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January 29, 2014

Babcock Introduced As VT AD

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As his counterparts at today's press conference talked about him and the search it took to make him Virginia Tech's new director of athletics, Whit Babcock showed he was a bit nervous.

He took a few deep breaths and kept a stern look, except when looking at his family seated in the front row of the Schott media center at Lane Stadium.

In a time of change for a university that's had plenty of regular faces for years, Babcock is who Virginia Tech is looking to in leading its athletics department to the next phase. And Babcock is ready to take the wheel, as he was introduced to his new position this afternoon.

Babcock was announced as director of athletics Friday, completing a search that looked at over 50 candidates and began when Jim Weaver resigned from the position in October, amid growing health concerns.

Though he's been the director of athletics at the University of Cincinnati since October of 2011, Babcock is a Virginia guy at heart. He was born Lynchburg, Va. and grew up in Harrisonburg, Va. and graduated from James Madison in 1992, where he played baseball for his father and coach, Brad Babcock.

"When those closest to me, my family, my mentors would ask, 'What if you could pick one place in the country to be the director of athletics?'" Babcock said. "That answer has been and is, Virginia Tech."

Babcock said he wanted to be the head Hokie for two reasons: fit and opportunity. And outgoing president Charles Steger agrees.

"We recognized (Babcock's) substantial experience and managing what is a large business enterprise that's gonna grow," he said. "His ability to attract and identify talented coaches and staff and we were also impressed with his ability to energize the fan base, which is very important. And we were pleased to have someone who has this well-rounded experience and talent and someone who believes that the athletic program must be in line with the university's mission and core values."

Babcock is the second prominent figure to join Virginia Tech in the past two months. Purdue provost Timothy Sands was announced last month as the replacement to Steger, who will be retiring effective June 1. Both played a role in Babcock's hiring and commended his hire.

As Babcock's press conference turned to questions from the media, Babcock seemed more at ease. And as he gets more into his new role, he and the rest of Hokie nation hope he feels more and more at home.


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