When bringing up the term, Hokie Ball, it could very well apply to multiple sports. As a fan, and a non fan, you’d expect some level of competitiveness to exist in whatever sport the term may apply.
So, the news that Virginia Tech’s baseball coach, Patrick Mason, was let go shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Mason didn’t improve the program much.
His run with this particular version of Hokie Ball finished with an overall record of 90-126-1 and a 37-82 record in the ACC. Mason simply was on the wrong side of the numbers.
Virginia Tech has turned the corner on sports. We’re okay isn’t good enough. We’re right in there, referring to middle of the standings, just won’t cut it.
The move to replace Mason simply makes that much more sense when you factor in that Virginia Tech’s baseball field is undergoing a big renovation. The field is expected to be ready for the 2018 season so it’ll be a new era in more ways than one.
Given Athletic Director Whit Babcock’s track record with new hires, the newest addition to the coaching ranks will be an odds on favorite to bring a winning program to Virginia Tech baseball. No pressure there, huh? Think of it as a challenge instead.
Looking For A New Skipper
Let’s look at a couple of examples that seem to have worked out nicely so far.
Babcock hired Buzz Williams away from Marquette. “Buzzketball” debuted at Virginia Tech and Williams took them to the NCAA Tournament last year. It was the first time since the 2006-2007 season. And with the way the team is shaping up, the Hokies figure to be back there again very soon.
Next, Babcock climbed the highest mountain when he hired Justin Fuente to succeed Frank Beamer. Fuente took the football team to the ACC Championship Game in his first year.
Then, he added Kenny Brooks to coach the women’s basketball team. Brooks had the Hokies ranked in the top 15 at one point this year, before faltering in the second half of the season. But, the women’s team had a 20 win season for the first time since the 2005-2006 season. Brooks returns his top two scorers for next season, so you would have to imagine that there should be a similar outcome.
Babcock is regarded as one of the best athletic directors around. In addition to his successful coaching hires, he has done a great job of fundraising for the Hokies athletic department.
Essentially, he will have the resources to go get a successful replacement to helm the baseball team.
With a quick look at Babcock’s track record, there’s one thing you should take away. He’s all about being a winner.
I would not be the least bit surprised to see Hokie Ball becoming a factor in the highly competitive world of ACC Baseball under the new skipper.
Make that sooner rather than later.