, and longest lasting, has been Rice’s views on leadership and his Total Person Program, exemplifying what Dodd meant when he and Edwin Harrison pulled us out of the SEC - Tech, and the college experience, is about more than wins and losses, it’s about the journey, education, and growth along the way, too.

Poll

No. 2 James Dull vs. No. 10 Homer Rice

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    James Dull
    (27 votes)
  • 53%
    Homer Rice
    (31 votes)
58 votes total Vote Now

Alumni and Students Region:

No. 1 George P. Burdell vs. No. 8 John Young

Really, what is there that George hasn’t done? He’s earned every Tech degree, flown twelve missions over Germany during World War II, served on the MAD board, and very nearly became TIME’s Man of the Year until he was unfairly disqualified for not actually existing. He took 3,000 credit hours in the fall quarter of 1969, every class offered at the time, despite the school’s move to computer registration being seen as a way to finally get the guy to graduate. He earned varsity letters in football and basketball thirty years apart (for the late 1920s National Champion football team and opened the Alexander Memorial Coliseum with the 1956 basketball team) as well as being the captain of the definitely-existed 1988 edition of the swim team.

Young died recently in the winter of 2018, but was best known for his time as an astronaut. He graduated from Tech in 1952 with a BS AE before joining the Navy and serving in the Korean War. After the war, he made the jump from air to space, where he became a part of the first crewed Gemini mission in 1965. Later, in 1969, he was the first man to fly solo around the moon and is one of only three people to have been to the moon twice. In the Space Shuttle age, he flew two missions on the Columbia before becoming the Chief of the Astronaut Office. After 42 years in NASA, he retired with the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal, among others. A poll between a man who built the world and one who charted the stars gave us another interesting result.

Poll

No. 1 George P. Burdell vs. No. 8 John Young

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    George P. Burdell
    (39 votes)
  • 53%
    John Young
    (44 votes)
83 votes total Vote Now

No. 5 Ivan Allen vs. No. 13 Calvin Johnson

Before Allen was mayor, he was a prominent local businessman. In 1961, the year he became president of the Chamber of Commerce, he published a noteworthy white paper detailing his vision for the city of Atlanta with respect to infrastructure, the economy, higher education, and culture that the city we know today would eventually be built on. Allen was a staunch anti-segregationist, integrating City Hall on day one of his mayoralty, and sped ahead with actual progress in the city Hartsfield merely described as too busy to hate. Actions speak louder than words, but Allen was gifted as an orator, too, becoming the only prominent white southern politician to speak in support of the Civil Rights Act. Atlanta integrated without the violence common in other cities.

Did I forget the profile Calvin Johnson last week? Oops. Clearly it didn’t hold him back, considering he won. Since it went 6,000 words, I guess I missed that I hadn’t added it in. Well, here we go: there’s only one Megatron. We can talk about his many NFL accolades, including his status as a Pro Bowler in 6 of his 9 professional seasons, his four All-Pro selections, his record for receiving yards in a season, his 100-yard game records, and his reception records, but being one of the greatest to ever do it after college doesn’t even reflect what he did while he was here. The Newnan native is Tech’s highest-rated recruit ever, winner of the Biletnikoff Award that goes to the best college receiver, was the ACC Player of the Year, a two-time first team All-American, all-conference in each of his three seasons, and ACC Rookie of the Year, as well. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018. These are all great things - deemed greater than being a decorated doctor-turned-veteran who ran not just Cuba, but the Philippines, too, but that’s why we vote, I suppose, for the upsets - but Johnson is a man of high character as well. And, in that, he represents his alma mater well.

Poll

No. 5 Ivan Allen vs. No. 13 Calvin Johnson

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Ivan Allen
    (23 votes)
  • 62%
    Calvin Johnson
    (38 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now

No. 11 Bobby Jones vs. No. 14 George Woodruff

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.

Woodruff, meanwhile, was a mechanical engineer at Georgia Tech before World War I. After the war, he became a director of the Coca Cola Company and Continental Gin Company for nearly five decades, wherein he and his brother, also a prominent leader of the Coca Cola Company and Tech dropout, became some of Atlanta’s most legendary philanthropists. Though Tech was not the beneficiary of what was then the largest-ever single gift to a school, $105 million to Emory to promote health sciences, though that was primarily led by his brother, he did funnel plenty of money back to Tech, specifically to the mechanical engineering school, named in his honor at Tech’s centenary. Additionally, a large dormitory is named for him, and he left $37.5 million to Tech in his will. Quietly, he was Atlanta’s great businessmen, though he is more prominently remembered for his obscene wealth-turned-philanthropy.

Poll

No. 11 Bobby Jones vs. No. 14 George Woodruff

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Bobby Jones
    (49 votes)
  • 16%
    George Woodruff
    (10 votes)
59 votes total Vote Now

No. 2 Jimmy Carter vs. No. 10 Sam Nunn

Carter, well, he did plenty as a Navy man after leaving Tech during World War II to go to the Academy. After serving, he returned to Plains, Georgia to be a peanut farmer before working his way from Georgia State Senator to Governor of Georgia to President of the United States. He was noted in his early career as someone who fought for equality and integration, and would famously feud with his own lieutenant governor-slash-predecessor-as-governor Lester Maddox, noted archsegregationist and proprietor of the Pickrick Restaurant on what is now Tech’s campus, over these issues. Running as a dark horse for president, he beat incumbent Gerald Ford, another man with civil rights-related ties to Tech. In his time in office, he addressed issues from Vietnam War draft dodgers, nuclear armament, the Panama Canal Zone, and created the Departments of Energy and Education. His tenure was hurt by the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Energy Crisis, and the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, and using the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympic boycott as a political stunt did him few public favors. For more on his support of building more Atlanta expressways, click here for yesterday’s Rearview. Ultimately, he graded out as an average president, but his post-presidential work has been exemplary and been the core of his legacy. Carter is the longest-lived president and the longest-retired president.

Nunn was famous for being a politician, rising through the state Democratic party apparatus and eventually serving several terms in the Senate. I’ll let this quote from Republican Senator John Warner speak for itself:

“Senator Nunn quickly established himself as one of the leading experts in the Congress and, indeed, all of the United States on national security and foreign policy. He gained a reputation in our country and, indeed, worldwide as a global thinker, and that is where I think he will make his greatest contribution in the years to come, wherever he may be, in terms of being a global thinker. His approach to national security issues has been guided by one fundamental criteria: What Sam Nunn believes is in the best interest of the United States of America.”

Fittingly, Georgia Tech’s School of International Affairs is named in his honor.

Poll

No. 2 Jimmy Carter vs. No. 10 Sam Nunn

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Jimmy Carter
    (40 votes)
  • 31%
    Sam Nunn
    (18 votes)
58 votes total Vote Now

Presidents and Leaders Region:

No. 1 Marion Brittain vs. No. 9 G. Wayne Clough

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.

It’s funny that people most strongly associate President Clough with the Olympics, since they were well into preparation stages by the time he assumed the role. His tenure saw Tech’s first big push of undergraduates in research and increased the opportunities for engineers to study abroad. He built extensively on his predecessor’s legacy, including splitting the College of Management from the Ivan Allen College, a step that would have been difficult without past reorganizations, but was the final step to balancing the system that still functions well today. The first phase of the eventual Campus Recreation Center was the McAuley Aquatic Center, built for the Olympic games, which Clough oversaw the renovation into the current gorgeous space, as well as the completion of its companion next door, the Stamps Health Center. Klaus Advanced Computing, Marcus Nanotechnology, and the BioTech Quad all came online in his administration, as well. He was generally well-liked and receptive to the rest of the city, most notably seen in the advent of the Tech Square project. Today, that toehold on the east side of the Downtown Connector, rooted at the Fifth Street Bridge and the intersection of Fifth and Spring, is often regarded as the catalyst for the sweeping revitalization of Midtown Atlanta. His legacy on athletics is commonly regarded as mixed at best, but, as far as seeing development through for the rest of campus, Clough is one of Tech’s best builders.

Poll

No. 1 Marion Brittain vs. No. 9 G. Wayne Clough

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Marion Brittain
    (33 votes)
  • 42%
    G. Wayne Clough
    (24 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

No. 4 John Hanson vs. No. 5 Isaac Hopkins

John Hanson, probably more than any other man, is why Tech exists. He was a self-made industrialist who fought the long fight, never actually serving Tech as president or anything like that, but it was his idea for the state to bring about technical education, and then he championed it with his connections in state politics, his position as the editor of the Macon Telegraph as a counterweight to Henry Grady’s Atlanta Constitution, and his status as a prominent textile manufacturer and railroad executive. He was a prominent backer of Nathaniel Harris in his political aspirations to get Tech to happen, ultimately succeeding after six years of pushing. He died in 1910 and was honored in 1961 with the naming of Hanson Hall, a dormitory, in his honor.

Georgia Tech’s first president was chosen before the school even opened its doors. Hopkins was chosen for this position for one reason in particular, that being his expertise in the field of technical education. There was hardly any bureaucracy for Hopkins to preside over, but that doesn’t mean his job was a simple task. Even once the immense legwork of getting the doors open was completed and Tech had secured land, funding, and staff, the Old Shop Building almost immediately burned down. This isn’t even to mention the whole “there were no dorms, non-academic space, or dining halls” thing. Though he was a strict, rule-oriented leader, he was also a tireless servant of the Institute. He retired after about nine years and dedicated the rest of his life to preaching in the Methodist church.

Poll

No. 4 John Hanson vs. No. 5 Isaac Hopkins

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    John Hanson
    (40 votes)
  • 27%
    Isaac Hopkins
    (15 votes)
55 votes total Vote Now

No. 3 Blake Van Leer vs. No. 6 Edwin Harrison

The first engineer to ascend to the highest post at Georgia Tech, Col. Van Leer came to Tech by way of North Carolina State. He would be the last Tech president born in the 19th century, but he was one of Tech’s most progressive presidents, the one to see Tech admit women and the most prominent voice in Tech’s fight to play in the 1956 Sugar Bowl, despite his failing rapidly failing health, and the now eight decade old tug-of-war against the state government that would stop at nothing to throw roadblocks in his way. Much like the passing of Brittain three years prior, the entire campus ground to a halt following his sudden passing of a heart attack in January of 1956. Though the role he played in establishing Georgia Tech and its home city as the first research powerhouse in the region as well as laying the groundwork for swallowing half of Home Park west of Hemphill to turn into West Campus should not be ignored, his steadfast pursuit of opening the Georgia Tech education to any and all who seek it, first with co-education, and stirring the waters that would lead to integration, remain his most significant contributions to Tech as we know it.

The man who guided Tech to becoming the first school in the South to be peacefully integrated was likely not the first candidate for the Tech job. It was not an appealing position then, with whoever succeeding Van Leer having integration immediately becoming their primary concern as president. Throw in faculty unrest over salaries and a looming need for hard-to-fund physical growth, and Harrison was walking into a veritable minefield. When yet another racist state law demanded the barring of funds to “any white institution that admitted a black student,” the student body gathered in the Heisman Gym to overwhelmingly vote to integrate. Harrison’s administrative reorganization would begin to eat away at him, with players like James Boyd, director of the Engineering Experiment Station, and others vying for influence, and his unwillingness to kowtow to the Board of Regents eventually led to him retiring under the guise of a decade being long enough for anyone to lead a school. To mark his retirement, the “Magnificent Seven” stole _ech _ower’s east-facing neon T for the first time, presenting it to him as a gift at his retirement ceremony via helicopter. It was what every good Tech man deserves, they said.

Poll

No. 3 Blake Van Leer vs. No. 6 Edwin Harrison

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Blake Van Leer
    (39 votes)
  • 29%
    Edwin Harrison
    (16 votes)
55 votes total Vote Now

No. 2 Lyman Hall vs. No. 7 John Patrick Crecine

While Pettit, Van Leer, and Hall all died on the job, only one worked himself to death. For all his work fundraising for a school that was criminally neglected by the state legislature, he was able to expand the curriculum offerings by laying the groundwork for programs like textile, civil, chemical, and electrical engineering. Though he was not a sports or recreation fan, his hiring of John Heisman to coach football and his empowerment of J.B. Crenshaw to run the rest of the athletic department was inspired. It is because of that the public tribute to Hall on campus is a small, out of the way chemistry lab-turned-office building that is quite literally overshadowed by its much more famous neighbor, Bobby Dodd Stadium. Growth was the name for Hall, be it through programs, offerings, having dormitories on campus - he thought they would reduce disciplinary infractions, or enrollment. He was the school’s first and only mathematics professor when he was hired, and eventually worked his way up to be its president. He was a hardliner, but a humble man who cared deeply about Tech.

Crecine was most notable for a second great shakeup in the Georgia Tech organizational structure, seeing the advent of three new colleges, the first College of Computing in America, the Ivan Allen College of Management, Policy, and International Affairs, and the College of Sciences. The Ivan Allen College has since spawned the Scheller College of Business, but the fracturing of General Studies reflected the rise of Tech as an excellent institution across the board. In his time, the achievements of minorities and women lapped those of peer schools, athletics saw a level of comprehensive success never before seen on the Flats, and, among other construction, Tech more than doubled its housing, thanks in no small part to being selected as the Olympic Village for the 1996 Olympic Games. It was largely thanks to Crecine that Atlanta won the bid, thanks to Tech’s help with its cutting edge computing simulation of the potential of the Atlanta games. Though his successor is famous for having been president during the Olympics, Crecine secured them. Though his successor is famous for increased educational offerings, Crecine set up the structure necessary to start them. Though his successor is famous for pushing undergraduate research and international education, Crecine opened doors both in research fields, and quite literally opening the doors of a new campus in Metz. His top-down leadership style both garnered Tech the Olympics, hosting boxing, water polo, swimming, synchro, and diving, as well as the athletes’ village, but also drove wedges into his administration, like the controversy stirred up by his reorganization plan. In hindsight, his sweeping changes are considered inspired, and set Tech up as a model research institution into the next millennium.

Poll

No. 2 Lyman Hall vs. No. 7 John Patrick Crecine

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Lyman Hall
    (41 votes)
  • 26%
    John Patrick Crecine
    (15 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now

Who ya got? At the rate of nine upsets of the original 32 matchup pairings, we are tentatively looking at another four or five big ones this time around, so that ought to be interesting. We’ll see you next Thursday for the Sweet Sixteen.