Tony Ball Departing Tech for Georgia

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Virginia Tech lost their second assistant coach of the offseason on Tuesday.
The University of Georgia announced that Tony Ball, the Hokies’ wide receivers
coach for the past eight seasons, will serve as the Bulldogs’ running backs
coach beginning in 2006. Quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers left Virginia Tech for
a job with the Minnesota Vikings in January.

Tony
Ball came to Virginia Tech in 1998 after coaching the Louisville wide receivers
from 1995-97. Before his Louisville stint, he served as an assistant coach at
UT-Chattanooga, East Tennessee State and Holy Cross. He was also a volunteer
running backs coach at South Carolina in 1987.

With the departure of Ball, Virginia Tech has now lost their two primary
recruiters in states north of Virginia. Ball was Tech’s main recruiter in the
state of Maryland, while Kevin Rogers handled New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New
York.

Of the 20 players the Hokies signed earlier this month, Ball and Rogers were
responsible for seven of them. Kevin Rogers landed Mike Gee, Jason Adjepong and
Zach Luckett from the state of New Jersey. Ball signed Rashad Carmichael, Andre
Smith, Nekos Brown and Douglas McNeil from the state of Maryland.

The departure of Ball and Rogers creates a dilemma for head coach Frank
Beamer. He now has two open positions on his staff. The rumor that he will hire
James Madison offensive line coach Craig Newsome is still strong. If Newsome
comes aboard, he would likely coach the offensive line, while Bryan Stinespring
switched to quarterbacks coach.

But Newsome’s main recruiting area is the Tidewater, and his hire would
give the Hokies three strong recruiters in that area (including Stinespring and
Jim Cavanaugh). To fill the void in the northeast left by the departure of Ball
and Rogers, Beamer will either have to hire a coach with northeast connections
or change the recruiting areas for some members of his current staff.

This is the first time since 1998 that the Hokies have lost two assistant
coaches in the same year. In 1998 Tech lost wide receivers coach Terry Strock
and offensive line coach J.B. Grimes. The Hokies hired Tony Ball to coach wide
receivers. Bryan Stinespring, who was tight ends coach and assistant offensive
line coach at the time, was elevated to offensive line coach. Danny Pearman was
hired as the new tight ends coach.

Virginia Tech has issued no official release on the departure of Ball and has
not indicated a timetable for new staff members to be in place. Sources have
indicated that Frank Beamer hopes to fill his staff by March 1.

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