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June 14, 2011

Supporting Virgina Tech Athletics Since 1949

By: Brian Thornburg

Down by the river

The Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech was the host for the NCAA regional on May 19-21. The course proved to be not only a beautiful place to hold a national event; but also showed that it could be fair and tough to elite golfers. The Hokies finished sixth.

“My time at Virginia Tech has been great. I want to thank all Hokie Club members for their support.”

Blake Redmond - Junior - Golf

“Virginia Tech was a four-year experience where I made a lifetime of memories and relationships on and off the golf course. Thank you, and I will always be a Hokie!”

Aaron Eckstein - Senior - Golf

Donor File

Name: Marshall Bates

Hokie Club Level: Platinum

Hokie Club member since: Around 1979

Currently Resides: Cary, N.C.

What year did you graduate? 1970

Family: Wife – Tink; Daughter – Danielle (VT 2003, 2005); Son – Chad

Being a member of the Hokie Club and supporting Virginia Tech athletics is important to me and my family because … the Hokie Club is a superb way of giving back to a great university. Athletics remain a large part of the student experience, and I believe alumni should support that for future Hokies.

What makes the Research Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) such a great community for the Hokies? Cary and the Triangle area of North Carolina has been a great place for us. It became greater in 2004 when VT joined the ranks of ACC members. Our local Raleigh-Durham Hokie Club has grown over the years!

Do you have a specific moment when you realized that you were a fan of Virginia Tech athletics and knew without a doubt that you were a Hokie? The first football game in September of 1965 sitting in a brand new, almost finished Lane Stadium was all it took for a new freshman to be a lifelong Hokie.

Do you have any game day or tailgating traditions or superstitions? If so, what are they? Simply tailgating with family and friends. Several of us park together, and we have seen sons and daughters go through the Tech experience. Football weekends have grown from a bag of peanuts and a case of adult beverages to what is a grand experience today. Playing the Tech Triumph CD is mandatory as we drive to the parking lot.

When you drive into Blacksburg for a game, are there any “must-do” things for you and your family? Getting the tailgate materials ready is the first order of business, and then relax and be prepared for the game.

Over the past decade, Virginia Tech athletics has undertaken tremendous facilities growth and renovations. Do you have a favorite project? Why? The expansion of Lane Stadium. Sitting in Lane Stadium for the first game in September of 1965, I couldn’t imagine what it looks like today.

Looking forward at the upcoming 2011-12 academic year, what athletics event or game are you looking forward to the most and why? The Miami game – it’s always a battle on the field.

My all-time favorite Virginia Tech football player is Frank Loria and my favorite memory of that player is … watching Frank Loria return punts like none other. He was the most electric player of that era. His magnificent return against the University of Miami was the highlight of that game for all of us.

My all-time favorite Virginia Tech student-athlete from another sport is Duke Thorpe and my favorite memory of Duke is … Duke Thorpe was a remarkable basketball player who seemed to deliver the timely score or needed rebound.

Letter From Lu

The 2011 year marks the 140th of Virginia Tech, and the university proudly celebrated commencement May 13. Now, here on campus, it is on to summer time for numerous sports camps, vacations, and for some Hokie student-athletes, a chance to get ahead by attending summer school and preparing for the fall semester.

Let me express my appreciation to all of you for your great support of the athletics program through your generous gifts and your attendance at our games both here in Blacksburg and on the road. It has been another successful year for Virginia Tech athletics.

When all of our students return to campus for the start of classes on August 22, the VTAF will have been billed for the fall tuition payment. The Board of Visitors recently voted to increase the cost to attend Virginia Tech, and as a result, the tuition bill for athletics will be higher. The VTAF pays the $10 million scholarship bill from the annual fund (79 percent) and from earnings from the Athletic Endowment Fund (21 percent). It is important that we continue to grow the annual fund and seek new endowment gifts so that we can continue to fulfill our commitment to the student-athletes. Our members give for a variety of reasons, and whether your reason is to give back to the university that gave you so much, or whether it is because you love Hokie athletics and you want to play your part to help the program succeed, or whether it is to receive that prime seat and parking location, you are helping the Hokie Club to fulfill its mission of providing the best for our student-athletes. I hope that you will continue to maintain, if not increase, your annual support.

Speaking of our student-athletes, several teams finished the spring season on a high note as both the men’s tennis team and the golf team advanced to NCAA play. The tennis team defeated Vanderbilt before losing to No. 3 Tennessee in the second round. Virginia Tech was the host of one of the NCAA golf regionals at the Pete Dye River Course at Virginia Tech and finished sixth among 13 teams, just missing advancing to the finals by three strokes. Men’s and women’s track and field also sent a large contingent to the NCAAs, with two student-athletes winning national championships.

Virginia Tech’s athletics teams put together an impressive performance in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) program according to data released by the NCAA. This scorecard tracks classroom performance of Division I teams and takes into account eligibility and retention of student-athletes over a four-year period. The most recent APR scores are based on 2006-2010 academic years. Tech's combined four-year rate of 981 is 11 points better than the national average of 970. Three Tech teams finished with perfect 1,000 scores – men’s tennis, men’s cross country and golf. This is men’s cross country’s third straight year of perfect performance and the second straight year for golf. Women’s swimming (998), women’s soccer (992), lacrosse (992) and volleyball (990) were close to perfection. The Hokies’ football team scored a 955, while men’s basketball came in at 985, tied for second among ACC schools.

Tennis players Martha Blakely and Pedro Graber earned first-team Academic All-America honors. To qualify, an athlete must have a minimum 3.3 GPA and be a starter or significant reserve. Blakely, who played at No. 2 singles, is majoring in biochemistry, chemistry and mathematics, while Graber, who played at No. 3 singles, is an industrial and systems engineering major.

The 2011 edition of the Orange and Maroon Tour was a big success as 17 Hokie Clubs were the hosts of events. I want to thank all of the people who attended and supported the events. Special thanks go out to the sponsors and those who bid on the various auction items. I know that our coaches and staff had a great time and they appreciate the warm welcome at each location.

We have announced the reseating of Lane Stadium in 2012 and Cassell Coliseum in 2013. It has been seven years since we initially conducted a reseating of these facilities and over $218 million has been raised in support of our athletic programs.

I will provide more information in future articles on the reseating process, as our committee is currently hard at work preparing for the process. It will be very similar to the initial reseating, with emphasis placed on the loyalty ladder and each member’s giving history being rewarded in terms of priority rankings.

We are all fortunate to be living in and enjoying the best fields of Virginia Tech athletics. Our 21 varsity teams are competitive on the courts and field of play and are excelling in the classroom. I feel like your financial gifts are well spent educating and supporting these outstanding young men and women.

Have a great summer and please stop by and see us if your travels bring you to Blacksburg.

Go Hokies!