Saturday Magic At Grant Field

R Bobby Dodd obert Lee "Bobby" Dodd guided Tech football to national prominence. He was Tech's winningest coach during 22 seasons and its athletics director for 2 6 years from 1950 to 1976.

Dodd coached Tech to its most illustrious gridiron history during 1945-66, winning 165 games, losing 64 and tying eight for a 71.3 winning percentage. His success includes a 31-game winaing streak in 1951-53. The Yellow jackets compiled a perfect 120 season in 1952 and were named national champions by the International News Service.

Dodd won 13 post-season bowl games, including six straight major bowl victories: 1952 Orange (17-14 over Baylor), 1953 Sugar (24-7 over Mississippi), 1954 Sugar (42-19 over West Virginia), 1955 Cotton (14-6 over Arkansas), 1956 Sugar (7-0 over Pittsburgh) and 1956 Gator (21-over Pittsburgh).

Jacket Fans

By Furman Bisher

T o understand the electricity of a Saturday afternoon of football at Grant Field when Bobby Dodd coached, you would have had to be there. The times were so different, not necessarily "good ole days," but they were good times because they were the best we had. Atlanta was still a surrey town. Tech was its one major- league franchise. Football held the stage in autumn. To hold a ticket to watch the Yellow Jackets play was better than holding an inside straight. The West Stand was high society. Tickets to the Masters were easier to come by. Visiting coaches quivered ... They were limited to a handful of meek voices cheering their team, and there sat that casual man in a folding chair at a card table, rarely ever standing or showing vigorous interest in the game, and those thousands worshipping him like a Buddha.

That was Dodd's style. He took his seat and left the pacing to his lieutenants.... When a crisis arose, out from under that hat came the plays to be run and the designated players to run them.

Dodd sometimes made the strangest substitutions, as on a Saturday in Athens when Georgia Tech was about to be upset. He sent in a stubby little halfback who had been ardently recruited and so often injured his career was mostly spent in splints. He broke to the right faking a run, stopped, flung a pass for a touchdown and returned to the bench. Thus Chappell Rhino became known as "One-Play."

Grant Field had its magic. John Heisman had coached there. Bill Alexander had coached there. What Dodd brought to the old place was a kind of unbruising football other coaches couldn't understand: runty halfbacks; lightweight linemen; rarely, if ever, a classic quarterback....

At first, Dodd didn't care for platoon football. He was afraid it would bankrupt athletics departments.... Once free substitution came in, no one made capital of it more than Dodd. He could adjust.

Grant Field was Bobby Dodd's domain. That was his stage. There he was regal. He was the man in command.

Bobby Dodd, Bobby Jones and Coca-Cola--they were Atlanta in those days. An afternoon on The Flats was excitement in White and Gold. He felt lucky and transmitted it to the atmosphere. Atlanta hasn't felt that lucky since.

Dodd came to Tech in 1930 as an assistant coach, and he is still there, head coach in 1945, athletics director, and a fixture in alumni relations to this day. I don't believe in all the history of college football any other coach has come and stayed 58 years on the same campus," said Homer Rice, former athletics director.

Many a time he could have left for richer connections, but it seemed that Dodd and Georgia Tech belonged together.

Now it is done, it is official and they are forevermore-Georgia Tech and Bobby Dodd Stadium, on the place he made magic on Saturday afternoon.

Furman Bisher is a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.