A look at Tech’s greatest sports traditions

Photo by Josh Kim Student Publications. Tech’s Ramblin’ Reck mascot drives onto the field before their home game against Pitt last season. The Ramblin’ Reck has been a staple on campus for several decades.

Now that you are officially a new Jacket beginning your first semester (or a student who needs a refresher), this is your chance to get up to speed on all of the sporting traditions that help make Tech even more unique than you might have already thought. Our school’s traditions can connect you to all of those who have already graduated (or “Got Out” in Tech terms), and those who will get out after you!

The Technique takes pride in being an organization to help you participate, feel included and, when the opportunity arises, for you to show that you truly are a helluva Tech student.


The first thing every incoming student should know about is the Institute’s rivalry with the University of Georgia. The two schools have had a rivalry, called “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” since 1893, the first year they played each other in football — and probably will continue to have one forever. The week leading up to a sports matchup against UGA is known as “Hate Week.”

In addition, Tech students need to be aware of “the good word.” If you were to ask a Tech student, fan or graduate (or they asked you) “What’s the good word?” the response is always “To Hell with Georgia!” Sometimes the catchphrase is abbreviated to “THWg” in writing or online.


The Ramblin’ Reck is a 1930 Ford Model A Sport Coupe painted in the Institute’s colors, old gold and white. The Ramblin’ Reck is one of two primary mascots used at Tech, and it has led the Jackets’ football team out onto the field for every home game since its first appearance on Sept. 30, 1961.

The Ramblin’ Reck can be spotted easily around campus as it is regularly driven, and the unique horn that is frequently used will alert you of its whereabouts.

As first-years, the only rule regarding the Ramblin’ Reck is to not touch it until you have completed your first year at Tech. Doing so is a bad omen that will result in the Jackets losing to the hated rivals, UGA.


The second of the Institute’s two mascots (besides the Ramblin’ Reck) is Buzz the Yellow Jacket. In the early 1900s, the Jackets did not have an official team name or mascot.

However, many fans at sporting events supporting the players of Tech wore yellow jackets and the term was used to describe the fans. In 1905, football coach John Heisman decided he wanted the team to be known as the Yellow Jackets.

Buzz the mascot was conceived in the 1970s by students performing at football games in yellow jacket costumes, with Judy McNair being the first Buzz. In 1980, the Institute got funding from the SGA to make a custom costume and create the first official Buzz. Buzz makes appearances at athletic events and is very friendly and funny to all spectators.


On Tech’s campus, there is a steam whistle that blows at the end of classes throughout the weekday. The whistle is located just north of Tech Tower near Bobby Dodd stadium and the top of Freshman Hill.

The whistle was introduced in 1892 and has been a Tech staple since. Including its job of allerting students when class is over, the whistle also sounds during Tech football games when the Jackets score a touchdown, and when they win a game.

The whistle has also been a victim of robbery in the past, with the last successful theft occurring in 1997. The whistle was returned on former President Wayne Clough’s lawn a day later.


In addition to the Institute’s two mascots, the Jackets have two fight songs: “Up With the White and Gold” and “Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech.”

Both songs are played by the Yellow Jacket Marching Band at sporting events multiple times throughout the game and are a way for the students and fans in attendance to root on the players.

Prior to football games, the band will perform “Alma Mater” while doing a pregame performance.

During the second-half of sporting events, the band plays the Budweiser song, and fans will bob up and down before shouting, “Go Georgia Tech” a few times and then saying, “When you say Budweiser, you’ve said it all.”

After athletic events are over, the band will play “The Horse.” There is a dance that goes along with the song that is very fun, and the Technique recommends you try it out at your very first event.