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Virginia Tech extends contract of AD Whit Babcock: Smart move?

Whit Babcock Virginia Tech
Whit Babcock. Photo courtesy Virginia Tech Athletics.

Virginia Tech is tethering itself to AD Whit Babcock through 2029, a curious move given the state of the football program at Tech.

“Whit Babcock and his roster of talented coaches have done an outstanding job, creating memorable moments for our students, alumni, and fans, and making the student-athlete experience their top priority,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “Whit and his leadership team have the right long-term vision and have demonstrated their ability to manage the rapidly changing landscape in collegiate athletics. I look forward to continuing our collective efforts on behalf of Virginia Tech.”

A press release from the school touted the good under Babcock – the success, particularly, in basketball, with coaches Mike Young and Kenny Brooks leading the men’s and women’s teams to NCAA Tournament berths in 2021.

But basketball and the Olympic sports don’t move the needle at Tech, where the football program is coming off its second losing season in three years, and coach Justin Fuente is at or near the top of most of the hot seat lists heading into the 2021 season.

Babcock is the one who brought Fuente to Blacksburg, the news of that pending hire leaking the day of legendary coach Frank Beamer’s last regular-season game, a 23-20 win over UVA in Scott Stadium in 2015.

Babcock memorably interrupted Beamer’s press conference after that game to tell reporters that he wouldn’t address the rumors that he had hired Fuente until the following Monday.

He then signed Fuente to an extension after his first season, which saw the Hokies go 10-4 and advance to the ACC Championship Game, and added another year with more money a year later.

Virginia, you might remember, made the same mistake with Mike London, extending him after what turned out to be his one good season in Charlottesville, an 8-5 finish in 2011.

I say “same mistake,” acknowledging that Fuente could get the ship righted in 2021, though the media doesn’t seem to think so, picking the Hokies third in the ACC Coastal, which makes you think, 8-4 season, give or take.

It’s starting to get to be distant past to when Tech won 10 games or more every year, but we’re not quite there yet.

In any case, ADs are judged, up or down, on how the big sport on campus is going.

This fall had better go well, or this is another extension that Tech Athletics is going to regret.

Story by Chris Graham