14 Inside Hokie Sports “They say ‘Hokie Family’ a lot here and I think that is something that’s even better now,” said Gray. “When I look back at my freshman year to now, I think it’s a better community than it was when I first made it here. I think Tech does a great job with making everything equal.” Gray was connected to Virginia Tech not just through her athletic career, but through her academic career as well. Within the budding sports media and analytics program at Virginia Tech, Emily found a passion for broadcasting. “When it did become a major, I was over the moon,” Gray said. “Bill Roth (who leads the program) was always in good communication with me and supported my journey.” One of the coolest experiences for Gray as a broadcaster was when she would receive feedback from other soccer players. Their reaction was overwhelmingly positive, especially as her career went on. “A lot of [the men’s players] would come up to me and be like, ‘Hey Emily! It was really cool how you saw that. That was exactly what our game plan was,’” Gray said. “I see the game better because of that.” With everything Emily Gray accomplished and experienced during her four years at Virginia Tech, she’s still intent on giving back as a Hokie alumna. She especially wants to encourage the path of both women’s soccer and becoming a female broadcaster at Tech. While her soccer career provided Emily with some of her favorite college experiences, so did the opportunities she pursued off the pitch in Blacksburg. Gray participated in many organizations that were affiliated with the Virginia Tech athletics department, like HokieVision, Hokie Women RISE, and SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee). “We want women to grow while they’re here as overall people, that’s first and foremost for us,” Adair said. “Emily was really open and bought into what we tried to do as a staff and as a program.” For Gray, the opportunities she took advantage of during her time as a Hokie supported her in many different ways off the field. They strengthened her relationships with the support staff, connected her to multiple career pathways and established her brand as an involved student-athlete. “There’s always at least one percent of [organization meetings] that you’re going to take away and store in your brain that will help you out for years to come,” Gray said. In addition to the general opportunities that came with being a student-athlete at Virginia Tech, the influence of Title IX—which paved the way for equality in women’s college athletics in 1972—has played a significant role in shaping Gray’s collegiate development. To Gray, Virginia Tech has made a point of emphasis to recognize and work towards fairness across all men’s and women’s athletics. A TRUE PIONEER: EMILY GRAY PAVING THE WAY FOR THE FUTURE OF WOMEN’S ATHLETICS IN BLACKSBURG Continued from page 13 Emily Gray answers the phone from North Carolina Courage head coach Sean Nahas after being selected No. 3 overall during the 2022 NWSL Draft.