Virginia Tech entered a new era on December 12, 1986, when it named someone other than a former football coach to be its athletic director. James I. “Bud” Robertson, who chaired a 23-man search committee, had called their task “the most critical period in the history of Virginia Tech athletics. We can’t afford to make a mistake.”
Robertson maintained the search committee wanted a man “who loves mother, peach pie, and all those other things that are fine and good in this world.”
Their choice: 37-year old Dale T. “Dutch” Baughman.
Baughman (pronounced BOCK-man), a TCU graduate, had been associate commissioner of the Southwest Conference. He came to Blacksburg with a handlebar mustache, cowboy boots, and an affinity for describing things he didn’t appreciate as “sheep dip.”
I don’t know if he liked peach pie, but he ended up saying “sheep dip” more than anyone expected.
Baughman had a “to-do” list was longer than a David Foster Wallace novel, but his first mandate was clear: Hire a football coach to replace Bill Dooley, and try to keep a straight face when the candidate asked about salary.
Temple University’s Bruce Arians – who played quarterback for Virginia Tech from 1972-74 – was in the discussion. But among Hokie fans, Bobby Ross was the popular choice. He had led the University of Maryland to four bowls in five years, finished in the Top 20 three times, and he had just recently resigned from the Terrapins because...
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