Virginia Tech Hires Bill Lansden to Run the Hokie Club

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Bill Lansden
Bill Lansden

BLACKSBURG — The Virginia Tech Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in conjunction with the Office of University Development announced today the hiring of Bill Lansden as Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development and Executive Director of the Hokie Club. In this role, Lansden will be responsible for the leadership of all facets of a comprehensive athletic development program and charged with the continued growth and evolution of the Hokie Club.

“We are pleased to welcome Bill and his family to the Virginia Tech family,” Athletics Director Whit Babcock said. “Enhancing the Hokie Club and expanding our donor base has become even more important in this new era of ‘cost-of-attendance’ and escalating scholarship costs. Bill’s proven ability and experience in leading a staff coupled with his skill for cultivating genuine relationships with donors and constituents make him an ideal fit for Virginia Tech. While he has big shoes to fill in replacing Lu Merritt, we know Bill will be up for the challenge and will work well with the talented and dedicated staff and volunteers we already have in place.”

Lansden comes to Blacksburg from Birmingham, Alabama, where he spent the past two years as the senior associate AD for external relations at the University of Alabama Birmingham. While at UAB, he oversaw a staff of 25 in the areas of development, marketing, media relations and ticketing for the Blazers’ 18 sports. He also served as the liaison with the university’s development office.

Prior to working at UAB, he spent nine years (2004-13) as the associate AD for athletics development at the University of Memphis, where he oversaw two capital campaigns, the major gifts program and annual giving. During his time at Memphis, the athletics development department set six consecutive annual giving and donor participation records.

Lansden also worked as the associate AD for external operations at Middle Tennessee State (2002-04), where he oversaw the development program and increased annual giving membership by more than 40 percent. Early in his career (1994-2002) he also held positions with the FedEx St. Jude Classic in corporate sales and hospitality and had a prior stint at Memphis earning his stripes in the annual giving program.

“I look forward to returning to my true love, which is focusing solely on development and fundraising. Being able to serve in that capacity at Virginia Tech, which has such a strong national brand, provides a wonderful opportunity for me and my family,” Lansden said. “I’ve known Lu Merritt [outgoing senior director of development for intercollegiate athletics] and respect his accomplishments and those of his staff, and I’ve known Whit Babcock for more than 10 years. He and Desiree Reed-Francois [executive associate AD] are building a great team and a strong foundation for success; being a part of that energy and vision is very appealing to me. I am also very impressed with the team we have in the Hokie Club and in the University Development office. Exciting times at Virginia Tech.

“I can’t wait to meet the Hokie Nation and get started. I’m ready to embrace the challenges of raising the resources needed to continue moving Virginia Tech Athletics in a positive direction. We’ve got some momentum; we need to build on it, and we will.”

As the chief major gift officer for Intercollegiate Athletics, Lansden will be responsible for the planning and implementation of the overall fundraising efforts from all private sources and will work in close cooperation with the University’s Central Development Office. He will assume his new duties on or near July 15.

Lansden earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Rhodes College (TN), where he lettered four-years in football while also serving as team captain. He received his Master of Science degree in sports administration from Georgia State in 1993.

Born and raised in Memphis, Bill is joined by his wife, Blair, who is a former women’s basketball player at the University of Arkansas and former head coach at the University of Memphis. The Lansdens have two 9-year old twin daughters, Madeline and Delaney.

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13 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. There is no question that Whit has hired the best candidate that he can find. This “outsider” as some of you choose to call him, will be an insider in no time, and we will see the merits of Whit’s action.

  2. If you haven’t noticed most recent major hires by VT have been non-VT connected people.
    This job is all about building relationships with Alumni, going outside the VT community may not be a good idea. Whit is bringing in his own team, all of which are only beholding to Whit. I understand that is best for Whit, but I am not sure that is best for VT. I think Pres Sands and AD Whit are all-stars, I haven’t seen the same with their hires. There are a lot of good people out there, I hope we got the best available, waiting to see the results, time will only tell.

    1. I also want to personally thank Lu for all the good work that he has done for his Alma Mater.

    2. Outside experience is exactly what we needed! VT was too “inbred” for lack of a better term.

  3. since he’s from UAB (school of the football powerhouse UAB “undecided’s” ):

    a) hope Whit verified that his blood colors are Orange and Maroon;

    b) he automatically jumps when “Enter Sandman” is played;

    c) he doesn’t bring any UAB football administrative traditions with him.

    Welcome aboard, Sir. Help us get what we ain’t got yet!

    Go Hokies!

  4. With all due respect to Lu, the Hokie Club needs a shot in the arm. The stagnating contributions over the past several years are a symptom of that. Just as Whit has done across a number of other areas, he’s trying to elevate our development functions into that of big-boy athletics. Unfortunately, Hokie Club had been resting on their post-MV successes for quite some time, and the number (both contributors and overall donations) show it. While we’ll never be Alabama, I think with the right focus and talent leading the area, there is a lot more $ to be mined.

  5. i hope he is as personable and helpful as Lou has been for years. not sure outsider is a good choice. and finally i hope he doesnt come in and PO members with some hair brained idea on how to improve the association.
    however maybe he should go after students and past graduates for money.

    1. Disagree. A lot. All due respect to outgoing Lu, an outsider is welcome, exactly what the Hokie Club needs. I won’t be surprised, after a break-in period, we’ll all say Whit has made another great hire.

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