Director of Athletics, 1997-2006
A national leader in collegiate athletics, Dave Braine made a career out of building successful programs.
In nearly nine years as the Director of Athletics at Georgia Tech, he oversaw tremendous growth in the Yellow Jackets' overall athletics program while positioning Tech for the future with ambitious building projects. Braine served at Tech from 1997 through 2005, and his retirement in January of 2006 closes the book on a 21-year career as an athletics director and a coaching and administrative career that covered nearly four decades.
Braine, 63, steered the Georgia Tech Rambling Wreck into the new millennium in successful fashion, using the Yellow Jackets' rich tradition as a guiding light along the way. He followed in the footsteps of four Tech greats of the past-John Heisman, William Alexander, Bobby Dodd and Dr. Homer Rice.
Georgia Tech's overall athletics program enjoyed unprecedented success during Braine's tenure and especially over his last two years. The 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons can be called the most successful two-year run in Tech history, highlighted by the men's basketball team's 2004 NCAA runner-up finish and a school-record bowl streak for the football program as well as continued excellence in sports such as baseball and golf, combined with remarkable growth in women's athletics.
In both years, Yellow Jacket teams combined for a school-record 31st-place finish in the annual NACDA Directors' Cup standings, which rank the overall success of athletics programs based on NCAA finishes in each sport. Before 2004, Tech's previous high was 45th place in 1994. It's important to note that every school but one ranked ahead of Georgia Tech in the 2004-05 standings fields more sports than the Jackets, and 28 of the 30 schools ahead of Tech have at least three more sports.
In 2004-05 alone, eight Tech programs finished ranked among the nation's Top 25, either in the final polls or NCAA standings: men's basketball, volleyball, golf, baseball, softball, women's tennis, women's indoor track and women's outdoor track, including Top 10 NCAA finishes by golf, baseball, volleyball and women's tennis. Tech teams captured ACC tournament titles in women's tennis, softball and baseball along with regular-season championships in those three sports as well as volleyball.
Fourteen of Tech's 17 sports programs reached postseason play in 2004-05. In fact, Georgia Tech was the only school in the nation to win a football bowl game and at least one game in the NCAA men's basketball and baseball tournaments.
The Tech football program, which boasts one of the nation's most successful bowl traditions, won its 22nd bowl game in 2004 and played in its ninth straight bowl in 2005. The Rambling Wreck basketball team, coming off its magical run to the 2004 NCAA title game, made its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and posted Tech's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1989-90.
The Tech golf team placed second at the 2005 NCAA Championships for its fifth Top Five NCAA finish in the last six years. The baseball team earned its 20th postseason berth in the last 21 years while winning the ACC regular season for the second straight year and capturing its fourth NCAA regional title in the last six years.
Tech's women's athletics programs have enjoyed unprecedented success over the last two years. Three-time NCAA high jump champion Chaunte Howard led the women's track program to four straight Top 25 finishes at the NCAA Championships. The Yellow Jacket volleyball team reached the NCAA Sweet 16 two straight years (2003 and 2004), including a 16-0 ACC regular-season in 2004.
Tech women's tennis enjoyed a watershed year in 2005, reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time, and the program stands poised to reach even greater heights in 2006. The Yellow Jacket softball program won its second ACC title in four years and earned its fourth straight NCAA berth last spring.
The men's tennis team extended its NCAA streak to five straight years, while the men's and women's swimming and diving and men's track programs sent individuals to the NCAA Championships in 2005.
The Rambling Wreck football team played in a bowl game in each of Braine's nine seasons on the Flats, an accomplishment that places Georgia Tech along with only five other schools in the nation. Tech's current streak betters the previous school record of six straight from 1951-56 under the legendary Bobby Dodd.
Other athletics highlights during Braine's tenure include 18 Top 10 national team finishes, No. 1 national rankings in baseball and golf, and 12 ACC team titles in seven different sports. Individual accomplishments range from seven national championships in men's and women's track and field to Troy Matteson's 2002 NCAA title in golf.
Tech boasted 26 Academic All-America student-athletes from 1997-2005.
Building for the Future
Braine strived to provide first-class athletics facilities for every sport, which not only help Georgia Tech attract top-notch student-athletes, but also provide amenities for Yellow Jacket fans.
The centerpiece of Tech's building campaign on his watch was the expansion of the historic football facility, Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field, which was completed in 2003. The $75 million project that raised capacity to 55,000 while adding numerous amenities and improvements was completed in less than two years. Also part of the project was the new Russ Chandler Baseball Stadium, a $9.7 million facility completed in 2002 that seats 4,157 and is one of the nation's finest baseball parks.
In 2004, Tech's men's and women's swimming and diving programs moved into one of the nation's most impressive aquatics venues. The Georgia Tech Aquatics Center features the competition pool from the 1996 Olympic Games in an enclosed, 2000-seat arena capable of hosting major national events, including the NCAA Championships, which will take place at Georgia Tech in 2006.
The addition of women's swimming and diving in 2001-02 Tech's 17th sport is further evidence of the commitment to women's athletics under Braine.
The major role Georgia Tech played on the national collegiate athletics landscape under Braine's leadership was clearly evident following a highly successful run as the host of back-to-back NCAA Basketball Championships with the 2002 Men's Final Four and the 2003 Women's Final Four in Atlanta. Tech is now preparing to host another NCAA Men's Final Four in 2007, as well as an NCAA men's basketball regional in 2006.
Braine recently served on the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee, and he previously served a two-year appointment as chairman of the NCAA Special Events Committee in 1995-96.
Total Person Concept
Winning records and all-star honors, however, are just part of the Braine athletics program. Just as he did earlier as director of athletics at Marshall and Virginia Tech, he emphasized much more, especially the Total Person Concept, a comprehensive support program that stresses academics and life skills.
Braine takes special pride in the Homer Rice Center for Sports Performance. "We are doing things there for our student-athletes that are totally unique," he said. "No other school in the country has the wide variety of Total Person programs that we do."
Through the Total Person Program, Tech student-athletes benefit from a number of enrichment programs ranging from life skills and career planning to wellness and community outreach. The Homer Rice Center for Sports Performance offers a motion analysis lab, a medical clinic and psychology lab, a nutrition center and a sports vision center.
Braine is also proud that Georgia Tech was named the recipient of the first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference Sportsmanship School of the Year Award in 2004.
Second Tech Tour of Duty
Hired by President Dr. Wayne Clough, Braine was named Georgia Tech's director of athletics on June 3, 1997, succeeding Rice, who retired after serving as AD from 1980 until 1997. Tech's other fabled leaders of the past included Heisman (1904-1919), Alexander (1920-1950), and Dodd (1950-1976).
This was the second tour of duty for Braine at Georgia Tech. He originally came to the Flats in 1974 as defensive secondary coach on the football staff of Pepper Rodgers. He served in that capacity for two years, coaching one of the nation's top secondaries in 1974 which featured three-time all-America Randy Rhino.
Braine was AD at Marshall from 1985 through 1987, during which time he oversaw the revitalization of a football program which had not had a winning record in many years. In Braine's last season, Marshall advanced to the I-AA national championship game before losing to Northeast Louisiana.
He moved to Virginia Tech and made a name for himself in a 10-year tenure in which he helped change the face of Hokie athletics. It was under Braine's leadership that Virginia Tech gained membership in the Big East Football Conference, which proved to be a stepping stone to full membership in the league.
In addition to spearheading a vast athletics building campaign, Braine saw the Hokies vault into national prominence in football while winning the National Invitation Tournament title in men's basketball and capturing the Atlantic 10 all-sports trophy five straight years.
Football Standout at UNC
A native of Grove City, Pa., Braine earned his bachelor's degree (1965) as well as a master's of arts and teaching (1966) at the University of North Carolina, where he was a three-time football letterman. He was a defensive back and placekicker on the Tar Heel team that defeated the Air Force Academy in the 1963 Gator Bowl.
After teaching and coaching at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla., he joined the Virginia Military Institute football staff as a freshman coach in the spring of 1967, kicking off his long career in collegiate athletics. Later he coached at Richmond from 1971-73, highlighted by the Spiders' 1971 Southern Conference title and Tangerine Bowl berth.
After two seasons as an assistant coach at Tech, Braine moved to Virginia as administrative assistant and secondary coach under Dick Bestwick in 1976. In 1978, he became assistant athletic director at Virginia. He took a similar position at Fresno State in 1983 and was promoted to associate athletic director in 1984. It was from there that he moved on to become the athletics director at Marshall in 1985.
Braine received a high honor in 1993 when he was inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in the area where his hometown is located.
An avid sportsman in his own right, Braine is an enthusiastic and talented fly fisherman who was featured on the ESPN television show, Fly Fishing America.
The Tech AD is married to the former Carole Bowles and has four children and nine grandchildren. His daughter Jennifer, a graduate of the University of Kentucky and the University of Virginia, is a speech-language pathologist residing in Richmond, Va., with her husband David Brown and their daughter Margot and sons Ramsey and Jennings. Bill, a graduate of the University of Florida, is employed by Yantra in Atlanta, and he and his wife Bonnie, a Georgia Tech graduate, have one son, William. Steven, a Virginia Tech graduate, is vice president and general manager of Inter-national Sports Properties for the University of Cincinnati and has a daughter, Kaeler, and two sons, Nathan and Garrett. Meredith, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Virginia Tech, is a teacher in Christiansburg, Va. She is married to James Shealor and the couple has two sons, Bennett and Brodie.
THE BRAINE FILE Full Name: David Thomas Braine Born: July 7, 1943, in Grove City, Pa. Education: University of North Carolina, B.S., 1965; M.A.T, 1966 Playing Career: Three-year football letterman at UNC(defensive back & kicker), 1962-64