The Georgia Institute of Technology has announced that its football team will retire the number 44 in honor of the late Hank Aaron. As a result, linebacker Quez Jackson has relinquished his number in honor the baseball legend for the upcoming season.
"For me personally and as a program that represents the great city of Atlanta, we are very saddened by the passing of Hank Aaron," Georgia Tech Head Football Coach Geoff Jackson said.
"After reflecting on what he meant to our city, our nation and the world, we're proud to join the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United in retiring the No. 44 for the upcoming season. In addition to honoring 'Hammerin' Hank's' memory, we'll use the coming days and months as an opportunity to educate our student-athletes on the immeasurable impact that he made in our society, not only on the field, but in the civil rights movement in America."
Georgia Tech shares the city of Atlanta with Aaron's former team, the Atlanta Braves. Honoring his memory, the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta FC have opted to retire the number 44 for their upcoming seasons.
“When you look at icons of Atlanta and the sport of baseball, Hank Aaron is undoubtedly included in that group,” Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay said.
“But he was more than an icon in sports, he was an icon off the field as well in how he carried himself and treated others. Because of that we are honored to celebrate his awe-inspiring life by retiring number 44 this season for our Atlanta Falcons. He was a true icon and yet when you encountered him, he always made you feel special. He was a great ambassador for the game of baseball, a great ambassador of the City of Atlanta and quite simply a great person.”
Aaron played in Atlanta for ten years before retiring in 1976. Most notably, he broke the Major League Baseball all-time home run record on April 8, 1974, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He passed away last week in Atlanta after spending more than six decades spreading the game of baseball while fighting for equality and social justice.
Photo Credit: Getty Images