Personal reflections on Jim Weaver’s retirement

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Jim Weaver; image courtesy of The Roanoke Times

What you’re about to read will be different than anything else you’ll read about Jim Weaver’s retirement announcement. I’ll warn you ahead of time that you may not like some of it. But I promise you that it will be blunt, honest and personal.

In the end, Jim Weaver’s long career at Virginia Tech is ending quickly. We all know that his health has been eroding since the early 2000s, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a fact that he announced publicly in 2006.

But I always thought that when the end came, it would be an announcement that Mr. Weaver was retiring at the end of an academic year, months in the future, or perhaps at the end of the next calendar year. A good source told me a few months back that a contract buyout was in the works, and I figured it would extend through the end of this academic year (May/June 2014), maybe even all the way through the end of 2014.

But instead, we find that it’s going to be soon: the end of December 2013.

Before I continue, let me preface the rest of this column by saying that I have a different perspective on Jim Weaver than perhaps anyone else, certainly different from the large majority of what you’ll read in the wake of this announcement. To be completely honest, for a time there, I disliked him intensely.

Many of you know that for 13 years it was Jim Weaver and (within the VT athletic department) only Jim Weaver who refused to grant media access to We started operating as media — as best we could — when I quit my “day job” and started working on the site full time in August of 1999. We requested media access