The State of the Program, 2010: The Fans

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Every school that has success in college football is dependent on one thing
above all others: their fans. Coaches and players come and go. New facilities
are built, and old ones are torn down. The only thing that remains is the fan
base. It is the cornerstone – the foundation – of all programs. Virginia Tech is
fortunate enough to have a very good fan base, which means their potential as a
program is very strong.

To understand where Virginia Tech football is today, you must first
understand where it came from. We’ll start out with a brief history lesson.

An Amazing Rise

Today we picture Virginia Tech as a large school with a buzzing campus. It is
the perfect example of a modern research university. However, it wasn’t always
that way.

Up until the 1960’s, service in the Corps of Cadets was a requirement for
students. Once that barrier was broken, and President T. Marshall Hahn started
an ambitious development program that began the transition from regional
military school to national research center, Tech’s future started looking much
brighter. In fact, enrollment at Tech tripled during Hahn’s presidency
(1962-1974).

I couldn’t find an exact number for living Virginia Tech alums, but the
number is around 200,000, probably slightly less. That number would be
significantly smaller if not for the changes that took place in the 1960s and
early 1970s. Those of you who were around to see that transition first hand will
have a good idea of what I’m talking about. You are the people who really
appreciate how far the Hokies have come.

Even today, Tech’s alumni base of around 200,000 is significantly smaller
than other schools in college athletics. Penn State and Michigan have over
450,000 living alums, while Ohio State has over 425,000. Florida has over
300,000. There is a reason those schools have stadiums that seat 100,000 people,
and their revenue is so large … they have huge fan bases. As enthusiastic as
the Tech fan base is, they

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