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  1. #1

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    For a little perspective...

    I have worked for the past 2 years at a mid-major school in the Midwest with one conference tournament championship (and NCAA berth) and a regular season conference championship

    our DOBO (Dir. of Basketball Ops.) made $12-$15k more than what Adrian Autry made as a DOBO at VT, and our top assistant isn't too far off from the 2nd and third assistants at VT now.

    all of this relates back to the argument that has been presented many times on this and other Virginia Tech message boards...the argument that there are distinct disadvantages on the basketball program at VT

    myself and many others have talked about VT's geographical disadvantage, and that came to light when Hokiehaven caught up with VT target, Darrell Johnson, who talked about VT's distance from the closest airport (read as: urban environment)

    "I was surprised how far they were from the airport," he said. "That was the most surprising thing. They were really far and it took two flights since they are a smaller airport."

    these are facts...VT's location hurts them when recruiting in basketball...basketball is a much more urban game than football, it is a lot easier to get football kids to come to a rural environment than it is for basketball...that's why VT can pull some of the top notch talent in their recruiting classes in football, but basketball can't make the same strides

    Also a factor in football's success on the recruiting trail is the commitment from the athletic department to the program...before Greenberg, basketball just got the scraps of whatever was left, but Greenberg fought to get a state-of-the-art basketball facility on campus to help in recruiting and recruiting alone...the next step will be coming up with money to retain good assistants as well as attract more talented assistants to an ACC program with some potential with the right amount of commitment

    As fans, the best thing you can do is try to facilitate the commitment...urge Weaver to spend more money in basketball, or better yet, write a check! If you want VT to take the next step, don't lament on getting a new coach who will come in with the same restrictions, change the restrictions themselves (the ones you can change anyway, Blacksburg will never be located in Richmond)...

    You want Shaka Smart, Greg Marshall, John Groce (vomit)? Find the wealthiest people you know to significantly raise the commitment level of the athletic department to the program...one of the things about the business of college coaching that many people don't realize is that coaches socialize with one another...a lot...especially in college basketball...it's a prerequisite to finding a job, you have to know people...and in doing that, coaches talk...and the word on the street is that Blacksburg is an extremely tough place to win consistently because of the factors I've discussed

    1) Location
    2) Mid-major commitment in a BCS conference
    3) A fan base with high expectations and mediocre commitment to fill the stands

    all three of those problems belong to the chicken-egg dilemma...some fans can't come to games because of Blacksburg's location...VT's commitment to filling the stands with locals has been mid-majoresque...the low fan turnout makes it hard for the athletic department to justify pumping more money into the program...the problems feed into themselves

    a new coach, or even new assistants, aren't going to change those problems...so VT needs to fix what they can...the athletic department needs to have a renewed commitment to the program...fans needs to allow the athletic department to justify this commitment by stepping it up in donations and/or attendance...also, have some realization about what this program is, where it has been, and where it can go...should VT have made more than 1 NCAA Tournament in 9 years? I think yes, yes it should...but don't discount that VT was on the bubble a couple times and it could have very easily have gone in their favor

    if at that point, VT needs a change in leadership, it will be much easier to attract better names to the program, because then, the only disadvantage will be the location...

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by GCHokie34 View Post
    I have worked for the past 2 years at a mid-major school in the Midwest with one conference tournament championship (and NCAA berth) and a regular season conference championship

    our DOBO (Dir. of Basketball Ops.) made $12-$15k more than what Adrian Autry made as a DOBO at VT, and our top assistant isn't too far off from the 2nd and third assistants at VT now.

    all of this relates back to the argument that has been presented many times on this and other Virginia Tech message boards...the argument that there are distinct disadvantages on the basketball program at VT

    myself and many others have talked about VT's geographical disadvantage, and that came to light when Hokiehaven caught up with VT target, Darrell Johnson, who talked about VT's distance from the closest airport (read as: urban environment)

    "I was surprised how far they were from the airport," he said. "That was the most surprising thing. They were really far and it took two flights since they are a smaller airport."

    these are facts...VT's location hurts them when recruiting in basketball...basketball is a much more urban game than football, it is a lot easier to get football kids to come to a rural environment than it is for basketball...that's why VT can pull some of the top notch talent in their recruiting classes in football, but basketball can't make the same strides

    Also a factor in football's success on the recruiting trail is the commitment from the athletic department to the program...before Greenberg, basketball just got the scraps of whatever was left, but Greenberg fought to get a state-of-the-art basketball facility on campus to help in recruiting and recruiting alone...the next step will be coming up with money to retain good assistants as well as attract more talented assistants to an ACC program with some potential with the right amount of commitment

    As fans, the best thing you can do is try to facilitate the commitment...urge Weaver to spend more money in basketball, or better yet, write a check! If you want VT to take the next step, don't lament on getting a new coach who will come in with the same restrictions, change the restrictions themselves (the ones you can change anyway, Blacksburg will never be located in Richmond)...

    You want Shaka Smart, Greg Marshall, John Groce (vomit)? Find the wealthiest people you know to significantly raise the commitment level of the athletic department to the program...one of the things about the business of college coaching that many people don't realize is that coaches socialize with one another...a lot...especially in college basketball...it's a prerequisite to finding a job, you have to know people...and in doing that, coaches talk...and the word on the street is that Blacksburg is an extremely tough place to win consistently because of the factors I've discussed

    1) Location
    2) Mid-major commitment in a BCS conference
    3) A fan base with high expectations and mediocre commitment to fill the stands

    all three of those problems belong to the chicken-egg dilemma...some fans can't come to games because of Blacksburg's location...VT's commitment to filling the stands with locals has been mid-majoresque...the low fan turnout makes it hard for the athletic department to justify pumping more money into the program...the problems feed into themselves

    a new coach, or even new assistants, aren't going to change those problems...so VT needs to fix what they can...the athletic department needs to have a renewed commitment to the program...fans needs to allow the athletic department to justify this commitment by stepping it up in donations and/or attendance...also, have some realization about what this program is, where it has been, and where it can go...should VT have made more than 1 NCAA Tournament in 9 years? I think yes, yes it should...but don't discount that VT was on the bubble a couple times and it could have very easily have gone in their favor

    if at that point, VT needs a change in leadership, it will be much easier to attract better names to the program, because then, the only disadvantage will be the location...
    I don't disagree that VT has challenges with regards to basketball. However, so do Kansas St and WVU and they have been fairly successful over the last 5 years. People don't want to go watch an average product. It costs money and takes a fair amount of time and there is plenty in this day and age to occupy our time. It isn't so much, if you build it they will come as it is, if you win they will come. VT basketball needs a shot in the arm. .500 finishes in the ACC are great but in the end fans want to see their team in the NCAA tournament.

  3. #3
    Hubman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GCHokie34 View Post
    1) Location
    2) Mid-major commitment in a BCS conference
    3) A fan base with high expectations and mediocre commitment to fill the stands

    all three of those problems belong to the chicken-egg dilemma...some fans can't come to games because of Blacksburg's location...VT's commitment to filling the stands with locals has been mid-majoresque...the low fan turnout makes it hard for the athletic department to justify pumping more money into the program...the problems feed into themselves

    a new coach, or even new assistants, aren't going to change those problems...so VT needs to fix what they can...the athletic department needs to have a renewed commitment to the program...fans needs to allow the athletic department to justify this commitment by stepping it up in donations and/or attendance...also, have some realization about what this program is, where it has been, and where it can go...should VT have made more than 1 NCAA Tournament in 9 years? I think yes, yes it should...but don't discount that VT was on the bubble a couple times and it could have very easily have gone in their favor

    if at that point, VT needs a change in leadership, it will be much easier to attract better names to the program, because then, the only disadvantage will be the location...
    So, VT is located in a place that will never allow it to compete in basketball. Also, the athletic department does not value the basketball program enough to treat it like a BCS program should be treated.......

    The answer.......the fans need to lower their expectations and donate more money to the program?

    If we were on the show "Shark Tank", I don't think I would be investing in your pitch........
    "Don't give up......Don't ever give up." -- Jimmy V

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hubman View Post
    So, VT is located in a place that will never allow it to compete in basketball. Also, the athletic department does not value the basketball program enough to treat it like a BCS program should be treated.......

    The answer.......the fans need to lower their expectations and donate more money to the program?

    If we were on the show "Shark Tank", I don't think I would be investing in your pitch........
    that's not a valid analogy...

    I'm not "selling" you a new product, it's a product you've already bought...you're coming to this message board and asking (demanding) changes to make the product better...I'm explaining what your product actually is, as opposed to what your perception of it is...I'm telling you, if you want changes in your product, the company (VT basketball) needs more capitol to make the investments necessary to do so...if you don't like that answer, there's not much I can do for you except tell you to enjoy your product as is, because management (VT athletic department) has only given so much rope to work with

    does that jive with your analogy?

  5. #5
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    I don't buy your "pitch" either. To summarize:

    1) We have no problems getting urban kids to come to Blacksburg to play football. Half our team is from Tidewater. And it makes no logical sense to argue that "urban football players like the country, but urban basketball players don't". People are people and kids are kids. I don't think basketball players have some type of anti-country gene. :-)

    2) We have a huge commitment to basketball. We just invested $20M (practice facility) into our program a few years ago. Seth has had a huge financial backing since he's been here. He's been given money to spent where he wants, and he chose a practice facility. The salaries of our assistants are probably more of a factor of what we're getting. If Seth wanted another $100K to give to them, he could get it. After all, Weaver gave him $20M for a couple of basketball courts. What's another $100K a year? Not much.

    3) IMO, expecting an NCAA appearance every 4 years or so isn't asking much for a BCS program. I will somewhat agree with you as far as people coming to the games. I'm disappointed with that, along with the student commitment. We almost never fill up Cassell. But, fans don't score buckets.....

  6. #6
    WVHokie's Avatar
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    Good post. Some will excuse away the warts, but I'd say you're spot on with your 3 constraints on the VT BB program. We either lower expectations and accept status quo, or decide to follow Bluto and Eric Stratton out the door and do something about it.

    #1 Location: It is what it is, unless we can think outside the 24060 box. For example, travel the OOC 'home' games around the state a little, say 1-2 home games in Roanoke, or get some long-term commitments to play at GMason, GWU, and ODU every year to reach the NOVA/VaBeach alumni. In other words, reverse the build it they will come concept around to a take the game to them initiative. BTW, I think Georgetown has a free night available at the Comcast Center now that MD refuses to play without a 1 for 1 arrangement.

    #2 Mid-major commitment by Ath Dept: I'd say the AD allocates money to BB based on NCAA requirements (Title 9?), a few noisy boosters, and the supply-demand curve derived from ticket sales (or tv revenue). I dont see any change in the BB budget until some T. Boone Pickens alumni takes an interest or wants his legacy etched in the Hokie Stone on the BB facilities.

    #3 Fanbase expectations vs attendance: It would be a mistake to lower expecations, and why should we. We're in the ACC, the best BB conference in the country. Forget recent noise in the press and water cooler, Tobacco Road is still a brand name. If anything, we should raise expectations! Which leaves attendance ... for me, I don't drive down to Cassell for any games during the week due to work, plus I have already cashed in chips for at least one Thursday night game in Lane already. I'm sure most alumni share that situation which leaves students and locals as the target market for the AD to fill seats. That's 30,739 students, 94,392 residents in Mo County, and 92,376 in Roanoke Co available to fill 9,847 seats. With a bit of marketing and strategic pricing, I would think the AD could fill Cassell on a regular basis.

  7. #7

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    Kansas State is only like VT in location, not their commitment to the program. Kansas State ponied out big money to hire Bob Huggins. Kansas State's top assistant, Chris Lowery, just signed on to the staff for $210,000...double the amount James Johnson initially got.

    Regardless, Huggins used Kansas State as a stepping stone to WVU, his alma mater...and Frank Martin essentially pleaded to get out of town and begged anyone who would listen to take him away. And he did so for the exact same problems that VT has right now. Not enough commitment to the program, hard location, etc.

    Is that what you envision for this program? A stepping stone for some other school? Schools like VT, WVU, Kansas State, etc. arguably need MORE commitment than other urban schools in order to overcome their inherent difficulities they cannot change.

    West Virginia has gotten lucky in that one of the better coaches in college basketball just so happens to be an alum. They also have a greater commitment to their program than VT does.

    WVU has a 14,000 seat arena...they just built a $20 million practice facility...they have paid their assistants well enough to keep each of them since 2007 (the year Huggins came back to WVU)...and of course theyve ponied up $1.5 million in base salary to keep Huggins in Morgantown

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Hilton View Post
    I don't buy your "pitch" either. To summarize:

    1) We have no problems getting urban kids to come to Blacksburg to play football. Half our team is from Tidewater. And it makes no logical sense to argue that "urban football players like the country, but urban basketball players don't". People are people and kids are kids. I don't think basketball players have some type of anti-country gene. :-)

    2) We have a huge commitment to basketball. We just invested $20M (practice facility) into our program a few years ago. Seth has had a huge financial backing since he's been here. He's been given money to spent where he wants, and he chose a practice facility. The salaries of our assistants are probably more of a factor of what we're getting. If Seth wanted another $100K to give to them, he could get it. After all, Weaver gave him $20M for a couple of basketball courts. What's another $100K a year? Not much.

    3) IMO, expecting an NCAA appearance every 4 years or so isn't asking much for a BCS program. I will somewhat agree with you as far as people coming to the games. I'm disappointed with that, along with the student commitment. We almost never fill up Cassell. But, fans don't score buckets.....
    as far as the urban football vs urban basketball...you can fill a football roster with a much greater percentage of rural players in football than you can in basketball...

    You're asking the same question that Auburn's fans are asking, "why can we get 5-star kids in football, but not basketball?"

    the answer is, that simply put, basketball and football recruiting are two completely different animals, and they're alot more different than they are alike...and the truth of the matter is that basketball kids tend to lean more urban than rural...fact...I've seen it with my own eyes, and others who have been around the business (Rev., Cville, etc.) would tell you the same

    you can say it's silly, you can pretend it's not the case, but I can personally vouch for it being true...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by GCHokie34 View Post
    I have worked for the past 2 years at a mid-major school in the Midwest with one conference tournament championship (and NCAA berth) and a regular season conference championship

    our DOBO (Dir. of Basketball Ops.) made $12-$15k more than what Adrian Autry made as a DOBO at VT, and our top assistant isn't too far off from the 2nd and third assistants at VT now.

    all of this relates back to the argument that has been presented many times on this and other Virginia Tech message boards...the argument that there are distinct disadvantages on the basketball program at VT

    myself and many others have talked about VT's geographical disadvantage, and that came to light when Hokiehaven caught up with VT target, Darrell Johnson, who talked about VT's distance from the closest airport (read as: urban environment)

    "I was surprised how far they were from the airport," he said. "That was the most surprising thing. They were really far and it took two flights since they are a smaller airport."

    these are facts...VT's location hurts them when recruiting in basketball...basketball is a much more urban game than football, it is a lot easier to get football kids to come to a rural environment than it is for basketball...that's why VT can pull some of the top notch talent in their recruiting classes in football, but basketball can't make the same strides

    Also a factor in football's success on the recruiting trail is the commitment from the athletic department to the program...before Greenberg, basketball just got the scraps of whatever was left, but Greenberg fought to get a state-of-the-art basketball facility on campus to help in recruiting and recruiting alone...the next step will be coming up with money to retain good assistants as well as attract more talented assistants to an ACC program with some potential with the right amount of commitment

    As fans, the best thing you can do is try to facilitate the commitment...urge Weaver to spend more money in basketball, or better yet, write a check! If you want VT to take the next step, don't lament on getting a new coach who will come in with the same restrictions, change the restrictions themselves (the ones you can change anyway, Blacksburg will never be located in Richmond)...

    You want Shaka Smart, Greg Marshall, John Groce (vomit)? Find the wealthiest people you know to significantly raise the commitment level of the athletic department to the program...one of the things about the business of college coaching that many people don't realize is that coaches socialize with one another...a lot...especially in college basketball...it's a prerequisite to finding a job, you have to know people...and in doing that, coaches talk...and the word on the street is that Blacksburg is an extremely tough place to win consistently because of the factors I've discussed

    1) Location
    2) Mid-major commitment in a BCS conference
    3) A fan base with high expectations and mediocre commitment to fill the stands

    all three of those problems belong to the chicken-egg dilemma...some fans can't come to games because of Blacksburg's location...VT's commitment to filling the stands with locals has been mid-majoresque...the low fan turnout makes it hard for the athletic department to justify pumping more money into the program...the problems feed into themselves

    a new coach, or even new assistants, aren't going to change those problems...so VT needs to fix what they can...the athletic department needs to have a renewed commitment to the program...fans needs to allow the athletic department to justify this commitment by stepping it up in donations and/or attendance...also, have some realization about what this program is, where it has been, and where it can go...should VT have made more than 1 NCAA Tournament in 9 years? I think yes, yes it should...but don't discount that VT was on the bubble a couple times and it could have very easily have gone in their favor

    if at that point, VT needs a change in leadership, it will be much easier to attract better names to the program, because then, the only disadvantage will be the location...
    Great info GC Hokie. It's sobering to read, but obvious that you have the history with the program and know it's challenges. Are you still connected to anyone in the program? Any information you could share would be great. Along with Rev Zeke, you're one of the few bball posters I've noticed who seem to have inside info.

    So I take it from your last note on coaches "communicating" with each other, that the VT asst coach opening isn't generating much high level interest? Is there any indication from the VTAD that they are working on raising the pay of the coaches?

  10. #10
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    Well, I guess I have witnessed something different. The blue chip players in both football and basketball want to play for a program/coach who can get them to the next level. That school can be located in Casper, Wyoming, and kids will go there. That's the key. That's why Beamer and staff can get kids to come to Blacksburg. That's why Northwestern (ie, Chicago) can't get kids to go there. Kids want to play in the NFL and NBA, and they want a program that will get them there. Sure, there are other factors, but that is the big one. No difference. Kids are kids. They are just like you and me. They want to make money. It's common sense, not genetics.

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