Georgia Tech reached the NCAA Finals 24 times since 1985, a number surpassed by only three schools in that period, and has posted seven top-8 finishes in the last 11 tries.
Tech has been the runner-up in the NCAA Championship four times (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2005), more than any team in the history of the championship except Houston, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Texas and Wake Forest, who also have four. In 1993 and 2002, the Yellow Jackets led after 54 holes, but finished second by one shot to Florida in 1993, and by four shots to Minnesota in 2002.
In 2000, the Yellow Jackets rallied to tie Oklahoma State after 72 holes, but lost to the Cowboys on the first hole of a playoff. Tech and OSU matched the lowest 72-hole team score in NCAA Championship history (36-under-par 1,116) at the Grand National Lake Course in Opelika, Ala. In 2005, Tech finished 11 shots behind Georgia, and seven shots ahead of third-place Washington.
Since Bruce Heppler became Tech’s coach, the Jackets have three second-place finishes, one third, one fourth and one fifth in nine opportunities, with one tie for 11th and two missed cuts in Tech’s other three appearances.
Three Tech players have won national collegiate championships. Troy Matteson did it most recently in 2002 at Ohio State. Watts Gunn (1927) and Charlie Yates (1934) won national titles under a match play format before the NCAA took sponsorship of the championship in 1939.
Other top-10 finishers for Tech include David Duval (runner-up in 1991 and 1993, T-8 in 1990), Bill McDonald (T-2 in 1988), Bunky Henry (2nd in 1967), Roberto Castro (3rd in 2005), Nacho Gervas (T-3 in 1986), Kris Mikkelsen (T-4 in 2001), Stewart Cink (T-5 in 1994), Bryce Molder (6th in 1998) and Matt Weibring (6th in 2000).
The 2009 NCAA Championship featured a new twist with the team champion determined via match play. The top eight teams after 54 holes of stroke play advance to a match play tournament format.
During the match-play portion of the championships, each match is worth one point with all five players participating. The first team to win three points within the team match advances or, in the case of the championship match, is declared the national champion.
It is a format that Bruce Heppler has supported vigorously. Under Heppler, Georgia Tech finished in the top eight of the NCAA Finals seven times in 10 tries under the 72-hole, stroke-play format, and under the new format, has reached the match play competition twice in three years.