Virginia Tech announced a five-year contract extension for Director of Athletics Whit Babcock on Monday, which will keep Babcock in Blacksburg through 2029.
Hired in January of 2014, Babcock has transformed Virginia Tech athletics over the last seven years. The Hokies finished No. 32 in the 2020-21 Learfield Directors’ Cup, the second-highest finish in athletic department history to 2017-18’s No. 28. On the academic side, 16 of Tech’s 22 varsity sports posted team GPAs of 3.0 or better in 2020-21.
Babcock has been integral in launching the $400 million Reach for Excellence campaign and improving Tech’s facilities, including the creation of the new Student-Athlete Performance Center (a $20.4 million project). Tech football’s strength and conditioning center was improved in the past year, and the new Creativity and Innovation District Residence Hall along Kent St. (an $85 million project) is set to open this fall. English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park saw an $18 million renovation in 2018, as well.
Virginia Tech also added control rooms, engineering and office space, along with other infrastructure, in the South End Zone in Lane Stadium for the launch of the ACC Network in August 2019.
“Whit Babcock and his roster of talented coaches have done an outstanding job, creating memorable moments for our students, alumni, and fans, and making the student-athlete experience their top priority,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said. “Whit and his leadership team have the right long-term vision and have demonstrated their ability to manage the rapidly changing landscape in collegiate athletics. I look forward to continuing our collective efforts on behalf of Virginia Tech.”
That’s without mentioning Babcock’s head coaching hires and retentions, almost all of which have panned out.
Buzz Williams was hired as the men’s basketball coach in 2014 and led the Hokies to three straight NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet 16 appearance. For the first time in school history, the men’s and women’s program made the NCAA Tournament in 2021, under the direction of Mike Young (hired in 2019) and Kenny Brooks (hired in 2016).
Softball coach Pete D’Amour, who was hired in 2019, led the Hokies to the Super Regionals of the Women’s College World Series in 2021 in his third season. The swim and dive program has thrived under Sergio Lopez Miro (2018 hire) as well, with the men and women both finishing in the top 15 this season.
On top of that, Babcock promoted wrestling coach Tony Robie in 2017, who coached Mekhi Lewis to a National Championship in 2019. Men’s soccer coach Mike Brizendine, who was retained by Babcock, has led the Hokies to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, a program-best. Daniel Pereira became the first-ever No. 1 pick for the program in January when Austin FC selected him first in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft.
Babcock also retained Chugger Adair (women’s soccer), Dave Cianelli (track and field), Jim Thompson (men’s tennis) and Carol Robertson (women’s golf). Adair led his program to the NCAAs in 2018 and 2019, while Cianelli oversaw the men’s indoor team crowned ACC Champions. Thompson and Robertson each took their programs to the NCAA Championships in 2021, which was a first for the women’s golf program.
Babcock announced extensions to six head coaches in early July, including baseball’s John Szefc and Terry Ann Zawacki-Holdren with women’s tennis. He also hired volleyball coach Marci Byers in January of 2020 and lacrosse coach Kristen Skiera in June.
Full release from Virginia Tech: Link