Today, no Tech basketball game is complete without Tech’s very own dance team, the Gold Rush. But, back in 1981 this was not the case.
In the Spring of 1981, a group of about five female students got together and decided to form the first Tech dance team, then called the Reckettes.
According to Leslie Martin, co-founder of the Reckettes and current Accounting Manager for GTRI, most of the girls had danced in high school and were looking a way to “have fun and build a sense of school spirit.”
The Reckettes, which was composed of about 20 students, began their first season performing at Tech’s basketball games, but the next year they expanded to both football and basketball.
“Our biggest performance was probably at the University of Tennessee game, just because there were so many people. But of course, our first performance was nerve-wracking,” Martin said.
Like any athletic organization, the Reckettes practiced regularly to keep up with their dance routines. According to Martin, the most challenging aspect of the Reckettes was balancing performing with a Tech workload.
Compared to today’s Gold Rush team, the Reckettes were different in more than just their name. The Reckettes had a different style of dance from the Gold Rush. According to Martin, it was more like the Rockettes’ classic kickline and involved a lot of contagions, where a dance move is passed from one performer to another in a kind of ripple effect. Also, unlike today, most of the Reckettes had no formal dance training.
The uniform was also very different from today’s uniforms. The first Reckette uniform was “old fashioned” and composed of a dark knee length skirt and a shirt with a large bow at the color. They did, though, have a brighter uniform that was used at football games.
Like all other clubs and organizations at Tech, the Reckettes had to be approved by SGA before they could begin performing. Luckily, thanks to the support of Dean Dull, who worked at Tech from 1957 to 1991, the dance team quickly became a legitimate Tech organization.
Dean Dull was also responsible for the creation of several other Tech traditions. He is best known for purchasing the Ramblin’ Reck and for developing the Buzz costume.
“We went to [Dean Dull] first because we knew he was very involved and he thought [the Reckettes] was a good idea. He even came to watch some of our practices,” Martin said.
According to Martin, though, the Reckettes did face some opposition, which she associates with the lack of other girls on campus.
“There was a little resistance…because we were something new. But it was back 30 years ago and there were much fewer female students,” Martin said. At this time, the “ratio” was approximately 3:1.
Today, as an employee at GTRI, Martin sometimes walks around Tech’s campus and, while much has changed since her Reckette days, it definitely brings back memories.
“It’s like ‘Oh deja vu!’”