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Mailbag: Why don’t you write more about Virginia Tech Athletics?

Chris Graham

chris graham uva basketball Of the 16 sports stories published over the weekend, nine are UVA and none Virginia Tech. Typical?

– Tom

Well, yeah, obviously, this is typical.

I’ve been writing about UVA Athletics since 1995. When we launched AFP in 2002, UVA Athletics coverage became our bread and butter – one of the three legs of our table, as it were.

The first leg is actually local government coverage focused on Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro; the second, UVA Athletics; the third, keeping tabs on political developments in Richmond and in D.C., with a progressive liberal focus.

If you’ve come to AFP once, or you’ve been reading since Day 1, you know, this is what we do.

And if it’s not for you, that’s OK with us.

We can’t do everything, any more than anybody else can do everything.

When it comes to Virginia Tech Athletics, my theory is, if you can’t be the best at something, why even try?

Just from a personal knowledge standpoint, I’ve been following UVA Athletics since I was in elementary school, and then professionally since a few months after I graduated from UVA in 1994.

Follow a subject that long, and you’re going to know a lot, just by being around.

I haven’t followed Virginia Tech Athletics closely at all, outside of the program’s relationship with UVA, in terms of the games the schools’ teams play against each other, and how each are faring in the ACC, since Tech was admitted into the ACC in 2004.

Whatever I’d try to write about Virginia Tech Athletics would read like somebody on the outside trying to catch up, and would get slotted in terms of value appropriately in the marketplace.

That said, our reader here who sent this brief email this morning, Tom, has raised this issue with us before, and to address his observation of our deficiencies, we hired a writer in 2022 to try to beef up our coverage of Tech football and Tech basketball.

The results, in terms of reader numbers, were underwhelming, at best.

So, as I assume anybody with even basic business sense would do, we scuttled the coverage, and repurposed the money that we’d been spending on Tech coverage elsewhere.

We’re coming off a record year reader-wise in 2023, and the month of January 2024 has already shattered our previous monthly record with a few days to go, so, maybe, we’re doing things right there.

In the meantime, for people reading this who want to know where I think you should go for Tech sports coverage, I’m recommending Tech Sideline.

I’ve met and gotten to know decently well the founder there, Will Stewart, and the lead analyst, Chris Coleman, and both are consummate pros who know more about Tech Athletics than most.

Factor in, then, that Stewart was able to hire Andy Bitter, the 2022 Virginia Sportswriter of the Year, away from The Athletic, and, yeah, this is the place to go.

If I ever have a question about what’s going on with Tech Athletics, this is where I go.

Now, if I could ever get someone like a Will Stewart, Chris Coleman or Andy Bitter to fall into my lap, you can bet that I’d jump at the chance.

But then a JMU alum thinking like Tom would write to complain that we’re not covering JMU Athletics, and we’d be back to square zero.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].