Tech Legend Kim King Dies
Icon of Georgia Tech Athletics for 40 Years
Oct. 12, 2004
ATLANTA--Kim King, a legendary figure in Georgia Tech athletics, first as a player and then as the Yellow Jackets' long-time radio announcer, died Tuesday morning after a battle with leukemia. He was 59.
A public memorial service is scheduled for next Monday, Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald's Center on the Tech campus.
The King family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kim King Foundation, Midtown Bank & Trust Company 712 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30308. The Kim King Foundation funds education programs for youth in the West End area of Atlanta, where King grew up.
King was an icon of Georgia Tech Football for more than 40 years, beginning with a standout playing career for legendary head coach Bobby Dodd and continuing through 30 years of service to the Institute as a supporter and benefactor of athletics and as a beloved radio color analysy. Most recently, he was an inspiration both within and outside the Georgia Tech community for his courageous battle with cancer.
At the Yellow Jackets' most recent home football game against Miami on Oct. 2, Georgia Tech honored King by officially dedicating the Kim King Football Locker Room at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
"Kim truly loved Georgia Tech, and especially Tech football," said Tech Director of Athletics Dave Braine. "He was a tremendous ambassador for the program, and he was loved by so many people. To say that he will be missed is an understatement."
King was originally diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer, in 1999. Last May, he was diagnosed with secondary acute myelogenous leukemia.
King began his long association with Georgia Tech when he enrolled at the Institute in the fall of 1963. "The Young Lefthander" was a three-year starter at quarterback from 1965-67, leading the Jackets to berths in the Gator and Orange Bowls. One of the highlights of his career came when he helped the Jackets to a victory over eighth-ranked Tennessee in 1966 and was named National Back of the Week by Sports Illustrated magazine. He finished his career as Tech's all-time leading passer.
Also an outstanding student, King earned his bachelor's degree in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech in 1968, launching his highly successful business career. He founded Kim King Associates, Inc., one of Atlanta's foremost commercial real estate development firms, in 1972. His firm developed numerous properties all over Atlanta, including the Centergy complex adjacent to the Tech campus at Technology Square.
He was named Georgia's "Most Respected CEO" for 2004 by Georgia Trend magazine, which also tabbed him one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians in 2001.
King served as finance chairman for former Georgia Governor Roy E. Barnes and as Chairman of the Board of Georgia Public Broadcasting. He was active in fund-raising activities for cancer research as well as the Bobby Dodd Charities Foundation, Inc.
In addition to his business and civic accomplishments, King was an integral figure in Georgia Tech Athletics who was instrumental in the growth of the program. He chaired the initial feasibility study for what ultimately became the Arthur B. Edge Center, which houses Tech's athletics offices. At the time of its completion in 1982, the Edge Center was a significant move by the Institute toward a commitment to intercollegiate athletics. In 1988, he was a driving force behind the agreement between the State Board of Regents and the Grant family heirs to add the name of Bobby Dodd to Tech's home field.
King was admired by generations of Yellow Jacket fans for his role as the color analyst on Tech's radio broadcasts. He joined the radio broadcast team in 1974 as the partner of legendary play-by-play voice Al Ciraldo.
Wes Durham, Tech's current play-by-play voice, began working with King in 1995.
"This is such a tremendous loss for Georgia Tech and for me personally," said Durham. "Kim King is Georgia Tech, and I'm honored that I had the chance to know him and work with him for the last 10 years."
Head football coach Chan Gailey said, "Kim King is the true Tech Man, from the way he played on the football field to his successful business career, and most importantly, in the way he lived his life."
Born Oct. 6, 1945 in Atlanta, King was inducted into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 and the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, and in 1998 he was honored by the Athletic Association with the Total Person Alumnus Award. He was also named one of Georgia Tech's "50 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century" in 2000.
King is survived by his wife, Gail, daughters Angela and Abby, son Beau, and two grandchildren.
COMMENTS ON KIM KING
Dr. Wayne Clough, President of the Georgia Institute of Technology
"It has been my pleasure to know Kim King since he served on the search committee that ultimately selected me to the Georgia Tech's president. Over the years, we've worked closely on the Georgia Tech Foundation, the Georgia Tech Athletic Board, and through the development of the Centergy complex and Technology Square. Further, as a star player and the color commentator for Tech football games, Kim has distinguished himself as someone with a real affinity for the Institute.
"I know that I join the entire Georgia Tech community in relaying to Kim's family our sincere sorrow in his passing and that our thoughts and prayers are with them at their time of loss."
Dave Braine, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics
"First of all our hearts and prayers go out to the Kim King Family. Obviously, they have been through a very long ordeal. Unless you have to go through something like that, I guess you never really understand what a person feels. I had a chance to spend some time with Kim last Thursday. Even at that time, he was still very positive and upbeat. Through this whole thing, he never asked `why?' or `why me?'
"He has been associated with Georgia Tech since 1964. We've lost a great person. Personally, he was responsible for bringing me back to Georgia Tech. I think the best thing I can say about him was in his heart everything he did for Georgia Tech was what he thought he should do.
"I think when you talk about great names in Georgia Tech, you always hear Heisman, Alexander and Dodd. I always put Homer Rice in there because he did so much for the program. When you talk about Homer, you have to talk about Kim because at one time this program was almost ready to go down hill. If it weren't for Kim and Homer getting Coach Dodd back in the program to the raise the money for the Edge Center, we might not be where we are today. Kimg did an awful lot for this program over a number of years. Basically, he was the person behind raising the money to build the Edge Center.
"Everyone is sad. They hurt for the family, especially after all they have been through the last three years. It will never be the same. I know a week ago Saturday (when he was honored at the Miami game) was great thrill for him. We take a lot of things for granted, but he had never been in the Rambling Wreck. He had never gone out on the field to lead the team out. He had a thrill. He said when he came off the field that day that it was a great highlight. In some small way, I am glad we got to do what we did at the time we did it."
Chan Gailey, Georgia Tech Head Coach
"First of all, the loss of Kim King is a big loss for the Georgia Tech family. I got to know Kim as soon as I got the job. He was supremely supportive. He did a great job of helping me learn the ins and outs of Tech in many respects.
I would like to have gotten to know him better. We went on several trips together and had fun competing. He loved to compete. It didn't matter what it was, golf, whatever, he loved competition. I respected that about him among other things. Every year we took a golf trip together. He let me win a couple of times. I let him win a couple of times. It was pretty good competition, that's what made it fun. It was great competition.
"The one thing I regret is we have former captains from time to time come in to talk to the team and his name was one that was supposed to come up in the future. He had not had the opportunity. Our players never got to know him like that, but we will try to get them to understand who he was and what he stood for."
Wes Durham, Georgia Tech Play-by-Play Voice
"What Kim meant to me professionally pales in comparison to what he meant to me personally.
"For so many people, he embodies what Georgia Tech is - you play, you compete, you win, but you do it the right way. And not just on the football field.
"He is such a signficant piece of Georgia Tech legend, lore and history. He was such a comforting voice on Saturday afternoons for so many people. And I'm so happy that we were able to honor him at the Miami game, and he was able to see what he has meant to so many Georgia Tech fans."
Bill Curry, Georgia Tech head coach from 1980-86
"We are all saddened, but today we celebrate the life of Kim King. I have never known anyone like him, and do not expect to find another in our lifetime.
"Kim had as his basis that most rare combination of honesty, compassion, and an indefatigable drive to win. His capacity for loyalty, whether to his alma mater or to a friend was limitless.
"It is my firm belief that had it not been for Kim King in the late seventies and early eighties, we would not have enjoyed a fraction of the success we have experienced in athletics. His vision, intelligence, and capacity to form coalitions within the Tech family were vital.
"Georgia Tech and Atlanta have lost one our finest, but Kim's legacy of giving, forgiving, and asking nothing in return shall live in our hearts forever. What he and his wonderful wife Gail did in facing multiple myeloma was the finest witness to faith and courage I have ever seen.
"May God rest his soul. He was a great man, and is a great inspiration to us all."