Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 15 No. 3 | December 2022

28 Inside Hokie Sports Monogram Club Executive Director In August 2022 Director of Athletics Whit Babcock informed the Board of Directors that Reyna Gilbert-Lowry was recommended to replace Shelbylynn Adair as the Executive Director for the Club, who recently accepted a head volleyball coaching position at Ferrum College. So, we have bid Shelbylynn success as a head coach and have greeted Reyna with a Hello—Welcome to the Club! Reyna Gilbert-Lowry is newly appointed as Senior Associate Athletic Director with primary focus on Inclusive Excellence & Alumni Engagement at Virginia Tech, as well as being the Senior Woman Administrator! Reyna is a four-year student-athlete letter winner in gymnastics at Northern Illinois University (’98- ’01). She was named Alpha Phi Alpha Athlete of the Year Award in 1998; was All-MAC for 3 years; competed in the NCAA regionals championships in 2000; and was named MVP in her junior season at NIU. Reyna has BS degree (Psychology) from NIU and MS degree (Sport & Exercise Psychology) from Ball State in 2004. Reyna has been at Virginia Tech since 2008. All alumni athletes are urged to WELCOME her to the Club! ( Shelbylynn Adair has returned to her coaching career as Head Coach for Women’s Volleyball at Ferrum College and has completed her team’s first year of D-3 competition in the ODAC conference. Her past coaching career over the period of 2004-17 included Virginia Tech Associate Head Volleyball Coach and Recruiting Coordinator (2010-17) and Virginia Tech Assistant Volleyball Coach (2006-10), preceded by Assistant Volleyball Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Towson University and Assistant Volleyball Coach at University of Maryland Baltimore County. She was a fouryear letter winner in women’s basketball and a three-year letter winner in volleyball at George Mason University and a grad letter-winner in volleyball at Georgia State University. She has a BA cum laude (Sociology) from George Mason (’03) and MS (Education) summa cum laude from Virginia Tech (’08). She owns and operates New River Events (NeRVE), which promotes and executes highly competitive and fun youth volleyball tournaments in the New River Valley. While continuing to live in Blacksburg, look for her occasionally on campus and around town! Good Luck to Shelbylynn as she returns to the volleyball court as a head coach! ( VOLLEYBALL Reunion —On the weekend of November 4-5, the Virginia Tech women’s volleyball team and the Monogram Club hosted several events to celebrate women’s volleyball at Virginia Tech! Over 30 alumnae-athletes came from all over the US to reconnect with former teammates and enjoy time back on campus. The volleyball alumnae weekend began with a match Friday evening in Cassell Coliseum with Virginia Tech vs. Duke. It was a great start to the weekend as Tech defeated Duke in four sets! The alumnae were welcomed on the court to participate in the first serve and were shown appreciation by the volleyball program with a commemorative t-shirt, Hokie candy and a welcome-back cake at the end of the match. After the match, the Monogram Club sponsored a social at Bull and Bones in Blacksburg with food and drink. It was attended by many! On Nov. 5, Michelle Hall ’92 (, the volleyball rep on the Monogram Club, hosted the Club tailgate next to Cassell Coliseum before the Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech football game. It was a very well attended and high-spirited gathering where Virginia Tech volleyball, lacrosse and men’s and women’s tennis alumni also joined in the tailgate fun! SPIRIT The following storyline– Fighting Gobbler and the Head Cheerleader, a #HokieLove story —is about two Hokies from the 70s: Gail Sandridge — ’74 and Bill Harrell —originally ’72 and ultimately ’77! Spirit Director, Mary-Catherine S t e i g e r w a l d — ’ 1 0 ( brings us a great article on two Spirit alumni and their travels through time! It goes like this… It was September 1970 when Gail, a freshman girl from Florida, took archery and never imagined that class would change her life forever. They were attracted to each other that first day, but their eyes never met. It was the second day of class when their eyes met as Gail came through the door. Bill patted the seat next to him; he had saved it just for her. They both recall vividly the first time he ‘walked her home’ from the Duck Pond to Johnson Hall. They chatted along the way, Bill on his 10-speed bike, Gail on foot. Somewhere along the sidewalk in front of Campbell Hall, the conversation went as flows: “You’re not making very good time”; “Oh, I don’t know about that.”; “I mean, you’re not getting anywhere fast.”; “Oh, I don’t know about that.” Fromthenon they both knew. Bill gaveher anonyx dinner ringat RingDance in the Spring of 1971. No proposal necessary. They will marry someday. Bill was the Head Cheerleader and Gail became the first Fighting Gobbler mascot at Homecoming, October 17, 1971. The wedding date was set for September 24, 1972. Bill became 1-A as to draft status in the summer of 1972 and everything changed. He received his draft notice in early September. He headed to the US Army, and Gail headed to Walt Disney World to become the first woman in full character costume. Their lives went in very different directions. They reunited over the next few years. Once at another cheerleader’s wedding in St. Louis in 1977. By then, Gail had become a TWA International Flight Attendant based in NYC and Bill was Assistant Athletic Director for Parks and Recreation in Portsmouth, VA, his hometown. Decades faded by, but their love never did. In the Summer of 2007, Gail wrote a letter to the Editor of the Virginia Tech Magazine in an effort to find Bill. No luck. She wanted him to know he was the love of her life. The day after Christmas of 2011, Bill got an email that Gail had left him a message on his dormant Facebook page. They wrote letters and eventually talked on the phone. It was as if no time had passed. On September 24, 2022, fifty years from the original date, they wed late in the morning at the Duck Pond, where they first fell in love. Thanks to Bill Harrell and Gail Ward for sharing their life-long story with all alumni athletes! WOMEN’S GOLF Whitney Herr–’17, Women’s Golf Representative, wishes to give a shout out to Virginia Tech alumnus, John Clary (’72), affectionately known to many in Blacksburg as “Earl”. Clary has shown unyielding commitment to bringing the tradition of Brunswick County, Va., to people of all backgrounds, most notably through the culture and charm of Brunswick stew. Perhaps you have been by Cassell Coliseum the Friday before the Spring Game and encountered a gaggle of locals stirring 300 gallons of chicken and hearty vegetables with a Maplewood paddle. Stew master John Clary and company had been preparing the stew since 4 AM in order to serve passersby warm stew at lunchtime. According to Clary, this tradition was born in 1989 under Frank Beamer—’69 when a friend asked if he would share a meal with the football team. Today the event brings together people from all walks of the university. Volleyball Alumnae-Athletes at November 2022 Reunion following VT Victory in VB over Duke! Bill Harrell (Head VT Cheerleader in ’72) and Gail Ward (1st Fighting Gobbler mascot – ’72) on their 2022 Duck-Pond Wedding Day!