Robert Lee Dodd (November 11, 1908 – June 21, 1988) served as the head coach of Georgia Tech's Yellow Jackets football team beginning in 1945 when he became the third coach at the Institute. Dodd is also one of the three people who were elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. After moving to Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kinsport, Tennessee and showing talents at several sports, he went to the University of Tennessee and served as quarterback. He then came to the Georgia Institute of Technology as an assistant coach under Bill Alexander in 1931. Alexander hired Dodd while Dodd was still a college student at the University of Tenessee. In 1945, Dodd became the head coach of the Institute and retired immediately after 1966 season with a 165-64-8 record. Also, from 1950 to 1976, Bobby Dodd served as the Athletic Director. Dodd spent 45 years in total at Tech, prompting Georgia Tech to rename its football stadium after him. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 79 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Career as a player
From 1928 to 1930 when Bobby Dodd was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and studying at the University of Tennessee, he played football for the Tennessee Volunteers. Georgia Tech's legendary coach wanted to play for the Yellow Jackets but was not offered a scholarship. The volunteer team had a record of 27-1-2 during Dodd's career at Tennessee. In Dodd's first game against rival Alabama, "Dodd threw a touchdown pass in that game to tie Alabama, 13-13. Then he punted out of bounds inside the Alabama 1-yard line and Tennessee got a safety on the next play to win, 15-13."[reference]
"Against Florida in 1930 he got his teammates in a huddle and told them about a play he had used in high school. When the ball was snapped, it was placed on the ground unattended. The player ran in one direction. Then the center returned, picked up the ball, and waltzed to the winning touchdown." [reference] There was even a catch phrase created by Tennessee fans for Dodd; 'In Dodd we trust."[reference] This is another example of Dodd's creativity which enhanced his coaching career in Georgia Institute of Technology.
In 1930, Dodd was named to Grantland Rice's All American team in 1930, which makes him the second person who received this honor along with Gene McEver of Tennessee.
In 1959, Dodd was named to the College Football Hall of Fame and the University of Tennessee's Hall of Fame.
Career as a Coach
During the time when Dodd severed as the head coach at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets had two Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships (1951 and 1952) and one national championship in 1952. Also, Tech played in 13 major bowl, winning 9 of them including six in a row from 1952 to 1956. Also, from 1951 to 1953, Tech had a 31-game winning streak.
In 1944, following Coach Alexander's retirement, Dodd took over the football team of Georgia Institute of Technology. Dodd focused more on character development and player treatment which makes his coaching philosophy extremely unique. Instead of intense physical training, he uses accurate training base on the specialized field of each player. Bobby Dodd set a record with 165 wins at Tech from 1951 to 1953, including a 31-game winning streak. Also, he succeeded at capturing the 1952 nation title and two Southeastern Conference Titles including a 12-0 perfect season and Sugar Bowl conquest of Ole Miss. [reference]
In the long competition against the University of Georgia, Dodd finished his career with a 12-9 record against the Bulldogs including a 8-game winning streak from 1946 to 1954.[reference] For both Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, this is the longest winning streak.
In 1961, Tech visited the Alabama Crimson Tide at Denny Stadium. [reference] Chick Granning-Tech's coverage relaxed after the signal for the fair catch when Alabama fair-caught the ball. However, Darwin Holt of Alabama continued to play and smashed his elbow into Granning's face causing "severe fracturing in his face, a broken nose and blood-filled sinuses". After this, Granning became unconscious and never played football again. The historic feud between Dodd and Bear Bryant began when Dodd sent Bryant a letter asking Bryant to suspend Holt because he intentionally injured Granning but Bryant never did.
Another reason which caused the withdrawal of Georgia Tech from the Southeastern Conference(SEC) is the over-recruitment of players at SEC schools. Dodd stated that the SEC should punish this kind of behavior of his fellow SEC members but the SEC administration never did. In 1963, Dodd finally withdrew the football team-Yellow Jackets in Georgia Institute of Technology and remained an independent similar to Penn State and Notre Dame at the time.
Dodd passed the position of head coach of Georgia Tech to his coordinator Bud Carson and only retained his athletic director position on the campus which he gained in 1950 and resigned in 1976.
Although Bobby Dodd is considered as a great competitor, he cared much about his players. Instead of 'Winning at all costs", Dodd believed that college football players are the most important treasure of the college football.
As a will of Bobby Dodd. Division I will award a coach from the division for leadership both on and off the field. The award is called Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award presented by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation.
In 1993, Bobby Dodd was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach.
After a 0-3 game vs. University of Georgia, Dodd's coaching career as a Georgia Tech head coach ended even though he set the record for the most amazing victories in the series.
Bobby Dodd Stadium
Bobby Dodd Stadium is the football stadium of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia and is the home to the Yellow Jackets football team or "Ramblin' Wreck".
The stadium was named after the legendary coach in Georgia Tech in 1988.
He showed some interest in coaching a United States Football League team in 1983 if Atlanta were awarded one but the league folded.