User ID: Password:

June 21, 2012

Hokie Club

By: Brian Thornburg

Setting the bar high

Ronnie Black owns the school record in the high jump and finished ninth at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held in early June in Des Moines, Iowa.

The student-athlete experience

“In all our efforts to represent Virginia Tech as student-athletes, it’s an honor to know we are backed by the Hokie Club and its many contributions.”

Ronnie Black | Junior, Track and Field

“Thank you, Virginia Tech, for allowing me to give back to our community and leave Hokie footprints that last forever.”

Aunye Boone | Senior, Track and Field

The Donor File

Hokie Club Level: Hokie Century Champion

Hokie Club member since: 1972

Currently resides: Burkeville, Va.

What year did you graduate? 1964

Q: Being a member of the Hokie Club and supporting Virginia Tech athletics is important to me because …

A: I feel that I have been able to play a small part to help nurture the young men and women student-athletes in and beyond their athletic abilities. So many of them might not have had the opportunity to attend and graduate from Virginia Tech without the support from the Hokie Club.

Q: 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?

A: I realized during my “rat” year at VPI in 1961 that I was such a big fan of Virginia Tech athletics. We endured a lot of discipline in the classroom and on campus during the week, and home games in Blacksburg and Roanoke were a big relief.

Q: Do you have any game day or tailgating traditions or superstitions? If so, what are they?

A: Tailgating on game day always starts in Lot 1 at least three hours prior to the game. It is customary that one of the fine young men from the German Club is always there to meet us with our game day programs. We get parked in time to get the day’s fare and decorations set up and to get up to see the team and the Highty Tighties parade up Spring Road to Jamerson Athletics Center and the Cassell.

Q: What has been your favorite moment in being a part of Virginia Tech athletics?

A: My favorite season/team would be going undefeated in football during the regular season of 1999. I don’t recall that there were any real expectations of the team prior to the season, but they made every game exciting, even the national championship game against FSU.

Q: What has been your favorite game?

A: My favorite game was playing Virginia in 1990 in Blacksburg. The “Hoos” were having a tremendous year. They were ranked No. 1 for several weeks during that season and had already been selected to play in the Sugar Bowl for the postseason. It was one of the few seasons during Coach Beamer’s tenure that we were not invited to a bowl. Our game was nationally televised by ESPN and we “thumped ‘em” 38-13. The sugar cubes were flying all over Lane Stadium and throughout Montgomery County that evening.

Q: Name your all-time favorite Virginia Tech football player and describe your favorite memory of him.

A: My all-time favorite Virginia Tech football player is Jeff King from Pulaski. His senior season was a highlight. He had 26 catches and six touchdowns. He caught a touchdown pass in four consecutive games, which must be a record. How about when he blocked that Georgia Tech field goal that the Hokies scored on?

Letter from Lu

Virginia Tech concluded another outstanding academic year on May 18 with commencement ceremonies in Lane Stadium. We bid goodbye to an outstanding class of Hokies and student-athletes. It has been an excellent spring for our sports teams, as the track and field squad participated in the national championships and so did our golf team. Women’s softball made it to the ACC championship game and advanced to NCAA play. The Hokies men’s tennis team also earned an NCAA bid this spring. Many of our athletes made the All-ACC team and the All-ACC academic team, as announced by the conference commissioner. Congratulations to Ned Skinner and Dave Cianelli, who were named ACC Coach of the Year in their respective sports.

Fundraising continues to do well, as gifts received from July 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012 total $23,493,398, an increase of $5,232,380 when compared to the same period one year ago. With two months left in the fiscal year, we are scheduled to record another excellent year of results. Thank you to all of you who increased your support for the Annual Fund, athletic endowments and our capital projects. The cost to attend Virginia Tech is rising each year, and your support helps us to meet that challenge. Growing the Annual Fund and increasing the number of endowed scholarships is very important.

The Hokie Club staff also was busy with the annual Orange and Maroon Tour, which occurred in late April and May. The tour is a wonderful opportunity for us to say thank you and to bring our athletics administrators and coaches out to your hometowns for golf and fellowship. Our sincere thanks goes to all of the volunteers and sponsors who helped to make the events a success. I know that our coaches enjoyed being there and spending time with you.

The reseating of Lane Stadium is now complete, and we are very pleased with the process. Most of you went online to utilize the new software product that we used for reseating. We enjoyed seeing those of you who chose to visit Lane Stadium and select your seats with our staff and local volunteers. We have received many compliments on the process and on the help offered by the reseating staff. We strive every day to be the best we can be at everything we do, and it was rewarding for our staff to work with you, whether in person or by phone. We really enjoyed the opportunity to serve you. This process was more technologically driven than our first attempt at reseating Lane Stadium seven years ago, and we sincerely hope that these technology advances enhanced the process for you and that the selection process was comfortable for you.

As we catch our breath during summer, we are beginning to look forward to July for our annual Summer Leadership Meetings, the three “Beamer” dinners in Roanoke, Virginia Beach and Richmond, and the Hackin’ Hokies Too event at The Homestead. August and the Welcome Back picnic for the football team will be here before you know it. Have a great summer, and I hope that our paths will cross along the way. Thank you for your continued fine support. Your gifts ARE making a difference!

Go Hokies,
Lu Merritt
Senior Director of Development for Intercollegiate Athletics