Bill Roth Leaving Virginia Tech

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Bill Roth

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech athletics department announced today that the school’s longtime and popular radio play-by-play broadcaster, Bill Roth, is leaving his position to accept a similar position at UCLA. The Tech athletics department will honor the legendary announcer known as the “Voice of the Hokies” for his contributions to Virginia Tech at this Saturday’s Maroon-Orange Spring Game.

Roth, who works for IMG College, Virginia Tech’s multimedia rights holder, will make his final call for Virginia Tech this Saturday. At the end of the first quarter, the department will recognize Roth by announcing the establishment of the Bill Roth Student-Athlete Endowed Scholarship, which will be awarded annually in perpetuity to a deserving Virginia Tech student-athlete with an interest in communications or broadcast journalism.

“While we are certainly sad to see Bill depart from Virginia Tech, we are sincerely happy for him and his family for this new opportunity,” Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “Bill forever will be a Hokie, no matter where he works, and we thank him for his tremendous service, professionalism and friendship. He has been such a beloved part of the brand and the fabric of Virginia Tech. He will certainly be missed. We will honor Bill and his 27 years of service by creating an endowed scholarship in his name. Bill’s final game will be this weekend’s Spring Game, and we hope all fans in attendance at Lane Stadium will join us at 2 p.m., as we celebrate Bill and his career here.”

A native of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Roth graduated from Syracuse University in 1987. He worked one season at Marshall University before Virginia Tech’s athletics director at the time, Dave Braine, brought him to Blacksburg. Roth has spent the past 27 years calling games, describing some of the greatest moments in Virginia Tech athletics history and delivering his iconic call “Touchdown Tech!”

Roth has been recognized nationally as one of the best in his profession. The National Sportswriters and Sportscaster Association named him the state’s Sportscaster of the Year an astounding 11 times, and in April of 2013, Roth joined some of the greatest athletes, coaches and broadcasters in the Commonwealth’s history when he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

Roth also served as the host for Virginia Tech Sports Today, a 30-minute television show about Tech athletics that airs on Sunday mornings during football and basketball season, and as the host for Tech Talk Live!, a radio show in which he interviews coaches, players and staff members on the topics of the day during football and basketball seasons. He was instrumental in getting Tech’s broadcasts on the air in every portion of the state of Virginia.

He will become the voice of the UCLA Bruins, performing similar duties as in Blacksburg. He cited the opportunity to work in one of the nation’s largest markets and family as the primary reasons behind his move.

“This has been such an incredibly difficult and emotional decision to leave,” Roth said. “I love Virginia Tech … our coaches, our staff, our athletes, and our amazing fans. We’ve been through so much together over these 27 years, and I owe a tremendous thanks to each of them for their support, and for listening and watching our programs over the years.

“Professionally, this is a phenomenal opportunity to work at another prestigious and championship-level program. I am honored and humbled to be chosen for the opportunity to represent UCLA and to work at the Rose Bowl and Pauley Pavilion, two of the most historic venues in sports, while continuing my career at IMG.

“Also, I am extremely excited about the challenge to work in the nation’s second-largest media market and to live in a true global city, Los Angeles. Personally, I have a dozen family members who live within an hour of Pauley Pavilion. I’m eager to see them on a consistent basis. Being close to my family was a major part of this decision.”

Hokie Nation became a part of Roth’s family in a public way two years ago when Roth’s sister, Lynda, and broadcast partner Mike Burnop’s wife, Ellen, passed away within a month of each other after bouts with cancer. The athletics department recognized both Bill and Mike for their 25 years of calling games together, presenting them with a commemorative print that was sold for contributions to establish an endowment in the name of their loved ones, Ellen Burnop and Lynda Roth.

Bill Roth and Mike Burnop worked in conjunction with the Hokie Club to raise money for the endowment. Tech fans responded quickly, and the money was raised in a matter of months.

Burnop will return to the broadcast booth on the Virginia Tech IMG Radio Network this fall.

“Bill and I have enjoyed an amazing run together, and he’s more than a broadcast partner to me. He’s a dear friend and a member of my family,” Burnop said. “He came here when he was 22, and I’ve watched him grow up to be the best in the business. Like the rest of Hokie Nation, I’m going to miss him terribly, but I’m happy that he got this opportunity and wish him nothing but the best.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue in my role as the color analyst. Virginia Tech is, and always has been, a special place to me, and I look forward to working with the next play-by-play voice of the Hokies to provide the best possible coverage for our fans.”

Roth’s contributions to Tech beyond the radio booth have been immeasurable. He has served as the master of ceremonies for kickoff dinners and tipoff dinners, spoke on Orange & Maroon Tour events and helped with various fundraising efforts. He contributes just as much to the New River Valley community, where he has worked extensively with the United Way over the past two decades. Each year for the past 13 years, he has served as the host for Bill Roth’s Kids Day, an event that treats more than 100 underprivileged children to a “VIP” experiences before, during and after a Tech men’s basketball game.

The Virginia Tech athletics department and IMG College will work in tandem to conduct a national search for Roth’s replacement. The process will begin immediately.

Bill Roth

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30 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Really going to miss Bill. Over the years he became like a member of the family at times. I remember him and Mike the most for the days when I was traveling in my car on game days, listening to the games on the radio. Couldn’t even recall the places I passed through on my drive because I was listening so intensely to the radio. Will greatly miss him also for hosting Virginia Tech Sports Today. I have every show since 1999 on VHS or dvd. I certainly respect his reasons for leaving. Take care Bill, we will dearly miss you!!!

  2. BR- there has only ever been one voice of the Hokies for me! Thanks for all your efforts!

    On a side note, I know there is a sizable VT alumni group in Socal. I don’t think it would be too hard to bring you back as part of a remote broadcast when UCLA has a bye week (as a friendly call-in to the new team broadcasting in the fall). I’m sure Hokie Nation would very much enjoy the memories!

    Pick a Saturday:

    Oct 09 – NC State
    Oct 17 – @ Miami
    Oct 24 – Duke

    We look forward to hearing from you again soon! Thanks again.

  3. I wish the best to the “Voice of the Hokies.” But, this really stinks for the Hokie Nation. He will be missed.

  4. VT has been very fortunate to have BR, a graduate from one of the best journalism schools- Syracuse. Bill is in his late 40’s, so if he was going to leave, this is the time. LA is the 2nd largest media market in the USA, so big jump. Congratulations & thanks for making many good memories @ VT for over a quarter of a century. He will be missed!

  5. Sad day for the Hokie Nation. One of the best if not the best in his profession. Good luck Bill but we are sad you are leaving. Thanks for the memories and great person we have come to know as the “voice of the Hokies.” Wishing you nothing but the best and “we love you man.”

  6. one of the best broadcasters anywhere – ever! In listening to other “team” or “school” announcers, their biases were really evident to become irritating. I thought maybe I was listening with bias, so I listened to Bill (and Mike) more closely to see if I just didn’t notice — but — they were the most “neutral” and “even” in their broadcast as anyone and that is true professionalism. He always says “Hokies” or “Virginia Tech” etc versus “us” and “we” when referring to the team and the play — that is so much better than hearing the homer announcers I’ve heard otherwise… yet, he was a true Hokie to the bone and that showed through, too – in a good way! Gonna really miss him. Hope we get someone as lively, professional, and dedicated as he is, and keep the “homer” part out of it

  7. Oh man…this is a real stomach punch. Honestly there’s not a single person I would’ve rather lost from VT athletics less than Bill Roth. Ugh.

  8. From the blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the hills of Tennessee there will never be a finer Hokie call than Bill Roth’s voice. Whoever Tech hires can only succeed him, they can never replace him.

  9. I’m old enough that I remember Jeff Charles well. I was disappointed when he left and remember thinking who is this kid they’ve hired! Then the kid named Bill Roth turned out to be great and I worried he leave. Then after all these years I assumed he’d never leave, I was wrong……..But maybe we’ll get lucky again, who knows.

    Congratulations to Bill and thanks for the memories!

  10. Good Luck to Bill, he’ll miss us as much as we will miss him. Great opportunity in a huge market.

  11. Being born in 1987 I have always remembered Roth as the voice. This is very surprising but I wish him well on the West Coast. He’ll always be a Hokie to me and hopefully everyone else that hears his voice.
    Good Luck Bill and GO HOKIES!!!!!

  12. Very happy for Bill (he has certainly earned it and is one of the best). But this sucks for the Hokie Nation…


  13. I think the only people who could leave VT and have more people disappointed are Beamer and Foster. That says a lot.

    1. I would agree with you. I have loved his calls and think He and Burnop have made a great pair for Tech. We’ll miss him. Hopefully the new hire will merit a long run as well.

  14. Are they gonna let Mikey call “Touchdown, Tech!!” or are we gonna have to break in a n00b?

    Seriously, though… sad to hear Roth is leaving, but he’s had a great run in Blacksburg. Not bad for a Syracuse guy.

  15. The times they are a changing. Really hate to see Bill leave, but he has EARNED the opportunity to be close to family and to serve a prestigious university.

  16. Wow…. did not see this coming at all. I wish him all the best but this is going to be tough to adjust to. I live in Atlanta and have seen/heard the results of greats leaving both Georgia (Munson) and Georgia Tech (Wes Durham) and neither broadcast holds a candle to the previous ones. Having Burnop carry over should help but these are major shoes to fill.

  17. This really sucks to hear, VT games won’t be the same without Roth. One of the best in the business, he will be missed.

  18. Bill,

    Good luck. We will miss you but you will love UCLA. My undergrad is from VT and my MBA is from UCLA. The campus is beautiful (so are the girls), especially when the jacarandas are in bloom. I did not love LA but the Westwood, Brentwood and Santa Monica areas are a nice place to hang out.

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