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December 15, 2011

Hokie Club News

By: Brian Thornburg

Hokies Handle Appalachian State in Home Opener

Erik Spjut dominated ASU's Tony Gravely to help the 14th-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling team win its home opener 24-16 over the Mountaineers

The Student-Athlete Experience

“It has been a great opportunity that I have been given to come to Virginia Tech to compete both athletically and academically. I know that once I enter life after college, I will have been prepared for the challenges that await.” Jarrod Garnett, Senior, Wrestling

“Thank you for making my five years at Virginia Tech possible. It has been the best experience of my life and I will be forever grateful.” David Marone, Wrestling, Senior

The Donor File

Name: David G. Smith

Hokie Club Level: Golden

Hokie Club member since: 1998

Currently resides: Waxhaw, N.C. (Charlotte area)

What year did you graduate? 1982

Family: wife – Lisa; son – Samuel

Being a member of the Hokie Club and supporting Virginia Tech athletics is important to me and my family because
we feel it’s important to give back to the university to help fund scholarships. I understand the benefit of a scholarship since I was a student manager with the football team from 1978 to 1982 and earned partial scholarships while working for the team. With education costs continuing to rise, we have to help, if we’re in a position to do so.

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?
Yes. The moment evolved over time while watching the Don Strock teams of the early 1970’s. I grew up in Marion, Va., and my mom and dad took me to a lot of games when I was a youngster. Becoming a Hokie was “cemented” in me when we won the ’73 NIT championship over Notre Dame. Bobby Stevens’ jumpshot beat the Irish! That was a great day to be a Hokie!

Do you have any game day or tailgating traditions or superstitions? If so, what are they?
Yes. We have a family tradition. Everyone has to wear maroon on game day. Even if it’s a “white out” or “orange out” game, the Smith’s will be there in maroon. Always.

When you drive into Blacksburg for a game, are there any “must do” things for you and your family?
Yes. Even before we get to Blacksburg, when we’re driving up I-77, we always turn on the pregame radio show with Bill and Mike. At that point, it’s time to get our “game face” on. Our routine is that we always turn on 105.3 “The Bear” at the I-77 and I-81 intersection in Fort Chiswell, Va.

Virginia Tech has had a lot of successful teams and wins over the years. Do you have a favorite team/season or game that stands out the most?
It’s the 1999 team that played for the BCS championship. The whole season was very special!

How are you involved with the Charlotte Hokie Club? Has it been a positive experience for you, and what is going on for Hokie Club members in Charlotte?I am currently fortunate enough to be the Charlotte Hokie Club president. It’s been a great experience because I get to deal with other great Hokie people (the reps and all the folks from Blacksburg, including Brian and Lu). The past several years, we have had the privilege to have Coach [Jim] Cavanaugh come speak to our group at our “Recruit Night” event in February. That event has really been a “home run” for us. It’s also exciting to be part of a vibrant community (Charlotte area) while watching our club grow.

My all-time favorite Virginia Tech football player is (player’s name) and my favorite memory of (player’s name) is … defensive end Robert Brown. He was an All-American in 1980 or 1981. He was really, really good. My favorite memory is when he hit Clemson’s quarterback (Homer Jordan) for a huge loss (a de-cleater), and it knocked the ball loose and Homer’s helmet off. Robert went on to have a stellar career with the Green Bay Packers. Robert would fit in well with Coach Foster’s lunch pail defenses these days.

My all-time favorite Virginia Tech student-athlete from another sport is (player’s name) and my favorite memory of (player’s name) is …
basketball’s Dale Solomon.

My favorite memory is when Dale, as a freshman, helped the Hokies win the 1979 Metro basketball tournament. Winning the Metro propelled us to the NCAA tourney, and we got to play a guy named Larry Bird (Indiana State) in the second round.

Hokie Club Year-End Items of Importance

Your football team played hard and provided us all with many exciting moments this fall. It was exciting to watch the Hokies capture the Coastal Division title in Charlottesville with a near-flawless performance. Congratulations to David Wilson on being named ACC Player of the Year, to Blake DeChristopher for winning the Jacobs Blocking Award and to Danny Coale, who won the 2011 James Tatum Award as the top senior athlete in the ACC.

For the 19th consecutive year, Virginia Tech will play in a bowl game, and I hope that you can attend the 78th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic. This will be the Hokies’ fourth Sugar Bowl appearance in New Orleans.

Please make sure that you have made your gift to the Hokie Club prior to the Benefits Deadline of Dec. 31, 2011, to maximize your priority ranking for the reseating of Lane Stadium next spring. Many outstanding players return next year, so the Hokies will be exciting to watch. Plan to be in Blacksburg with the Hokie Nation to catch all of the action.

Online Reseating Information

You will receive instructions in February, 2012, on how to access the new reseating website, become familiar with how it works, and ask questions of staff members well before seat selections in April-May, 2012.

Benefits Deadline: Dec. 31, 2011

Because of the university’s holiday schedule and the bowl game schedule, please make every effort to speak with the Hokie Club staff or visit with our office now. Checks must be postmarked by Dec. 31, 2011, and online contributions must be made at before midnight, Dec. 31, 2011. Please contact the Hokie Club Office at (540) 231-6618 if you have any questions.

Year End Gift Accounting

As we approach year end and enter 2012, the number of gifts received by the Hokie Club typically increase. Because of the added volume of gifts, the amount of time it takes to mail out a gift acknowledgement may increase as well. Our gift accounting staff is working diligently to process and acknowledge all gifts in a timely manner, and we thank you for your patience.

Virginia Tech Athletic Fund Gift Acknowledgements

Once the Hokie Club receives a gift, donors receive a gift acknowledgement letter or receipt. This letter is usually mailed within one to two weeks after the donation is made and serves as your VTAF tax receipt. If you have questions about this gift acknowledgement letter, please contact the Hokie Club at (540) 231-6618.

Updated Point Priority Sheets to be mailed in late January 2012

Once all 2011 gifts are received, processed and acknowledged, the Hokie Club will send out updated point priority sheets to each member. We anticipate that these updated point priority sheets will be mailed to the entire Hokie Club membership in late January, 2012.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season,
Lu Merritt (Senior Director of Development for Intercollegiate Athletics)