Babcock block: Virginia Tech AD upstages Frank Beamer press conference to address Fuente rumors

vatechVirginia Tech athletics director Whit Babcock, not wanting to make the postgame following the Hokies’ 23-20 win at Virginia all about him, of course made the presser all about Whit Babcock.

“I’m not even sure this is the right thing to do,” said Babcock, at least relating that he understood that jumping out in front of Beamer’s final ACC press conference was at best mildly inappropriate.

But Babcock needed to shoot down the rumors that had begun swirling before the 12 noon kickoff that Tech has agreed in principle with Memphis coach Justin Fuente as the successor to Beamer.

Those rumors had to come from somewhere, of course, and it’s not likely they came from Fuente’s camp, since he had a game to coach on Saturday himself, and the reports on his imminent hiring had it such that he hadn’t yet informed Memphis of his decision.

Yeah, awkward.

One could view Babcock sitting there in front of a throng of Virginia media in the bowels of the stadium of his rival, which itself is likely to be searching for a new head coach, once UVA athletics director Craig Littlepage finds that place deep down within himself to finally admit that his decision to hire Mike London in 2009 without interviewing any other candidates was a colossal mistake, as Babcock saying, in effect, Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah, nyah, I’ve got a coach, and you don’t.

“I’m aware of the rumors that broke. They are not official at this time. Even on principle, I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t do that before Coach Beamer’s last game,” said Babcock, expecting the assembled media, presumably, to feel duly admonished, except that, hey, did he just say that the rumors “are not official at this time”?

So that means the rumors will be official at some other time, then, correct?

And the point to this awkward Babcock-block was, what again?

“When the time comes to speak to this matter further, I’ll do that,” Babcock said. “Again, I respect the job that you all have to do, but I just wanted to say that. There is nothing official here.

“This man,” Babcock said, nodding to Beamer, “deserves better than that. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I know people ran with things, but there is no confirmation from our end or any other end. When we can talk more about this, we will.”

The post-Beamer era is already off to a rollicking good start.

– Story by Chris Graham

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

augusta free press


Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.

augusta free press
augusta free press news