It was fifty years ago today

… that Coach Dodd took his football and went home.

Friday marked the 50th anniversary of a day in Georgia Tech athletic annals that isn’t celebrated and only vaguely remembered. On Jan. 24, 1964, the Institute announced its intent to leave the Southeastern Conference. It’s a move that seems unthinkable today, when the SEC stands as the colossus of college football, and even then it was hard to fathom.

It sure isn’t hard to fathom how it turned the Georgia-Georgia Tech series, though.

If your inner Nick Saban doesn’t have time to tally, here’s all you need to know:

  • 1897-1963:  Georgia 26 – Tech 27 – Tie 5
  • 1964-2013:  Georgia 38 – Tech 12 – Tie 0


Filed under Georgia Tech Football

37 responses to “It was fifty years ago today

  1. Lorenzo Dawgriguez

    I hate to kick a Corch when he is down, but Donnan sure messed up our Tech statistics. Two of those losses should have been vacated due to Tek cheating with ineligible ringers.

  2. Ol Dawg

    I was around when Tech decided to leave the SEC. It wasn’t such a big shock at the time, as I remember it. Tech really did believe it was at a huge recruiting disadvantage because of its high academic standards, and thought the ACC would be a better fit. Plus, while the SEC was the better football conference, the gap wasn’t nearly what it is today. A lot of the press focus then was on speculation about how long it would take Tech to raise its basketball program to ACC standards.

    • Tech didn’t change conferences. It went independent. It jumped to the ACC after it became untenable to stay independent.

      • Ol Dawg

        Ow. You’re right. Sorry, like I said, it’d been a long time. I completely forgot that part. Duh.

      • Vindex

        Yep….”the Notre Dame of the South”! Or so some said at the time . Oddly enough, this date was 9 months before the Domers emerged from one of their bad eras and began their time under Ara Parseghian which was one of their program’s better patches.

      • Bob Sackamano

        What was the driver for them leaving? Was it academics?

        • If you read the linked article, one school of thought says it was because Dodd objected to the SEC’s scholarship rules. I’ve seen others allude to academics. And others who say Tech didn’t want to share its bowl revenue with other SEC schools.

          • gastr1

            Of course, Bear Bryant’s massive oversigning tactics were well-known. I can see how that would aggravate other schools.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Well, there was also that ugly incident where a Bama player literally mugged a Tech player essentially ending the Techster’s career. Dodd was supposedly really pissed off about that.

  3. Go Dawgs!

    Man. 38-12 in 50 years. I knew that we’d dominated the series since around the time of Dooley, but holy cow. That’s impressive.

  4. Spike

    Ahhh… We will always have the 1978 game.

  5. DawgPhan

    Talk about slamming your dick in the car door. WTG Nerds.

  6. Brandon

    It is hilarious that Tech is basically the football equivalent of the guy who dumped Christie Brinkley in the sixth grade. Talk about your all time backfires. SEC! SEC! SEC!

    • Macallanlover

      Very nice Brandon, that comparison illustrates how bright that move makes Dodd look. For all he is credited with in GT lore, that bonehead move signaled the end of Tech’s relevancy as a football program. It wasn’t long after that they had to resort to billboards and gimmicks to promote ticket sales. They cannot recover even with a tripling of Atlanta’s population. Just a bunch of sad fans making bitter comments in newspapers, on computers, and on radio shows. Their legacy guy through them in the dumpster and they have smelled ever since.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Mac, sometimes you really get down to the meat of the matter…well said.

        • Macallanlover

          Love not having edit ability when you see the aftermath of late night, quick posts. “threw” the damned program, can’t even blame auto correct for that one.

          But the point is Scorp, how can GT fans ignore a mistake of this magnitude for 50 years? I willingly concede that he seemed to be a man of principles, and was a coach that had great success, but this was a huge mistake that over shadows his W/L record. The GT fans give him a total pass on this initiative yet with this one act, led by him, the program was poisoned and has not recovered since. I don’t think I would name my field after the guy who was primarily responsible for my downfall. I don’t know where they would be had they stayed in the SEC, but I doubt they would have put up a white flag by having Fish Fry as their leader because they cannot compete straight up. Even Vandy, KY, and MSU haven’t sunk to that.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Mac, I remember my dad talking about Tech leaving the SEC. He and his friends (some Tech people) thought that what would doom Tech, ultimately, was their inability to compete financially with, for instance, Georgia.

            Just the simple numbers seem to indicate that…

            Dodd’s complaining about the scholarship limits was a financially driven argument…Tech did not/does not have the financial resources to compete on the same level as any SEC team…even Vandy.

            Yes, there are some wealthy Tech grads…but you can count them on two hands.
            Tech graduates each year what?…15% of the number of kids the big state schools in the SEC graduate?

            So ultimately, Tech thought they could make more money, first as an independent…did not work…then the ACC.

            By this time the folks at Tech knew they had screwed up badly.

            What really makes leaving the SEC appear to be short-sighted now is, of course, the huge TV revenue the teams are getting for just showing up.

            If Tech had stayed in, TV money would enable them to remain competitive.

            Too fucking bad, so fucking sad.

            • Macallanlover

              I felt at the time, and still do today, that it was more about the split of bowl revenues, and having the mistaken vision that they would have ND success with total control over scheduling. Cannot fault him for not envisioning the TV monies we enjoy today because teams were limited in the number of times they could appear in those days. The biggest error was not reading the significance of conference competition and regional rivalries. Tech was a factor in southeastern football those days and didn’t have to hide behind the excuse of recruiting disadvantages. Leaving the SEC certainly has worked against them in many ways, but it also has given UGA a huge edge in recruiting; at that time they were able to attract many of Georgia’s top HS players. Who knows how that would have played out over the past 50 years? Very conceivable that we would be equals in football, just another reason that causes me to be mystified by the adoration of their fans for a guy who gave them a crippling dose of poison. I would have that negative thought every time I heard the mention of Bobby Dodd.

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                And yet they barely mention Bobby Ross…oh, wait, that team was mostly kids who went to Dekalb Junior College…guess Tech prefers not to remember.

                One of the things Dad said as he was beginning the long goodbye was that he outlived Bobby Dodd, he had a good long laugh about that.

  7. JRW7

    I thought it had to do with the number of scholarships and Bear Bryant somehow?

  8. Mudcats Impala...

    50 years prior to secession…

    GT overall…321 – 153 – 24…..64.5%

    vs…UGA 25 – GT 21 – Tie 4…..UGA 50%…

    Five 10 win seasons… Five SEC Championships…3MNC’s

    50 years since secession from SEC…

    GT overall…313 – 255 – 9…..54.2%

    vs…UGA 38 – GT 12 – Tie 0…..UGA 76%…

    Three 10 win seasons… one ACC Championship (1 other vacated due to cheating)…1/2 of split MNC…

  9. Comin' Down The Track

    Definitely Patient Zero for bad decisions on The Flats.

  10. Bulldog Joe

    If the scholarship limit was 140 today, what would Georgia do?

  11. By Georgia We Did It

    ’64 was a good year….we hire Dooley and the Nerds left the SEC.

  12. uglydawg

    Don’t know the ins and outs of it all, but Coach Dodd was a fine coach, man and gentleman. There was some really bad blood between him and Bryant but that is a story for another thread, I suppose.
    Tech’s leaving the SEC left the door open for South Carolina to join the conference. The conference was built on geograpical considerations more than today…bus distance being a limiting factor.
    After WW2 a lot of guys went to GT just because it was the neighborhood college in what was a pretty small City of Atlanta. They were classy southern gentlemen that supported the school and it’s football program. Alas, they are almost gone now…That old School just isn’t the way it was when it was in the SEC. Quitting the conference and then losing Bobby Dodd combined with a less than enchanting campus setting have put the whammy on GT…

    • Reipar

      Tech’s leaving left the door open for USC? Wow considering tech left 64 and USC started 90 that is one hell of a 26 year door!!

      • uglydawg

        True enough Reipar. Nevertheless that’s it. I wonder why it took so long for another school to apply or was it that the conference didn’t want to expand.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Ug’s right about the Tech old guard. Those post WW2 guys (1946-1966) bear no resemblance whatsoever to the Tech Nerds of today.

  13. rampdawg

    Sgt. Bobby says he will not stay. He decided then to make the call. No more SEC football. So let me intoduce to you. Ga. Techs last fifty years. They’re still sucking even to this DAY YAY.

  14. Scorpio Jones, III

    Seems like the hate-fest with Bear was real…or publicly real, at any rate, but there were other factors, all named….sharing bowl revenue for instance, and I remember some conversation about Dodd refusing to play Mississippi State home and home. To many folks Dodd was a figure of national importance, to the Bulldawg Nation he was a hill billy who talked funny and could not win a tough fight.

    Today, Dodd’s approach to the game is almost inter-mural compared to the way things are done.

  15. Just Chuck (the other one)

    Shame that Furman Bisher is no longer living. He always had good ability to spin things in Tech’s favor. He’d have trouble with this.