Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 14 No. 3 | December 2021

Dear Hokie Nation, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of our student-athletes as we begin the transition to winter sports from the fall season. You all swarmed our venues in the fall to celebrate some huge victories for our programs, and I hope we can continue to do that in the winter as well. In my time here at Virginia Tech, Hokie Nation never fails to show that they are the most energetic and passionate fanbase in collegiate athletics. After a careful search, I am pleased to say we have found a great leader for our football program in Brent Pry. He is a proven winner and leader of student-athletes, and I could not be more optimistic about the future of our program under his direction. He developed some of the toughest defenses in college football while the defensive coordinator at Penn State. Additionally, his impressive track record of recruiting Virginia made him an attractive candidate for this role. I know he will be able to keep the best in-state recruits home in Blacksburg and trend our program from a contender to a champion brand in the ACC. I cannot wait to see him lead our student-athletes onto Worsham Field in Lane Stadium next fall in front of all of Hokie Nation. We should take a moment to recognize some of the great successes we have achieved in Blacksburg over the past few months. Men’s Soccer culminated a hard-fought regular season for a trip to the program’s sixth consecutive NCAA tournament berth. Women’s Soccer achieved its highest point total in the ACC in six years and qualified for a well-deserved trip to the NCAA’s. These two teams electrified the crowd at Thompson Field, and I am extremely proud of the efforts of both Coach Mike Brizendine’s and Coach Chugger Adair’s teams this year. I also want to recognize the efforts of interim head football coach JC Price. He represented our university in the greatest fashion with a win over Virginia, and I’m excited to see him lead us not only in our bowl game, but as a member of Coach Pry’s staff as well. As we usher in the winter sports season, we cannot wait to have you back in Cassell Coliseum to bolster the championship goals for wrestling and basketball. Virginia Tech fans create an electric atmosphere inside of Cassell that propels our student- athletes to sink the long three-balls and hammer down a crucial pin. Mobile ticketing will ensure a convenient, secure process into entering the facility. In addition to mobile ticketing, cashless concessions and more fan-friendly prices will assist in manifesting the best possible fan experience for those who make the trip to Cassell. I was proud of our fans’ compliance and flexibility to keep with the masking policy during the fall seasons, and I hope we can do the same in Cassell. We are inching closer to our “Drive for 25” goal of reaching 25,000 Hokie Club members. As of December 1 we stood at 19,544 Hokie Club members for Drive Year 2022. With some gift renewals still outstanding and our continued push for acquiring new donors, we feel confident in where we are headed. This is essential to our vision of raising a top-tier ACC athletic budget. This is incredibly important as we strive to make the shift from a contender to a champion brand in college sports. It’s going to take all of us to reach this number, and we are so close to achieving our goal after launching the campaign just 4 years ago. Our athletics department is rolling on the wave of some financial momentum in our “Reach for Excellence” campaign. Six months into our six-year drive to garner $400 million for Hokies student-athletes, we have already raised $170 million. This is a tremendous jump for our department, but we aren’t done yet. We can keep this momentum going, and all of Hokie Nation can help us reach this number. Our areas of focus continue to be the football enhancement fund, renovations for Cassell Coliseum, scholarship endowments, and the comprehensive excellence of all sports. Thank you for your unbridled support and incomparable passion for Virginia Tech Athletics. We are so lucky to have the greatest fans in the country wearing Orange and Maroon! Go Hokies! Whit Babcock Director of Athletics A W ORD FROM W HIT 2