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Thread: Where did GATA originate?

  1. #1

    Default Where did GATA originate?

    Maybe this is a naive question, or maybe I have just been mistaken all along. I thought Coach Russell started using the phrase "GATA" after he arrived in Statesboro. In other words, I've always thought of it as a Georgia Southern thing.

    But, Mark Richt claims that it's a UGA thing. Here's the quote:

    “At Georgia we say, ‘g-a-t-a’ – get after their you-know-what,” Richt said. “I know it will be a sound system, an aggressive system, and a bunch of boys are going to be excited about turning that thing loose.”

    Anyone have any idea?
    We had plain white pants, we had plain navy-blue shirts, a number on the front and a number on the back. We couldn't even put a stripe down the middle of our helmets. We used a strip of tape. ... Those kind of things screamed, 'TEAM!' - Erk Russell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Guyton, GA

    Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    Erk Russell

    My loose understanding is UGA was playing GT and might have been losing... not sure about that or not but anyways... Erk saw a group of letters that said GTAA (georgia tech athletic association) and mixed it up so it read GATA and said "WERE GONNA GET AFTER THEIR A$$ES!" and I think it really pumped up the players and Georgia won, BIG.

  3. Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    Correct, Half time speech from ERK to his D vs GT. ITs an ERKism that he brought to GSU.
    "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."

    Colin Powell

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Warner Robins, GA

    Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    Yea...Mark Richt is correct that it started at UGA. However, it belongs to Erk....and Erk belongs to us, I don't care what those damn mutts up there think

  5. #5

    Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    I asked Richt the question that resulted in the above quote! For an aspiring broadcaster, It was really cool for me.

  6. Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    It's in his book Football Fans Friends.

  7. Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    Not to take away from the thread, but is "Do Right" one of his "Erkisms"? I know Paul Johnson is big on that, but I read someone that is started with Erk...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    Quote Originally Posted by StingingEagle View Post
    Not to take away from the thread, but is "Do Right" one of his "Erkisms"? I know Paul Johnson is big on that, but I read someone that is started with Erk...
    Saw a video of GT's players after one of their games. You can see "DO RIGHT" on the wall.
    People never grow up. They just learn how to act in public.

    The artist formerly known as gsu_paintballer.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    On certain occasions when it was not appropriate to use the word "***," Erk would say "Get after them aggressively."

  10. #10

    Default Re: Where did GATA originate?

    I always knew that Erk used it at UGA but I didn't know the story behind which game or opponent he started it about. However, I can tell you that in August of 1986, during our summer practices in getting ready for the season, we were preparing to play Florida and it was Tracy Ham's last season (as it was for many of the players that had started in 82 or 83 with Erk and the program). We had just won our first NCAA I-AA National Title the year before (1985) and this game with Florida was scheduled as a favor to Erk so that we could play (and Tracy could play there where he had dreamed of playing growing up). Now, you can imagine that we were all pretty intimidated -- having never played a big-time program before (East Carolina excluded). All the rest of the teams on our schedule were I-AA teams with a D-II team or two, during 1985 and 1986.

    So, to get us ready to play in an 85,000 seat stadium against a national power in Florida, Erk in typical Erk fashion, brought out and wore an old t-shirt to practice one day. The t-shirt was gray and had blue letters on it (or black, I can't now recall) that said GATA. And he told us that he didn't know how they spelled Gator in Florida, but so far as he knew or was concerned, it was spelled GATA which meant, "get after their a$$es!" Now, that broke us all up, and that was the loosest, most focused but easy to get along with group of cool customers on that team that I have ever seen. If there were any jitters when we played Florida I never heard of any and I never saw any evidence of it on the field. We lost that game 38-14, but felt that we could play with them or anybody else at ANY level that year and we went on to win our second National Title in convincing fashion against Arkansas State. Now, I can remember spending much of the Spring and Summer when we learned about the Florida game wondering how we would do and what it would be like. But the day that Erk pulled out that t-shirt and told us what he thought about "Gata"s, we knew that it would be alright, that they were not superhuman and that they wouldn't eat us or kill us or anything. I think it was Danny Durham or someone who said let's all get a t-shirt like like to wear under our shoulder pads to remind us of who we are, that we are Gata stompers and that they're just a bunch of overpriced, overvalued kids who will be running from us when we Get After Their A$$es in the first game! We continued to use that motto for the rest of the year against other opponents, and Erk said that after several of the games, that the other teams' coach said that some of their boys had never seen such a hard nosed, focused group of players and that many of their kids dreaded playing us because we had been so physical with them. Now, whether or not those coaches actually told Erk that or not, I don't really know, but we certainly beleived him. How could we not!?!

    Also that year, after about the second or third game, as I recall, some of the press got to noticing the t-shirts and all of the players and trainers laughing about GATA and talking about it, some of them began to question what it meant and they asked Erk about it during a press conference or interview before a game, and he said, with a perfectly straight face that it was something that the players came up with to keep them focused on their next opponent and, when the pressed him for its definition, he said that he didn't know for sure but that he thought it stood for "Get After Them Aggressively" and that he certainly agreed with that.

    Several years later, in our first game against UGA (in 1992), before the game started, Erk came onto the field and pulled off his shirt and turned to the Georgia side of the field and brandished a black UGA t-shirt and all of the Georiga players and fans cheered (becuase he has a black Georgia practice t-shirt under his top shirt). Then, he turned back to the Ga. Southern side and pulled of the Ga. t-shirt and under it was an old, thread bare gray t-shirt that just simply said GATA. The Southern side erupted! It brought tears to my eyes in the stands as I remember what it meant to us a decade before. I remember also hearing a lot of Georgia fans cheering for that t-shirt, too, but we knew that he meant it for us that day, to not be afraid to play Georgia. We scored the first touchdown that day on a 4th and 1 at mid-field on a Charles Bostwick QB keeper around the left of the line and led UGA 7-0. We wound up losing 34-7, but the guys played with UGA and were not embarrased at all.

    So, that's Ga. Southern's history of GATA as I saw it and undertand it. People have been saying it for years and I see a lot of fans with those gray t-shirts that say GATA, but I wonder if they really know how Erk used it to motivate us to play Florida and to cruise on to a second national championship. That was just Erk's way. He could motivate you to do just about anything. I miss him. I miss him a lot!


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