Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 14 No. 4 | February 2022

BRENT PRY HEAD COACH discusses coaching staff, recruiting & more Vol. 14 No. 4, February 2022 The Official Publication of Virginia Tech Athletics are you to care for athletes? Join the more than 430 Virginia Tech alumni who were inspired to attend the private state-of-the-art osteopathic medical school in Blacksburg,Virginia. VCOM is a proud partner of Virginia Tech athletics and has a Sports Medicine Fellowship program with physicians who provide care for Hokie athletes. Visit us online to find out how you will be inspired... Visi t for a copy of our Outcomes Report. ©2022 Edward Via Col lege of Osteopathic Medicine. Al l r ights reserved. VCOM is cert i f ied by the State Counci l of Higher Educat ion to operate in Vi rginia.

Published by the Virginia Tech Athletics Department • Inside Hokie Sports (ISSN 8750-9148, periodical postage paid at Blacksburg, VA 24060 and additional mailing offices) covers Virginia Tech athletics and is published six times annually. The publisher is the Virginia Tech Athletics Department, 21 Beamer Way, Blacksburg, VA 24061. Mail all address changes, written inquiries and complaints to Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, P.O. Box 10307, Blacksburg, VA 24062-0307 or call 540-231-6618. Inside Hokie Sports assumes no responsibility for companies and persons who advertise in this publication. Reproduction of contents in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Publisher does not guarantee accuracy of information contained in any advertisement. ATTN POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, P.O. Box 10307, Blacksburg, VA 24062-0307. Printed by Worth Higgins & Associates of Richmond, Virginia. John Sours Designer Dave Knachel Photographer Contributor Clay Brunner Virginia Tech Sports Properties February 2022 Vol. 14, No. 4 *To advertise with Virginia Tech athletics or Inside Hokie Sports, contact Kyler Pilling at Virginia Tech Sports Properties— 540-418-6307 contents 2 A Word from Whit 3 Donor Spotlight 4 After beating cancer on her own, Mary Griffin continues the fight 6 Head Coach Brent Pry discusses coaching staff, recruiting & more 12 Get to Know the Coaching Staff! 14 Skiera ready to hit the ground running in her first season in Blacksburg 18 Hurney’s Home 24 Early Arrival 27 Monogram Club News 29 Inside the Huddle 3 4 6 12 2 18 24 29 14

Dear Hokie Nation, I hope you all are enjoying a happy and healthy start to 2022. We turn the page from 2021 with a great deal of optimism to make this year the most successful in Virginia Tech Athletics history. I could not be more excited to build on the momentum we gathered at the close of the year as a department to excel even more in the year 2022. All of Hokie Nation should be very encouraged about the staff head football coach Brent Pry is building in Blacksburg. The coaches he has brought in offer a fresh, enthusiastic perspective, which I believe is just what our program needs to get in the right direction. Even with the change at the head coach, we were able to hold on to a very talented top 25 recruiting class. I think that really speaks to the work Coach Pry is doing to get these young men to buy into his vision for the success of Virginia Tech Football. There’s a long road ahead, but I know this staff is off to a great start making an impression nationally. We are nearing the most intriguing time of the year for our winter sports. Coach Brooks and Coach Young are currently in the heat of navigating their teams through the ACC gauntlet. I couldn’t be more confident to have those two leading us in the toughest basketball conference in the country. Coach Robie and Hokies Wrestling are off to a strong start, and they have some studentathletes that really have a legitimate chance to win on the grandest stage in Detroit in March. It is truly admirable what those programs accomplished this season in the midst of hurdling the challenges of the pandemic. I also wanted to take the time to thank you for your continued flexibility and compliance with our university’s policies in combating the spread of COVID-19. The health of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and our fans has remained our top priority while devising a plan to have safe attendance at Cassell. We are nearing the stretch before the ACC and NCAA Tournaments, and I hope you can come out to Cassell to cheer them on for some crucial conference games and duals. It’s hard to believe we are on the cusp of kicking off the spring sports season as well. When the weather warms up, which I know it seems like it takes a while in Blacksburg to do, I’ll be excited to see you in the sunshine to cheer on our Hokies. Our spring sports programs have been working hard all offseason to make an impression in 2022. I’m confident that some great things will be achieved at Tech Softball Park, English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park, Thompson Field, Johnson/Miller Track Complex, and the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center by the end of May. I am proud to say we are nearing the completion of our “Drive for 25” campaign to reach 25,000 Hokie Club members. When we set this goal in 2016 when we only had around 9,500 members of the Hokie Club. Seeing us reach that threshold six years later will be a celebration of the hard work by our staff, but also a reminder that we can do even more to ensure the best possible studentathlete experience in Blacksburg. It’s also a testament to the dedication of our fans who helped us rise to the occasion on our quest to become a top-tier athletic department in the ACC. We still have our eyes set on our $400 million “Reach for Excellence” campaign, an effort that has raised almost $180 million only six months after the launch. We have momentum, but we still need all of Hokie Nation behind us to fuel this effort to bolster the Football Enhancement Fund, renovation project for Cassell Coliseum, scholarship endowments, and the success of all of our sports. If you’re planning on giving to the Hokie Scholarship Fund, please consider the upcoming March 31st deadline to be eligible for the benefits we can provide for you. The year 2022 has the potential to be one of our most successful years in the history of Virginia Tech Athletics. Thank you for your unwavering support of our student-athletes. Go Hokies! Whit Babcock Director of Athletics 2 A WORD FROM WHIT 3 Brooke and Cody Morton are passionate Hokie Club members from Bloomington, Md. They routinely make the four-hour trip to Blacksburg for home football games and the occasional basketball game. DONOR STATS Football Season Ticket Holder since: 2015 Hokie Club member since: 2017 Hokie Scholarship Fund Membership level: Bronze Q: Why do you all give to Virginia Tech Athletics? CM: I’ve been passionate about Virginia Tech for over 20 years now. I became a fan because of Michael Vick, and just stuck with it after that. Brooke kind of inherited her fandom through me. We give back to return the favor for the enjoyment we get out of watching all the games. The student-athletes give their all on the field, so the fans should give back too. Q: What do both of you guys do for work? BM: I’m a nurse and I’m also an educator. I teach in the nursing program at the Allegany College of Maryland. CM: And I’m a Senior Reimbursement Analyst, which is a fancy way of saying “I’m an accountant.” Q: Do you guys get to come down from Maryland to Blacksburg often? BM: We are usually there for every single home football game. CM: Oh yeah, every single home football game. We try to make a few trips for basketball as well if our schedule and the weather allows us to get down there. Q: What’s your favorite memory of Virginia Tech Football then? BM: I would have to say my first ever Tech Football game. It was Coach Beamer’s last home game in 2015 vs. UNC. CM: We got field passes from the Hokie Club for Enter Sandman for the season opener vs. Carolina in 2021. We got to be on the field when the team ran out, so that was quite the experience all around. Q: Have you had any cool interactions with any notable Hokies? BM: Oh definitely some with Frank Beamer. CM: We randomly ran into Coach Beamer. It was before the 2016 Miami game, and we were walking through a horde of people. Everybody and their brother was trying to get a picture with him, and luckily we did. Q: Are you guys still planning on making the trip down for the 2022 season? CM: Oh absolutely. We have three season tickets, and Brooke is actually pregnant and due in May. So we have tickets for all three of us. My dad is actually a WVU fan, so we’ll have to see who wins that third ticket, the baby or him. Q: What would you say to people who are interested in joining the Hokie Club? CM: It has helped us live out some really cool experiences, and you can develop some really cool relationships out of it. Virginia Tech’s whole motto is Ut Prosim, “That I May Serve,” and that’s the ultimate way to do that. To give back and benefit a ton of people. DONOR SPOTLIGHT

4 Inside Hokie Sports After beating cancer on her own, By Bailey Angle continues the fight Mary Griffin Michaela McCarthy Mary Griffin didn’t let a cancer diagnosis in the middle of her sophomore year freeze her ambitions at Virginia Tech. Now, almost a year and a half later, the junior defender for Virginia Tech Lacrosse has her focus set on a successful 2022 season while spearheading some important charitable efforts. Griffin felt sharp pains in a preseason workout months before the start of her sophomore campaign with the Hokies. After consulting with the team’s athletic training staff, an abdominal scan discovered a lump on her pancreas. “I remember the first question I asked was ‘Am I going to die?’,” said Griffin, who was originally diagnosed with NET cancer on her pancreas by her doctor over a Zoom call. The Sykessville, Md. native was fighting a COVID-19 infection and in isolation at the time of her diagnosis. Luckily, the diagnosis came with total optimism from Griffin’s doctor that the cancer was treatable. Surgeons were able to successfully remove the malignant tumor in November 2020. Griffin returned to campus in 2021 ready to make that challenging hurdle back to normalcy. Combining the effects of her recovery efforts and the pandemic, she had been isolated from the traditional experiences of a student-athlete. That all changed when she reunited with her teammates. “What really helped me was getting back to school and being surrounded by our coaches, trainers, and teammates. It gave me structure. Week by week I got back into more drills and I tried to push myself very very hard.” Slowly but surely, Griffin was able to be slowly reintroduced to team activities. Her hard work to rehabilitate was evident enough to get her back onto the field for the Hokies. On February 12, 2021, four months after being diagnosed with cancer, Griffin jogged onto the field and played in Tech’s 13-5 win over Liberty in Lynchburg. While she was being reintroduced to the normal schedule of a Virginia Tech Lacrosse student-athlete, she connected with Pat Collelouri, an executive with the HEADstrong Foundation. The organization is dedicated to assisting families going through cancer treatment with financial, residential, and emotional resources. Griffin was named one of two “heroes” for the foundation in 2021, and became involved in fundraising for HEADStrong. She helped lead the foundation’s four week “Game Hair Havoc” fundraising initiative, which raised $108,000 nationwide. Griffin got Hokies Lacrosse involved in the campaign during their home game vs. Louisville. Her entire team rallied around her charitable effort by wearing green and blue ribbons, the official colors of HEADstrong, in their hair during the game vs. the Cardinals. Griffin plans to continue representing the foundation by donning lime green laces on her cleats during the 2022 season. “The game was a good reminder that we were playing for a bigger reason than ourselves. HEADstrong has been around awhile, but now that I’m a part of it, their work has a whole new meaning to me. They do a great job of bringing the lacrosse community together.” Griffin is currently involved in the planning of a Game Hair Havoc dedication game during the Hokies’ 2022 season. Mary Griffin 5 Hokie fans, remember to make your Hokie Scholarship Fund gift by the March 31 deadline! Your donation helps provide the resources necessary to fund the growing expenses of student-athletes’ scholarships. Be sure to make your gift by 3/31 for your desired giving level to be eligible for priority seating, parking, away football tickets and more! Scan the QR code to give today. Help us continue to Reach for Excellence! SCHOLARSHIP FUND DEADLINE • MARCH 31

HEAD COACH BRENT PRY discusses coaching staff, recruiting & more 6 Inside Hokie Sports Pry indicates primary recruiting focus for Tech will be within a six-hour radius of Blacksburg 7 “I promised myself and others that I trust in this profession that I wouldn’t be hasty (in assembling a staff). That was the advice given to me and that I wanted to do and I was able to stick to my guns and make sure that we hire the right people that are going to mentor this football team and represent us in this community and in this state, represent Virginia Tech and represent Brent Pry. I’m super excited about the guys were able to get to join. “It was important in this process to find coaches that will fit Virginia Tech. It’s really important to me that the men and women we hire identify with Tech and what’s so special about it, the same reason that I was hired. So that was important to me. I think they complement one another. They make us better. The right blend of experience, philosophy, trust in their character and commitment to this program. We’ve got some old hats, we’ve got some young hats. I think the young guys we’ve hired are highly intelligent with a strong football IQ and a really high ceiling. Then there’s some great experience to couple with that, guys that can kind of play off one another in the recruiting process, that was always factored in, ability to recruit the right kind of guys. I want guys that are going to go out there and say you know what, this guy’s right for Virginia Tech and right for us. It was important to hire guys that were familiar with our footprint: the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, East Tennessee, obviously the state of Virginia, the DMV. I do believe that a strong recruiter is a strong recruiter, but relationships help. When you already have those relationships and you’re walking into a school, it goes a long way. So that was factored in, as well. Continued on page 8

8 Inside Hokie Sports “Lastly, and not any less important, I wanted to hire men that would be excited about the opportunity at Virginia Tech. I didn’t hire anybody that wasn’t thrilled and recognized the opportunity to be here and what it can do for them personally and how they can help Virginia Tech. Being excited about the opportunity, that was a critical component to it, as well.” On run game coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Rudolph who joined Tech from Wisconsin “Joe and I obviously had a mutual respect for one another, coaching against Joe in the Big Ten the last several years. I loved what they did with their line play. Joe I knew about from his time at Pitt when he was there with Coach [Paul] Chryst and he’s a Pittsburgh guy. My Dad knew about Joe and there’s kind of some deep roots in knowing about one another. Joe reached out to me, initially, with an interest in the position and it kind of went from there. He was excited about the opportunity for change, for something new. He was excited about the opportunity to get closer to family. He was excited about my vision for Virginia Tech football. He knows a lot about this place. To me, what Joe Rudolph is about and how he coaches his line was exactly what I was looking for. The physical piece, the size, the strength, the maturity. His experience at the position, Joe’s been a play caller in the Big Ten. Then he’s got experience in our footprint. Pittsburgh’s going to be an important area for us. It just makes sense, you kept checking all the boxes, and we kind of recruited each other in this thing.” On what made him believe in offensive coordinator/ tight ends coach Tyler Bowen “Just my relationship with Tyler. He first impressed me as a recruiter. He was one of our ace recruiters at Penn State. He had a heavy hand in getting guys from the DMV and from Virginia. That was where he first impressed me and then just his knowledge of the game. Being around him for multiple years, he’s got a very high football IQ. Coach [James] Franklin and myself felt very strongly about Tyler and what his future looked like. I had the opportunity see it firsthand in our Cotton Bowl. He did a tremendous job, we scored 50+ points, as the play caller in that game. He’s very familiar with the offensive style I wanted to run. So, again, it checked all the boxes. He was my absolute first choice. It did make it a little bit more challenging that [Jacksonville] didn’t release him right away. We thought that would happen and it didn’t. But all in all, certainly worth the wait for Tyler to join us here.” On Bowen not being released immediately by the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars “I had a conversation with the general manager [Trent Baalke] there. Very respectful, I understood the situation they were in. Tyler was able to do some things that led to this job but they asked that he’d be able to finish out the season so we did that. Tyler was involved in conversations with possible candidates for every position offensively.” On his vision for Virginia Tech’s recruiting footprint “Literally, you could take Blacksburg and draw a six-hour radius around it. That’s where we’re honing in first. That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be opportunities in other areas, but we want to be strong in North Carolina and parts of South Carolina. We’re going to be heavy in parts of Pennsylvania. Obviously, the DMV is going to be important, as well. East Tennessee, we’ve got some relationships there even into central Tennessee. When you’re in an area that you can drive into Virginia Tech with your coach or with your family, that’s important to me, especially in this portal era. When somebody is going through a tough time and making tough choices about whether or not to stay at Virginia Tech, I want to have relationships with the coach and with the family, whether it’s the uncle, the parent, coach, mentor or handler. Part of that is those folks coming on visits with them, coming on junior days, coming on official visits, coming when they drop them off at Virginia Tech so that we have a chance to work through difficult times with these young men. That footprint is important for a lot of reasons. I think there’s awful good players in our footprint. I told the staff this morning unless there’s some reason for us to go west of the Mississippi, I told them we’re not doing it. I don’t want to see that you’re traveling to Texas, or you’re traveling to Nebraska, or you’re traveling to California unless there’s some type of relation with Virginia Tech or the state of Virginia. A family member went to Tech, whatever the case is, you maybe used to live in Virginia, used to live in the footprint, best friend is on the roster. If there’s not a reason, we’re not just going to throw darts across the Mississippi.” On recruiting the state of Pennsylvania “I think you can hit the three primary areas and they’re all accessible to Blacksburg. You get into Pittsburgh and do a nice job and obviously I have relationships there as well as some of the staff members. You can really get to Harrisburg pretty quick. I know Harrisburg very well, that was my recruiting area. I’ve signed several young men from Harrisburg in my time at Penn State. Then Philadelphia is a little bit farther, but I also think there’s opportunity there. There are guys on this roster from Philadelphia. I think those are going to be important. You get into Philly, you’re just across the river from New Jersey and have a chance to tap into Jersey a little bit. I think we can get to a lot of good kids in short order.” On hiring offensive recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Fontel Mines off ODU head coach Ricky Rahne’s staff “We went to a Penn State dinner that Coach [James] Franklin puts on at our national convention every year. I walked up and it was Charles Huff, it was Ricky Rahne and it was James and I’ve recently hired men from each one of their staffs. So they said ‘oh you’re not invited at this table.’ So we joked around about it a little bit but obviously I trust those guys and there’s common thread with what I’m looking for with what those guys were looking for so it made sense. When people reached out, particularly about Fontel but you know I knew Deege [Dwight] Galt already from my time at Penn State and it just reinforced it. Ricky said he had done such a great job. Then with Fontel, honestly I was searching for somebody that had strong ties in the state of Virginia. I thought we had really hit the footprint well and I wanted a stamp on this last position, if able to, somebody that had deep roots in the state of Virginia. When you talk about Fontel, he’s from Richmond, he played at UVA, he coached at Richmond for five years, he coached at James Madison and all he’s ever recruited is the state of Virginia. So to me, this was a home run hire in a lot of ways, obviously on the recruiting front. He’s close to a lot of the guys that played here at Tech in the same era. There’s a lot of familiarity with Fontel. He’s an in-state prospect that was recruited hard by Virginia Tech and Virginia. So a lot of folks in Hokie Nation know about Fontel and respect Fontel. Ultimately, my conversation with Ricky Rahne, as well as some others that have worked with Fontel or that he’s worked for. There was a lot of good candidates for that position, let me say, some very good candidates and some with Virginia Tech ties. I was very pleased with the opportunity and the guys that we interviewed.” On hiring defensive analyst Xavier Adibi “I know a lot about Xavier, have had a lot of respect from afar, but also had conversations primarily with Bud Foster about Xavier. Then, once I got on the phone with him, which we talked multiple times, he’s not just a proud Hokie and an a successful Hokie, he’s done a very nice job in a short time in his coaching career, having success, being productive. Obviously, he’s also an additional member to the staff that has strong ties to the state of Virginia. So he checked a ton of boxes and I feel very fortunate to have him and his family coming back to Blacksburg.” Continued from page 7 HEAD COACH BRENT PRY 9 99 Bradley Drive Christiansburg NRV Mall 540-381-8100 Full Service Restaurant Bar & Grill Game Day Catering. Dine in or Room Service Welcome Back HOKIES! On whether he enjoyed the assistant coach hiring process “It was a blast. I love to tell the story about hiring [Sam linebackers/ Nickels coach] Shawn Quinn. Shawn and I have been together in two different places. He’s one of the hardest workers I know, he’s one of the brightest coaches I know, he’s been one of the most loyal friends to me in this profession. He had just never gotten a break that a lot of us look for and are fortunate to have had. So when I called Shawn to tell him that this had worked out and I was going to be the new head coach at Virginia Tech and that he was the first phone call I was making. I got as much enjoyment out of that as the phone call to get the job. It’s an awesome deal to be able to align a group of men and women with people that are like-minded, that value the same things that I do. That’s why it was important to take my time. There was a lot of hirable people out there that would do great things here, friends that I’ve been friends with for years, that didn’t make sense for Virginia Tech. Those were the hard phone calls. I just wasn’t going to hire somebody because I knew them and they were a good coach. It had to make sense for Virginia Tech. I think I was able to do that with each one of these hires.” On how he’s navigated the transfer portal so far “I think we’ve done pretty well. I’m very pleased right now where we’re at with the portal. The guys that will be enrolling this spring. We got four guys right now and we’ve got one or two other possibilities that are still in the works. I feel like we addressed some needs but also we weren’t going to make a hasty decision. There’s going to be more opportunity down the road following spring ball, there’s going to be another wave of this. It gives us a chance to identify our needs a little better going through a winter program, going through spring ball. Okay, what do we really need? Where are we at? Where’s the development at this position? I feel good about it.” On the importance of recruiting the transfer portal “It’s going to be as important as anything else we do in recruitment. I think, in my mind right now, I’m looking at the portal recruitment parallel with high school recruitment. It’s going to be just as important in what we do. There’s going to be as much attention and devotion and resources to it from our recruiting department as there would be for high school recruitment. That’s not to take away from the high school recruitment, we’re going to go sign a really good class of developmental guys each and every year. But we also have to address immediate needs, whether it’s just a need that’s identified or it’s a need because somebody has left the program. Obviously, right now we’re still working through all those rules and calendars with the NCAA on what that looks like. We have somebody leave after spring ball, when are you able to replace that? How can you fix that? That was a real pressing meeting, my first head coach meeting in person in San Antonio was three hours of a lot of portal discussion, NIL discussion and recruiting calendar, signing dates, trying to figure out what this is going to look like in the ever-changing climate of college football.” On the importance of the strength coaching staff in setting the tone for the program “It’s vital. That’s why [Director of Strength and Conditioning Dwight Galt IV] was the very first guy that I reached out to because he’s a culture driver. He’s just as like-minded as anybody I’ve hired. I workedwith Deege, I worked with his father for 12 years. So he gets me, he knows what my vision is for Virginia Tech football. He’s off and running with that already. He’s hired like-minded people that are going to get it and be able to be a great resource for our players, not just in the strength and conditioning aspect but as mentors, helping us get the culture that we want in that locker room, on the practice field and, ultimately, on Saturdays.” On what takes place in the weight room to lay the foundation of the program “That’s an area where there’s a lot of adversity. There’s tough times, there’s competitive times when you really start to know a young man as far as what he’s made up of. Is he a competitor? Is he mentally Continued on page 10

10 Inside Hokie Sports tough? Is he a leader? All those things. Your strength coach is in those adverse situations with your players and they can identify those things the quickest. Who rises to the top? Who doesn’t have the strength right now the mental toughness to endure a tough situation? Who bowed out in a competitive situation? Who’s injury prone? Who’s tough minded and can work with some injury? Who’s the leader by example? Who’s a vocal leader? Those guys are the first ones to recognize those traits that are important to us to identify.” On how the staff plans to split up Virginia in recruiting “[Senior Director of Player Personnel] Mike Villagrana had a conversation with each staff member about where they felt they had the best relationships. That wasn’t the deciding factor but that was an important factor in laying out the area. We’ve got the state divided up right now. We told the coaches this morning, this may move a little bit, but for these next couple of weeks, let’s treat it as such. Then as we have more time to plan it out, there may be some tweaks to it but it was relationship-based, experience-based more than anything.” On the hiring of senior offensive analyst Brian Crist “Two things: number one, Brian’s a trusted friend and he understands Virginia Tech. He loves Virginia Tech, his whole family does. He’s got family members coaching in the state. Obviously, his dad had tremendous success so this was a no brainer for me. Then you couple that with his experiences and where he’s been in his career. I think he’s an asset. These analysts, to me, I know we’ve hired Brian on offense but I just talked with him yesterday about the possibilities of helping our defense. For me, I had two offensive coaches in the defensive staff room the last couple of years. Experienced guys, protection guys, quarterback play reads, route progressions. I had two full-time guys as analysts in the room with me and I know how valuable that was. We’re still building our analyst pool, we have a couple left to hire. Once we get everybody on board, we’ll look at the best way to fit those guys into what we’re doing. But Brian’s an asset whether he’s on offense or defense. He was here last year so he understands the personnel, understands what those guys were being coached to do. He’s been a big asset already and will continue to be.” On how his staff has been received by Virginia high school coaches “I haven’t necessarily talked to them about the staff. We had three or four guys in place for that last week of December recruiting. I was out in the schools for a week and I had [defensive recruiting coordinator/ cornerbacks coach] Derek Jones with me, [Sam linebackers/nickels coach] Shawn Quinn, [associate head coach/defensive line coach] J.C. Price, [safeties coach] Pierson Prioleau, those guys were out on the road. They know about half the staff. Obviously, everybody’s excited. I think the remainder of the staff, there’s a lot of familiarity with coaches in the state of who we’ve hired. So I think I think the coaches will be very pleased with the men I’ve hired. They’re not only outstanding coaches and recruiters, but they’re just great men. They understand the importance of these high school coaches and they’re going to work to build the relationships that are necessary. We talked this morning about how we’re not just interested in walking into high school and throwing a handshake and leaving. We want to get to know these coaches. We want to get to know the people in that school. One of the things we added to the recruiting documents this morning was I want these guys to know if they’re walking into Highland Springs High School, what’s the head coach’s background, where did they play? That would be important in Highland Springs, obviously. How many guys have come to Virginia Tech? Who are they to have come from that high school? Is there an administrator, a teacher in high school that’s a Hokie? We want to know those things because we want to work on those relationships as well. It’s all important.” On whether the spring schedule and spring game have been finalized “We’re still working through the calendar. We have it in-house right now, we’re just finalizing it. The calendar I would say is about 90 percent in place.” On what characteristic stands out about his assistant coach hires “Honestly, I would say people skills. I just wanted to hire guys that could relate to the players, to families. Great communicators with these high school coaches, with our former players. That would probably be first. The second thing, as I mentioned, was men that wanted to be here, that recognized how special this place is and wanted to jump on board for the same reason that I did. A lot of these guys were in good situations. For some of these guys, people would say ‘Oh man that’s a lateral move.’ Well it’s not because of what they recognize is going on here. You’re hiring men from Wisconsin and Louisville and really good places and also there’s coaches trying to keep guys on staff, so I was appreciative of the guys that joined us.” On his relationship with Penn State head coach James Franklin in the first couple weeks since taking the job “It’s been invaluable, not just my conversations with him, but also situations I’ve been in that, naturally, I feel myself handling it the way James would have. Being his right-hand guy and being on his hip for 12 years, being involved in a lot of tough situations and hiring process and firing process and recruitment and administrative relations. It’s been very helpful in this transition. James and I have always aligned pretty closely to how we thought things should be and how to handle situations. So, it’s only reinforced the way I want to do things and how I’m able to do things. We spent a lot of time together at the national convention. Myself and James and my Dad tossed some things around and kicked things around. I had conversations with him about each and every wide receiver candidate I interviewed. That was important to me. My father sat in all five interviews. Again, trusted people that have been with me a long time and know more than anybody how I want to do things.” On his thoughts on recruiting junior college players “That’s an interesting question. One of my really good friends is the head coach at Lackawanna Community College, Mark Duda. Coach Duda has done a tremendous job. It’s a little bit different because most of your junior college guys, and majority of them are guys that came directly from high school, some of them are bounce backs, but maybe they’re there because the grades weren’t in order, things like that. I don’t think it’s going to affect them as dramatically as maybe people think. I think the junior colleges will still be an important piece to it. Guys are there on those rosters for one reason or another, whereas your portal guys are directly coming from another four year institution. I think it’s just another avenue. I’ve already had a couple conversations with Coach Duda about upcoming guys on the roster in areas of need. When you look at the portal, sometimes you’re looking at guys with three or four years still to play so you can treat them more as a developmental player. When you look at the junior colleges, it’s more two to three year players, who maybe have a chance to come in and impact your roster immediately as a starter. The portal sometimes is three to four year guys and sometimes its grad transfers that only have one year. It’s just eligibility left and what your needs are.” Continued from page 9 HEAD COACH BRENT PRY

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12 Inside Hokie Sports BRENT PRY HEAD COACH As defensive coordinator at Penn State, Pry’s squad ranked in the nation’s top 10 in scoring defensive three times in the past five seasons before his arrival in Blacksburg. A two-time Broyles Award nominee as the top assistant in college football, he has coached teams that have qualified for 15 bowl appearances and have finished in the FBS top 25 in scoring defense eight times. He helped lead the Nittany Lions to three 11-win seasons, as well as the 2016 Big Ten Championship. A former graduate assistant under Frank Beamer and Bud Foster for the Hokies from 1995-97, Pry brings 30 years of coaching experience with him to Virginia Tech. J.C. PRICE ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH/ DEFENSIVE LINE A former team captain and All-America selection as a Tech player, Price returned to Blacksburg in 2021. He concluded the season as interim head coach and guided the Hokies to a 29-24 win at Virginia, propelling the squad to a bowl berth. He spent nine seasons as Marshall University, most recently as co-defensive coordinator. Price coached eight seasons at James Madison (2004-11). The Dukes won the FCS national title in 2004 and also qualified for the FCS playoffs in 2006, 2007 and 2008. He was a third-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in the 1996 NFL Draft. TYLER BOWEN OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/ TIGHT ENDS Bowen returned to the collegiate ranks after coaching tight ends for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021. He worked with Tech head coach Brent Pry, serving as Penn State’s co-offensive coordinator/offensive recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach in 2020. He coached tight ends and handled the offensive recruiting coordinator duties for the Nittany Lions from 2018-19. His numerous NFL pupils include Pittsburgh TE Pat Freiermuth and Arizona RB Chase Edmonds. Bowen owns previous experience coaching at Maryland, Fordham and Towson. He enjoyed a three-year playing career as an offensive lineman at Maryland. CHRIS MARVE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/ LINEBACKERS Marve arrived at Virginia Tech after serving as defensive run game coordinator/linebackers coach at Florida State (2020-21). He spent the 2019 season at Mississippi State as defensive run game coordinator/linebackers coach. He began his coaching career at his alma mater of Vanderbilt, working in various capacities on defense (2014-18). A four-time All-SEC linebacker during his playing career, Marve posted 397 career tackles and 30.0 tackles for loss. A two-time team captain, he played for current Tech head coach Brent Pry who served as codefensive coordinator/linebackers coach for the Commodores. STU HOLT SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR/ASST. HEAD COACH – OFFENSE/RUNNING BACKS Holt spent three seasons as the special teams coordinator/tight ends coach at Louisville (2019-21). Holt served as special teams coordinator/running backs coach at Appalachian State (2015-18), where the Mountaineers won three straight Sun Belt championships, made four consecutive bowl appearances and boasted an individual 1,000-yard rusher all four of his seasons. His special teams unit at South Florida was ranked No. 3 in the nation by ESPN Stats & Info in 2013. Holt also boasts previous coaching experience at Western Kentucky, Tennessee State, BethuneCookman and Western Carolina. BRAD GLENN PASS GAME COORDINATOR/ QUARTERBACKS Glenn owns a reputation for developing record-setting passers at virtually every stop of his collegiate coaching career. He came to Tech following a three-year run as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Georgia State (2019-21). Under his direction, Appalachian State QB Armanti Edwards was a two-time winner of the Walter Payton Award and became the first quarterback in NCAA history to pass for over 10,000 yards and run for over 4,000 yards in his collegiate career. Glenn also enjoyed a seven-year stint as associate head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Western Carolina (2012-18). JOE RUDOLPH RUN GAME COORDINATOR/ OFFENSIVE LINE Rudolph arrived at Tech after spending seven seasons serving as associate head coach/offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Wisconsin (2015-21), where he helped orchestrate one of the nation’s most potent rushing offenses. Prior to a stint as offensive coordinator/tight ends coach at Pitt (2012-14), he coached tight ends at Wisconsin (2008-11) and Nebraska (2007). Rudolph served as an offensive lineman on head coach Barry Alvarez’s squads that helped revitalize the Badgers’ program by winning the 1993 Big Ten championship and the 1994 Rose Bowl. He later played in the NFL with Philadelphia and San Francisco. DEREK JONES DEFENSIVE RECRUITING COORDINATOR/ CORNERBACKS Jones joined the Hokies after serving as associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Texas Tech (2020-21). He enjoyed a 12-year stint working under David Cutcliffe at Duke, serving as associate head GET TO KNOW THE COACHING STAFF! 13 coach in 2018-19. He worked in various capacities with the Blue Devils’ defensive backs and spent 10 seasons as assistant special teams coordinator from 2008-17. He and Tech head coach Brent Pry previously coached together at Memphis, helping the Tigers to a bowl berth in 2007. He also enjoyed coaching stints at Tulsa and Murray State. A team captain and All-SEC performer at Ole Miss, Jones played professionally in the CFL. FONTEL MINES OFFENSIVE RECRUITING COORDINATOR/ WIDE RECEIVERS COACH Mines has recruited the Commonwealth of Virginia extensively throughout his career during previous coaching stops at Old Dominion, Richmond, James Madison and East Carolina. The Richmond native played in 39 career games at the University of Virginia, catching 68 passes for 737 yards with five TDs. He later signed with the NFL’s Chicago Bears. He has coached in a total of 15 combined bowl games and FCS Playoff Games, including the 2017 FCS National Championship Game with James Madison. PIERSON PRIOLEAU SAFETIES COACH Prioleau returned to Virginia Tech in 2019 as director of player development – defense and was promoted to safeties coach in December 2021. A team captain for Frank Beamer, Prioleau played an integral role in helping Tech establish itself as a national football power in the 1990s. The Alvin, South Carolina native enjoyed a 12-year NFL career and earned a Super Bowl XLIV ring with the New Orleans Saints. Inducted as part of the ACC Football Legends Class of 2012, he was selected by San Francisco in the 1999 NFL Draft and played in 160 career regular season NFL games. SHAWN QUINN SAM LINEBACKERS/ NICKELS COACH Quinn joined Tech’s staff after previously working with head coach Brent Pry at both Georgia Southern (2010) and LouisianaLafayette (2002-06). Quinn served as head coach at Savannah State (2019-21), posting a 16-6 record. His squad went 8-2 in 2021, the program’s most victories in 26 years as the Tigers finished eighth in NCAA Division II in total defense (249.8 ypg). He also owns previous experience as a defensive coordinator at Tennessee Tech, Western Carolina and Georgia Southern, in addition to coaching defensive ends at LSU in 2008. WITH THE COACHES! CONNECT THE OFFICIAL KIDS’ CLUB OF VIRGINIA TECH ATHLETICS TO CHOOSE FROM Visit to join! ORANGE LEVEL: FREE MAROON LEVEL: $35 TWO PLANS COACH TWITTER HANDLE INSTAGRAM HANDLE Coach Pry CoachPryVT coach_pry Coach Price JCPrice59 jcprice59 Coach Bowen TylerBowen coachtbow Coach Marve Coach_Marve coachmarve Coach Holt CoachStuHolt Coach Glenn CoachBG_QB bgqb Coach Rudolph CoachJoeRudolph Coach Jones CoachDJCheetah 1coachdjcheetah Coach Mines Coach_Mines coach_mines Coach Prioleau CoachPrioleauVT Coach Quinn CoachShawnQuinn shawnquinn526

14 Inside Hokie Sports When Virginia Tech lacrosse fans look down on the sidelines this upcoming season at Thompson Field, they’ll see a bit of an unfamiliar face leading the Hokies out onto the field in first year head coach Kristen Skiera. When Skiera accepted the position as Tech’s seventh head lacrosse coach in June of 2021, she knew exactly what she was getting into. Back to her roots, back to the conference where her lacrosse career flourished as a two-time AllAmerican attacker at Duke, and back to a place that she knew oh so much about. After seven seasons at Army and a 46-40 record, Skiera, along with her husband, Kyle, and their daughter, Caslen, moved down to Blacksburg to call Southwest Virginia home. With both her dad and brother being proud Virginia Tech alums, Skiera was certainly no stranger to the New River Valley. In a sense, it’s almost like everything has come full circle for the Ellicott City, Maryland native. By Carter Hill 15 “My dad has always been in my ear since I got into coaching,” said a chuckling Skiera. “He’d say ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you ended up at Virginia Tech,’ I always kind of shrugged it off, ACC coaching jobs don’t come along very often. I’d just tell him to leave me be,” she joked. A few years later, she stands. When the job came open as the Hokies’ head coach, Skiera knew she couldn’t let it get away. “When the opening came available last summer, just with my family history with the institution, and being raised a little Hokie kid in Lane Stadium at football games, just the familiarity with the tradition of sports here and the Hokie Nation…it all helped get me here.” Her first impressions as a Blacksburg resident have been nothing short of remarkable. “It’s unbelievable, I love it,” Skiera exclaimed. “I love how when you see somebody in the community and end up meeting them, in a restaurant, or a clinic we run, or another sporting event, you know you’re going to see them again,” she said when talking about the Virginia Tech community. “I love just running into new people and saying ‘I’ll see you around,’” she continued. “I love that small-town feel, I don’t think anything I’ve put into my GPS since I’ve moved here has said it’s been over two and a half miles away. “It’s a really connected community. I hope we’re here for a long time.” Skiera’s journey to Blacksburg has taken her across the country. After graduating as a four-time ACC regular season champion as a member of the Blue Devils from 2004-2007, she spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant at the Naval Academy from 2008-2009. Quickly, the phone came ringing again. This time, from out on the west coast, where Skiera spent the 2010 season as an assistant at UC Davis, before returning back to Navy to win two Patriot League championships in her two seasons with the Midshipmen from 20112012. After returning to her alma mater and serving as an assistant under head coach Kerstin Kimel during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Skiera then took a leap of faith. Leaving a place of familiarity, Skiera moved north to West Point, New York, where she took the open head coaching position at Army. At the time, the Black Knights were not competing at the varsity level, they were designated a club sport. Seven seasons later, and Skiera left it in a much better place than she found it. Not only did Skiera elevate the program to a varsity sport, she orchestrated the Black Knights’ best season in program history by recording a 14-5 mark, and left West Point after four consecutive winning seasons. Skiera cited a solid staff, recruiting, and administrative support as reasons for her success at Army, only sees the infrastructure at Virginia Tech as an advantage to her in this new chapter. “Certainly, we’re a program who wants to improve,” she admitted. “We were 5-11 last year, so a little bit of a rebuild. We want to be in the Final Four and make the NCAA Tournament every year,” Skiera continued, who’s program hasn’t qualified for the postseason since 2018, the Hokies’ only appearance. “We’ve surrounded ourselves with great people here who share the belief in the program that I do. We’re going to recruit our butts off, try and outwork other schools, and find the right fit for us both culturally and athletically.” It doesn’t necessarily stop there either. She acknowledges that the Hokies have to build relationships. “We have to develop talent,” Skiera conveyed. “We have to develop relationships with those players that are here, luckily we walked into a great group of young women. It’s been a great fall getting to know them and forming a bond and trust with them.” Who are the young women that remain as the Kristen Skiera era prepares to get underway? The Hokies do lose its two leading goal scorers from a season ago in All-ACC talents Paige Petty and Emma Crooks, but they do bring back a potent offensive threat in graduate student Sarah Lubnow. The Falls Church, Virginia native tallied 23 goals a season ago, and is the returning scorer for a team that loses 43% of its goal production from a season ago. The production from Lubnow speaks for itself, with the attacker totaling 52 points, and 29 assists - the latter being good for thirdmost in a single season in Virginia Tech history. The Hokies welcome back Whitney Liebler as well on the offensive end after a phenomenal freshman season in which she recorded 21 points (14 goals, 7 assists). Skiera is high on the Williamsburg, Virginia product. “She’s outstanding,” the head coach raved. “She’s crafty, really fun to watch, she can do a lot of exciting things. She can throw behind the back and do some really creative stuff out on the field, I’ve really enjoyed working with her and she’s a really fun player to watch.” Tech fans certainly can’t forget about junior Paige Tyson either. The Pennsylvania native put up 13 points and 12 goals during the 2021 campaign, and is the Hokies’ other returning double-digit goal scorer. Tyson’s best performances came against Virginia in 2021 where she tallied a hat trick in both contests against the Cavaliers. “The kid doesn’t miss the cage,” Skiera gushed when talking about Tyson. “She’s an extremely great finisher, she uses her size really well, and she’s progressing well on the draw. She’s been really impressive.” Skiera Continued on page 16

16 Inside Hokie Sports Florida transfer Hannah Mardiney also will be a name to watch out for with her ability to score at any given moment. “She makes a lot of things happen, she’s got great vision, she’s a great feeder. We definitely expect her to do some great things out on the field.” The Hokies’ midfield is an area of relative inexperience. Sophie Student who played in 16 games last season, scoring five points and corralling 21 draw controls. “She’s been ‘Steady Eddie’ amazing throughout the fall, a very levelheaded player,” said Skiera about the Massachusetts native. “She’s fast, athletic, and does a lot of great things. She’s been outstanding.” True freshman Olivia Vergano is another member of the midfield that Skiera categorized as having a really good fall and could be poised to be an impact player. “She’s a big playmaker in the midfield, very strong, just built for this type of experience from a physical standpoint,” she said about Vergano, who calls near Long Island home. “She’s going to be another really fun player to watch. She doesn’t carry herself like a freshman, she’s matured beyond her years.” Junior Kayla Frank is back in a Hokie uniform after stepping away from the game for a year. In 2020, her freshman season, she led the team and was sixth in Division I in scoring, posting 45 points in 10 games. She garnered Inside Lacrosse All-American Honorable Mention and All-Rookie Team accolades. The defensive end of the field is where the majority of the on-field experience resides for this Virginia Tech team. Skiera spoke with confidence that the defensive unit is one that is in good shape, led by team captain and veteran defender Jordan Tilley, a senior from Baltimore, who has been a mainstay on the backline. Junior Mary Griffin is sure to be involved as well, who Skiera defines as ‘a really feisty defender.’ Though a thin unit, the Tech goalies are great shape, led by grad student Morgan Berman in the cage. “She takes risk, she’s exciting to watch, she’s athletic, and she just does a great job saving the ball and doing her job,” Skiera explained when talking about another one of her three captains. Skiera won’t delay in instilling the right mindset to take the Hokies to the next level. “The things that we have been uncompromising on so far here is just driving home the concept of competing,” she emphasized. SkieraContinued from page 15