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June 23, 2014

News & Notes

By: Jimmy Robertson

Babcock tabs Reed-Francois as executive AD

As part of a restructuring within the athletics department, Tech AD Whit Babcock named Desiree Reed-Francois as an executive associate athletics director.

Reed-Francois oversees all of the external units of the department, including marketing and promotions, athletics communications, ticketing, IMG College and video/HokieVision. She began at Tech on June 16.

A member of Babcock’s staff at the University of Cincinnati, Reed-Francois was named the Bearcats’ interim director of athletics early in 2014 when Babcock left for the AD job at Tech, making her the first Hispanic female (interim) director of athletics in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision. Prior to the appointment, she served as the senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Cincinnati in 2013, with duties that included direct oversight of the football, women’s basketball and volleyball programs in addition to the sports communications, marketing and promotions and video services and production departments. She also led the department’s strategic planning initiatives and assisted in management of external partnerships.

Prior to working at Cincinnati, Reed-Francois spent four years (2008-12) at the University of Tennessee, where she advanced from associate AD for strategic initiatives to senior associate AD for strategic planning and initiatives. During her 15 years in intercollegiate athletics administration, Reed-Francois has also occupied positions at the University of California, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Fresno State and the University of San Francisco.

A 1994 graduate of UCLA and a member of the Bruins’ rowing team, Reed-Francois earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona College of Law. She will be joined in Blacksburg by her husband, Joshua, and son, Jackson.

Construction begins on indoor practice facility

The Tech athletics department received the proper permits, and on June 9, workers from W.M. Jordan Company began work toward the construction of the Hokies’ new indoor practice facility.

In the first week, workers installed security fencing around the perimeter of Tech’s Steve Johnson Practice Fields and set two trailers that serve as construction headquarters during the project. One of the practice fields – the one adjacent to Tech’s football locker room – is the site of the new facility.

Workers also tore down the fencing surrounding that particular practice field, and they dug up the access road that leads around the practice fields and to the equipment room loading and unloading dock. They took down the video (and coaches) tower, dug up the concrete base of the tower, and started taking down the light poles that lit that particular field.

Tech’s football staff plans to conduct practices on the other field, which can be converted into two smaller fields, during construction. They also have access to Lane Stadium, if needed.

The facility, which is being designed by HKS Architects, will be 210 feet wide, 400 feet long and 85 feet high to allow plenty of room for kicking and punting. It also features artificial turf, eight-foot padded walls, wide sidelines, a full scoreboard and 40-second clocks, all of which allow for full scrimmaging.

Athletics department officials expect the cost to be around $21.3 million. They expect the project to be completed by August of next year in time for the 2015 football season.

Tech with strong numbers in NCAA APR program

Two Tech sports programs finished with a perfect multi-year 1,000 APR score according to data released by the NCAA on May 14.

The APR, which stands for Academic Progress Rate, is a scorecard that tracks classroom performance of Division I sports teams, and it takes into account eligibility and retention of student-athletes over a four-year period for each team in each sport. Teams must meet a certain academic threshold to qualify for the postseason, and they also can face penalties for continued low academic performance. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-2012 and 2012-13 academic years.

The Tech golf and women’s soccer teams recorded the 1,000 scores and received Public Recognition Awards, which go to a team with an APR in the top 10 of its respective sport.

In addition to having two teams with perfect multi-year APR scores, Tech had two other teams that scored 990 or better. This group included the men’s tennis (993) and men’s cross country (993) teams. The Tech men’s tennis team ranked tied for third in the ACC, while the men’s cross country team was tied for sixth.

The Tech football program scored 977 for its multi-year APR – its highest score ever. Tech eclipsed its previous best score for the seventh straight year.