Go Tech Go, Part 61: ACC Expansion Process Begins

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2016.09.24. East Carolina (ECU, Pirates) at Virginia Tech (Hokies). Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA.

Click here for all parts of the series

While the Hokies did not bring home the National Championship trophy on January 4, 2000, the night was not a total loss. The Hokies’ presence in the title game was so bright, officials from the Atlantic Coast Conference could not help but squint from the glare.

“I remember being invited up to the hospitality room in the Superdome by ACC Commissioner John Swofford,” said sports television executive Ken Haines, who served as Virginia Tech’s university spokesman and liaison to the athletics department from 1970-82, and radio network analyst from 1974-82. “Paul Torgersen (Virginia Tech’s 14th president) and Charles Steger (Virginia Tech’s 15th president) were there. We all talked about the possibility of Virginia Tech joining the ACC. Torgersen thought it was ‘another wild goose chase.’ I said, ‘No, Paul, I think this is for real.’

“I know John Swofford couldn’t have been more pleasant and receptive to Paul and Charles that night. He encouraged them to keep the effort up. He believed there was a chance something could happen down the road.” 

A year earlier, at the ACC Basketball Tournament, Haines was in the hospitality area with University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III. They were chit-chatting when Casteen asked him, “So, Ken, what’s your background?”

Haines told