Coach "The Kid" Clay

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Robert Alba Clay was born in Monroe, Georgia, where he first attended Monroe High School, and then Emory Academy according to the 'Technique in 1926'.[1] He enrolled at Georgia Tech in 1910 and graduated from Tech in 1915 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. In the fall of 1915 he was back in school as an assistant baseball and football coach. Upon the outbreak of the war, he enlisted and was in France for fifteen months with the Eighty-Second Division. When he returned to school he was made head coach in baseball and assistant coach in football. According to Blue Print in 1926, three of his teams became championship teams.[2]


Undergrad at Tech

Before he was a coach, Clay did many other activities at Tech as an undergraduate. He was a member of the scrub football team from 1910-1913 and was captain from 1912-1913. Clay played on his class football team from 1910 to 1912 and lettered in football in 1914. He was also part of his Scrub and class baseball team from 1911-1914. He became captain of his class baseball team from 1911-1912, and he was also the manager for the varsity baseball team in 1915. His other activities included Honor council, Y.M.C.A, Koseme,Anak, A.I.E.E. and Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
Georgia Tech football touchdown flag.jpg

Coaching History

Clay began as an assistant coach in 1920 after five years of "scrubbing" under the famed Heisman according to 'Blue Print, 1927'. [3] Under the leadership of Clay, the two freshman baseball teams in 1926 and 1927 were the best that the South had ever known.[4] In 1926, Coach Kid Clay guided the destinies of the freshman grid team through a heavy season against strong opposition. According to Blue Print, The Junior Tornado performed splendidly during the season, winning four games and losing only one, that being to the Florida Baby 'Gators on Grant Field. [5].

When the first call for candidates for the 1929 edition of the Yellow Jacket nine came on February 12, 1929, Coach Clay (at the time a baseball mentor) issued a notice for all diamond candidates to report to the gym “at 11:00”. Coach Clay started things off by giving a lecture, first the freshmen, then moving on to the varsity. What he told the “RATS” was a rushed but important speech for them to take their baseball work seriously, as much or more than they take their studies. When he spoke to his varsity players, Coach Clay asked that they go sleep and train ardently. He reminded them to come out in the bat drill and other rigorous practice exercises in the sliding pit. A lecture at 12:30 and a regular practice at 3 was his proposed schedule for the Jacket baseball candidates. [6]

In 1930 Coach “Kid” Clay and his grey-jerseyed team gave the Varsity a run for their money, so to speak. While the Varsity did run nine touchdowns, they did not make it past the first string. Not only that, but they felt the effects of their plays lingering for several days afterwards. They held the Tornado to its ground for quite a few plays, and then only gave way to its tremendous weight along with the exponentially greater experience of the players. Their performance, however, was remarkable considering they had a little over a week to get accustomed to Clay’s intricate plays for the team. [7] In 1929, The spectators got a great opportunity to see the kind of a pitching staff Tech had because Coach Clay started John Jordan on the mound and before the hectic struggle came to a close he used Quinn, Powell, and Little. The one game played with the Crackers was the only one of the three scheduled games played due to the rainy weather which prevailed during the month of March. Continuous rain hindered The "Kid" from holding practice very much before the intercollegiate season opened on March 29th and 30th with Oglethorpe. The Stormy Petrels copped the City Title by nosing out the Yellow Jackets in a last inning rally to win the ball game by a 5-4 count. The first game resulted in a tie. Jimmie Stevens playing his third year of varsity baseball in the role of catcher proved himself a hard worker and the possessor of a fighting heart. As the Captain of the Yellow Jacket Squad he proved an able leader to his team. According to 'Blue Print, 1927', a two-game series with the Auburn tigers were the first out-of-town games for the Yellow Jacket nine. [8]

Baseball Success

In 1925, the baseball season was successful, except the defeat against Georgia. That season Georgia Tech faced the strongest teams of the South with several strong teams from the North and East. They had fourteen wins and 7 losses. Based on the 1925 Baseball season, Tech won their opening game against Clemson 4 – 0. As the season was coming to a close, Tech was leading the Conference, but when they faced Georgia, they lost their first series. Georgia, in the first series, won against Tech in the first game 4 – 0 and the second game 7 – 3. In the return series, Tech won their first game against Georgia that season 10 – 9, but lost the second game of the series 6 – 4. Despite the lose, Tech was still considered a championship team that year. [9] According to the 'Technique in 1926', Jacket Nine, Coach Clay's baseball team, completed one of the most successful seasons. They pushed hard at the start of the season, which brought them to the Southern Conference Championship. During the month March in 1926, they obtained fifteen straight victories against east and west teams. The Jacket’s winning streak was broken up by the University of Virginia who gave them a tie in a two-game series. After that, the Jackets went back to Georgia to compete in Athens against the Bulldogs. According to the 'Technique in 1926', Jacket Nine, the Bulldogs won both games in that series, but the Jackets won both of their games in the return series at Atlanta which won them the conference championship. [10]

Source Summary


  1. (3 October 2010) Retrieved October 3, 2010
  2. (3 October 2010) Retrieved October 3, 2010
  3. (3 October 2010) Retrieved October 3, 2010 from
  4. (20 October 2010) Retrieved October 10, 2010 from
  5. (3 October 2010) Retrieved October 3, 2010 from
  6. (20 October 2010)Retrieved October 20, 2010 from
  7. (10 October 2010) Retrieved October 10, 2010 from
  8. (3 October 2010) Retrieved October 3, 2010
  9. (3 October 2010) Retrieved October 3, 2010
  10. (3 October 2010) Retrieved October 3, 2010 from
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