Longtime Virginia Tech baseball coach Chuck Hartman has announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2006 season. The 1957 UNC graduate will step down as the winningest coach in Virginia Tech history. Tuesday’s win over Virginia Commonwealth gave him an overall record of 959-585-8 at Virginia Tech, and 1,442-810-8 overall. He has been a collegiate head coach for 47 seasons, 28 of which have come at Virginia Tech.
Hartman’s 1,442 victories rank him fourth all-time. He has been Virginia Tech’s all-time winningest coach since 1987 and has led VT to more victories than any coach in any sports in school history. He has been a member of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame since 2002. In 2004, he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
The Hokies have been conference champions as recently as 2002, when Tech tied Notre Dame for the regular season championship in the Big East. In 2001, Hartman led the Hokies to four regular season wins against the Fighting Irish and a second place finish in the Big East Tournament. Tech also won the Atlantic 10 Championship in 1997, 1999 and 2000.
In 1992, Hartman became just the ninth baseball coach to win 1,000 games in his career when his Tech team knocked off Liberty 11-4.
Before arriving in Blacksburg in 1979, Hartman was the head coach at High Point College (now University) in North Carolina. He began his career there as an assistant coach in 1958, and when the head coach resigned in the middle of the 1959 season, Hartman took over.
The team had won just eight games in the previous three seasons, but Hartman revived the program. His High Point teams won 10 conference titles, five district championships and made two NAIA National Tournament appearances. For his tenure at High Point, he was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Virginia Tech’s search for a new baseball coach will begin immediately.
Virginia Tech rising junior guard/forward Wynton Witherspoon will transfer to a school closer to home for the 2006-07 season, according to the Roanoke Times. Witherspoon, whose mother is suffering from breast cancer, wants to be closer to his family.
The early rumor is that Witherspoon will transfer to Georgia State, a Colonial Athletic Association school school located in downtown Atlanta, Witherspoon’s hometown. He would have to sit out the 2006-07 season but could use it as a redshirt year. He would then be a r-junior during the 2007-08 season.
Witherspoon played sparingly in the early stages of this past season because of a fractured fifth metatarsal in his foot. He nearly took a redshirt year, but after scoring 19 points in 25 minutes against Florida State on January 7, he decided to play through the pain. He followed up that performance with 17 points against UNC, but he only scored in double figures three times the remainder of the season. His performances gradually went downhill as the season progressed.
With the departure of Witherspoon, the Hokies have one available scholarship available. They have the option of using it on a player in the class of 2006 or saving it for the class of 2007.