This uva season is resembling the Hokies’ season of 2 years ago more and more. A bubble team beats a highly ranked duke team at home – check x 2. They then lose 2 straight games to follow – check x 2. Tech’s bubble burst 2 years ago despite 2 wins in the ACC Tourney, and you have to think uva is staring down a similar fate with a home game vs maryland to close the regular season and then the ACC-T. uva’s RPI was in the 60s already (just like VT’s was) and is sure to drop.
Oh, and Michael Snaer is the most clutch player in basketball, the anti-Lebron.
With one game to go, Tech’s seeding options for the ACC Tournament are pretty straight forward. They can finish in the 10, 11, or 12 slot.
10 – VT wins at wake and clemson loses at miami. Would play fsu or maryland in the Thursday night session at 7 PM.
11 – VT wins at wake and clemson wins at miami (hey, gt just won at miami so it is possible). Would play maryland or fsu in the Thursday night session at 9:30 PM.
12 – VT loses at wake, they finish dead last all by themselves and would play nc state or uva at 2:30 on Thursday.
Just over two years ago the Virginia Tech Hokies took down the #1 duke blue devils at home. The win was huge for Tech because going into the game they were firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble and lacking a marque win. The victory over the top-ranked devils gave VT that win and moved Tech to 9-5 in the ACC. The Hokies had a RPI in the 50s at that point with two regular season games remaining against bc and clemson.
We all know what happened — Tech dropped both contests to finish 9-7 in the ACC, fell into the 60s (finished #62 in the RPI) and didn’t make the Big Dance despite two wins in the ACC Tournament.
Since that duke win, the Hokies are just 8-26 in ACC regular season games.
Fast forward two years and one day later — the wahoos of uva knock off the #3 duke blue devils to move to 10-5 in the ACC with 3 games remaining. Who was up next? You got it – boston college. And the 4-11 eagles knocked off the hoos 53-52 on Sunday to drop uva to 10-6. uva blew an 11-point 2nd half lead and the eagles hit a 3 to take the lead with 8 seconds left before uva turned it over to effectively end the game (Akil Mitchell hit a half-court shot just after the buzzer).
uva came into the game in the mid-50s (#57 last I saw) in the RPI, and the loss to a bc squad that is around 150 in the RPI will surely drop the hoos significantly. uva now has games at fsu and home vs maryland left. Welcometo our world, hoos, life on the bubble…
And here’s hoping uva goes 8-26 in the ACC over the next two years.
On Saturday night Hokie fans will get their final glimpse of two seniors – Erick Green and Joey Racer. Yep, IT’S SENIOR DAY! One is a contender for ACC Player of the Year, the other a popular walk-on. ALL FANS ARE ENCOURAGED TO WEAR GREEN to support The Winchester Rifle, and if you have a green ‘Speed Racer’ shirt to also honor Joey, all the better!
Let’s look back at their careers:
ERICK “THE WINCHESTER RIFLE” GREEN:
Erick will finish his career as one of the all time best Virginia Tech basketball players of all time, possibly even one of the 10 best. And his senior season has been nothing short of magical. No one could have expected this evolution of his game, but it shows that hard work can take you from a guy that scored just 88 total points his freshman year (2.6 ppg) to one of Tech’s top 10 all time scorers (he’s just 68 points from making the top 10).
Here’s where he ranks currently on the all time VT lists:
POINTS: 15th (1638)
ASSISTS: 9th (319)
Here’s a look back at the evolution of Mr. Green.
It seems like Erick Green has been a Hokie for forever, and in fact, he committed to Virginia Tech almost exactly five years ago on January 25th, 2008. At that point, Erick was a junior at Millbrook High School in his hometown of Winchester, VA. I remember watching him lead the Pioneers in the Virginia AA State Championship Game, scoring 18 points in a 53-43 win over Bryant Stith’s (remember him from uva?) Brunswick County squad. Erick was named Virginia AA Player of the Year after averaging 19 ppg. You could tell he was a winner and I was giddy about getting him in burnt orange and Chicago maroon.
Erick’s senior year he switched to private Paul VI Catholic HS in my hometown of Fairfax, VA, and had no trouble adapting to the more competitive private school scene, averaging over 16 ppg. Erick made theWashington Post All-Met team among other honors and led Paul VI to the Virginia Independent Schools Division I Championship. After that senior season, Erick would play in the Capital Classic (and get arm curled), as well as the Reebok All-American Game, both in Washington, DC.
While Green adjusted to Paul VI very easily as a high school senior, his transition to college was not as smooth. In fact, it was pretty brutal at times, on the court, that is. Erick was not an instant star by any stretch. Remember that awkward, lurching jumpshot he had? Many of you have probably forgotten it, but the odd, falling away stroke did not produce much success early on.
2.6 ppg. That’s it. The NCAA’s current leading scorer averaged just 2.6 ppg in 13 minutes, playing in every game. The shooting numbers are even tougher to believe given the diamond he is today.
29% on FGs
28% on 3s
And those stats are misleading. Once ACC play got underway, Erick couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. I’m talking a Doo-Doo (last year) like slump, or a Robert Brown-like (current) struggle. Here were his ACC numbers.
FGs: 12% (5/41)
3-Pointers: 16% (3/19)
In Tech’s final 12 ACC games, he was 2/30 on FGs (7%) and 1/12 on 3-pointers (8%), and he banked in that 3-pointer against uva! When Erick hit a jumper in the NIT Quarterfinal game against rhode island, a mock cheer went up from the crowd and one fan yelled, “Stop the game! Give’em the ball!”
There was chatter that Green wasn’t an ACC-caliber player after the season. Well, that would change…
Green’s sophomore year started much like his freshman year, with that weird hitch in his shot and limited success. After six games, he was averaging 5.0 ppg and was just 2/12 (17%) from 3-point range.
Then, the news came that Dorenzo Hudson was going to be shut down for the season and Erick was inserted into the starting lineup for Tech’s game with penn state on December 12th, 2010. The results were instantaneous. Green tied his career high with 15 points on 6/11 shooting, including 2/5 from behind the arc.
And a star was born. Erick would go on to score in double figures in the next 10 games, and 22 of Tech’s final 26 contests. That was highlighted by a new career high of 24 points at maryland on January 20th in a 74-57 win over the terps. Green was 12/16 from the floor that night, along with 4 steals. He followed that up with 14 points, 3 steals and 5 assists against longwood, leading to him being named ACC Player of the Week.
Erick wasn’t just scoring, he also became one of the best point guards in the ACC. He had an incredible assist-to-turnover ratio after becoming a starter, with 84 assists to just 37 turnovers (2.3-to-1). In one 6 game span he dished out 15 assists without a single turnover.
The only drawback his sophomore year was his 3-point percentage actually fell, from 28% as a freshman down to 25%.
With Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen gone, and Dorenzo Hudson shaking off the rust from his injuries, Erick Green became Tech’s star. And he answered the bell, going on to be named 2nd-Team All-ACC as a junior.
Erick scored in double figures in the first 27 games of the season (the streak was at 30 games overall) before clemson snapped that streak in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Green was the model of consistency, scoring double digits in 29 of 30 games, but never eclipsing the 25-point mark.
In the ACC Tournament, Erick carried the Hokies to a first round win over clemson, avenging the tigers holding him to 8 points a week earlier. Erick had 24 points on 7/11 FGs, 2/4 3s, 8/8 FTs, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Green’s success came in large part to his fixed jumpshot. He hit 38% of his 112 three-pointers, helping him go from 11.6 ppg as a sophomore to 15.6.
Erick Green is having a phenomenal senior season, but where does he rank all-time?
EG might as well be short for ‘Every Game’. Erick comes to play every game. Green reaches double figures in points almost every game. Check out these stats since becoming a starter early in his sophomore year (in terms of scoring 10+ points):
51 of 56 games
30 of his last 33 ACC games (amazingly, clemson supplied two of the three he hasn’t reached double digits)
30 games in a row (sophomore to junior year)
22 games in a row (current streak)
This year, he’s even turned it up a notch:
20+ points in 18 of 19 games
22+ in all 6 ACC games, including a career high 35 against uva
But what has impressed me the most is his shooting numbers. Remember that lurching jumpshot? It’s gone. Erick is now deadly from the baseline behind the arc (and inside).
Those numbers for a guard are incredible. He also has that Jordan-like fadeaway jumper that is unstoppable, a nice pull-up jumper and runner in the paint, and gets to the line at almost Malcolm Delaney-like frequency. He’s 139/170 from the line (7.3 makes on 8.9 attempts per game). Green likely won’t catch Delaney’s records of 230 makes on 273 attempts from his junior year, but could reach his 181/213 from his senior season.
Green has been named ACC Player of the Week twice this year, giving him the honor three times for his career. After winning it on November 26th for 53 combined points against unc-g-spot and appy state, Erick won the award for the second week in a row thanks to 52 combined points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals on 14/25 FGs, 4/11 3s, and 10/22 FTs against iowa and oklahoma state. His performance against undefeated okie state was legendary – 28 points, 6/10 FGs, 4/7 3s, 12/13 FTs, 7 boards.
Plus, Erick is starting to enter hallowed ground in terms of Virginia Tech basketball players. He’s currently 15th on the all time points list with 1638 (he just passed our good buddy, Chris Smith, who’s #5 on our top 10 list of all time greatest Hokies). To make the top 10 on the scoring list (and knock VT legend Ace Custis out of the top 10), he needs just 68 more points in Tech’s final four-plus games (three regular season games and the ACC Tournament). Green likely won’t be able to get higher than #10 unless Tech goes on a run in the ACC Tourney and the Rifle really starts lighting it up (Bob Ayersman is #9 with 1782 points).
Green will come up just short of the top 10 in terms of steals. He’s at 152 and needs to get to 183 to tie Carlos Dixon for 10th. But Erick has already cracked the top 10 in assists. He’s at 319, 9th on the all time VT list, and will likely finish #8 on the assists list.
Erick’s 24.9 ppg would be the 5th highest season average for a Hokie, behind Bimbo Coles (twice — 26.6 and 25.3), Bob Ayersman (26.5), and Allan Bristow (25.0).
The accolades should also follow. First Team All-ACC is a lock at this point, and Player of the Year (no Hokie has done that before) isn’t out of the question though Tech’s record may prevent that and allow Shane Larkin or Mason Plumlee to win it. Could Erick be a First Team All-American? It is certainly possible if he leads the nation in scoring. And he has to be considered for the Wooden Award, though that almost always goes to a player on a winning team, so that isn’t likely.
IT’S BEEN EASY WATCHING GREEN:
Erick was blessed with good height for a guard at 6’3?, has a great vertical leap, and his instincts on defense off the ball to intercept passes seems ingrained in him. But he had to work to be a great scorer, or as is the case right now, the best scorer in the NCAA. What you see today is the by-product of lots of hard work and hours spent in the gym. To think he could go from averaging 2.6 ppg as a freshman and shooting 12% in ACC play, to potentially one of the 10 greatest Hokies of all time, is nothing short of remarkable. It has been a pleasure to watch him evolve, as a Virginian and as a Hokie, and here’s to one of the greatest success stories in Hokie basketball history! And let’s hope he’s rewarded with the ACC Player of the Year honor and a NCAA scoring title.
All-ACC Second Team (junior year)
ACC Player of the Week (3 times – once as a sophomore and twice this season)
Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 (senior year)
Erick’s Greatest Games:
The Coming Out Party – 12/12/10 – @VT 79, penn state 69 – 15 points on 6/11 shooting including 2/5 on 3s in his first start of the season (2nd of his career)
Homecoming – 1/20/11 – VT 74, @maryland 57 – 24 points on 12/16 shooting and 4 steals – went on to be named ACC POTW
The Warrior – 11/30/11 – @minnesota 58, VT 55 – 25 points (his career high entering this season) on 9/18 FGs and 4/8 3s — nearly injured badly falling down metal stairs (yes, they have an elevated court with metal stairs) but came back and almost hit a game-tying 3.
Sixth Man – 12/7/11 – VT 78, @rhode island 67 – 24 points on 10/14 FGs and 3 steals – had been benched for the start of the game.
Not Dead Yet – 3/8/12 – VT 68, clemson 63 – 24 points on 7/11 shooting and 4 assists as VT knocks off clemson in the ACC Tourney first round.
OK Shootout – 12/1/12 – @VT 81, #15 oklahoma state 71 – A then career high 28 points on 6/10 FGs, 4/7 3s, and 12/13 FTs, and 7 rebounds.
Mountain Man – 12/8/12 – @wvu 68, VT 67 – 23 points and a career high 10 assists.
Be Brave – 12/22/12 – VT 66, bradley 65 (OT) – 31 points (11/20 FGs) and 8 rebounds in 41 minutes of play.
hoo’s Your Daddy – 1/24/13 – uva 74, @VT 58 – A career high 35 points on 11/18 FGs, 3/6 3s, 10/13 FTs, and a career high 9 rebounds.
u the Man – 1/30/13 – #5 miami 73, @VT 64 – 30 points on 11/20 FGs and 5/8 3s against one of the top 10 defenses in the nation.
JOEY “SPEED” RACER:
Joey has been a two-year player, appearing in 6 games last year and 9 this year.
Majors in civil engineering.
Has scored 8 career points, including his only 3-pointer this season against east tennessee state.
Went to Clarke County HS in Berryville, VA.
Leads the team with a 67% shooting percentage this season (2/3).
Saturday will be his 2nd career start after starting in the home finale last year against nc state (his first ‘senior day’).
Two historic games in VT hoops history took place on this date, both in the Cassell. One, a difficult loss against #1 team in the nation (umass) when Tech was also ranked in the Top 10, and the other a very satisfying win over #7 duke in Tech’s first year in the ACC. Here’s a look back…
2005 – VT 67, #7 duke 65
Collins Dunks – Photo courtesy of TechSideline.com
This is one of my favorite Hokie wins ever. Why? Because in the first meeting just 19 days earlier at Cameron Indoor (Tech’s first ever ACC game against duke), the Hokies were called for 33 fouls. 33! The blue devils shot 49 free throws. But Coach Greenberg sent a clear message – we would not just lay down in the ACC and take it on the chin. Coach got ejected in the second half, beside himself at the pro-duke officiating. And we all loved it. duke won the day (100-65), but we had our pride.
Enter duke to the Cassell less than three weeks later…
A rag-tag bunch of Hokies, that included NFL Tight End Jeff King, battled the devils all night tooth-and-nail all night, taking on 5 future NBA players (local boy J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Daniel Ewing, Shavlik Randolph, and DeMarcus Nelson) and a future Obama aid, Reggie “Teabag” Love.
The game went back and forth, with Tech leading most of the first half, including by as many as 8. duke took a 36-35 lead at the break and led 48-41 with 13 minutes to go, but VT battled back and took a 58-54 lead thanks to a 7-0 run with 7 minutes to go. J.J. Redick hit a 3 with 28 seconds left to put duke up 65-64. That set the stage for one of the biggest shots in VT history…
Zabian Dowdell hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to put the Hokies up, and Daniel Ewing missed two shots in the closing seconds, sending seemingly the entire arena onto the floor.
The Redicks would whine after the game that fans were taunting them after the game from on the court and they couldn’t leave. The story goes that Weaver told them to shut up (love it!). Although opponent seating in the ACC would change forever after that game, with opponents’ seats protected from other fans entering them (you’ll notice it at all ACC games now — you’re welcome).
Carlos Dixon led VT with 18, Jamon Gordon 17, Coleman Collins had 14, and Dowdell 11. Jeff King had 7 points and 4 rebounds in his best career game.
Random fact – my sister had a friend that was a duke fan. He predicted VT would never beat duke, and if they did, he’d get a tattoo of her choice on his rump. It took us two tries. He never paid up. Jerk.
This was the biggest Hokie regular season home game of the 1990s. Tech came into this #10 in the nation, 19-2 on the season, and less than a year removed from a NIT title.
Students camped out for five-plus days to get tickets to this game. I know, because I was there. And this was mid-February in Blacksburg. It was in the twenties most nights, including an ice storm one night. No one left their tents. It looked like a Shanty town. After 5 days of camping out, I got tickets in the very last row of the Cassell. Maybe I should have camped out 6 days.
umass was 24-0 when they headed to Blacksburg. They had already beaten kentucky, maryland, florida, wake, bc, gt, nc state, syracuse, memphis, and pittsburgh (wow!). Oh, and John Calipari was their coach. They featured Marcus Camby, Donta Bright, Dana Dingle, and Edgar Padilla.
Well, the minutemen were too much for the Hokies. Tech trailed by just 5 at the break, and the Hokies did make a nice run in the second half, but umass pulled away and won easily 74-58 behind 31 from Camby. Ace Custis was just 3/13 in the game for 7 points. Damon Watlington led the Hokies with 17.
The announced attendance was 10,052, almost 200 more than capacity. I bet there were 11,000 in there.
In Tech’s two games in the Triangle this year, they’ve shot 17 total free throws (10 vs unc, 7 vs nc state). Their opponents have shot 70 (unc 27, nc state 43). As a result, they’ve been outscored 50-13 from the line in those two games.
There are several ways to interpret that data. One is Tech is not being aggressive enough on offense, the other is the traditional ACC schools are getting the benefit of the calls, or some mix of the two. I’ll let you form your own opinion.
BONUS STAT: HOKIES NO LONGER OWN OT
Going into their game at duke last season, the Hokies were 11-2 in ACC overtime games.
Tech is 1-3 since then, with losses at duke, unc, and nc state (and a win over georgia tech).
The Hokies completed an improbable sweep of the tar holes on this date six years ago, taking down the heels in overtime 81-80. The Hokies had knocked off the then #1 tar heels 94-88 a month earlier.
Zabian Dowdell scored 33 points in the game, the most at that time by a Hokie in an ACC game. He was unstoppable in the second half… well, actually, they could only stop him by fouling him (he was 17/19 from the line).
One of my favorite memories from this game was Nigel Munson. Tech trailed 73-72 with 35 seconds left and a Hokie got fouled, but was injured on the play. Nigel Munson, a freshman, had to come in cold off the bench and shoot the free throws. He missed the first but drained the second calmly, forcing overtime.
Tech would score just 8 points in OT (6 by Dowdell), but a critical missed free throw by Hansbrough with 12 seconds left and two wild jumpers by Ty Lawson with 2 seconds left were blocked by Deron Washington (sound like duke?) allowed the Hokies to hang on for the monumental win, despite VT not scoring in the final 87 seconds. Hansbrough, Lawson, Ellington, Green, and Wright were no match for the Hokies that night. I would rank this win up there as one of my all time favorites along with the NIT Championship in ’95 and the win over duke in 2005.
DuffHokie and I were so elated over the win, we stole a broom from Bailey’s Bar in Arlington and started ‘sweeping’ the heels in the bar out of the building. They weren’t very amused as you can see in the pictures.
This game still marks the only time Tech has won in Chapel Hill since joining the league (and this was their first attempt). The Hokies have lost 4 straight but have won 5 times all time there, compared to 0 for 50-something for clemson.
This article takes a look at Virginia Tech’s dramatic drop in basketball attendance and how it will mean an estimated $1 million less in basketball revenue this year compared to last year.
We all know what the Virginia Tech Athletic Director is all about — staying in the black and out of the red. Whether this is Jim “Blue Light Special” Weaver’s own agenda, or it has been dictated to him from above, it has clearly been his primary focus.
I know what Weaver is thinking — by hiring bargain basement coaches, he is saving the program, and athletic department, money. But what Weaver seems to miss is that he’s actually costing Tech money by hiring coaches that: a) don’t create excitement around the program, which sells tickets (How many people bought season tickets for this year because James Johnson was the head coach?); and b) don’t have a proven history of winning, which after all, is what will ultimately get fannies in the seats (just look at miami — after 8-1/2 years of horrible attendance numbers they are suddenly selling out every game).
Let’s look at some of the attendance numbers…
A packed Cassell was the norm a few years ago
400. In Tech’s first six seasons in the ACC, they sold all but 400 tickets to their 48 ACC home games, an average of just eight unfilled seats per game in the 9,847 seat Cassell Coliseum. And three of those six seasons were completely sold out for all eight home ACC games.
6,064. In the previous two seasons, Greenberg’s last two at VT, this is the total number of unsold seats for the 16 ACC home games. That may sound like a lot, but that still means Tech was averaging 9,468 fans per ACC home game, or 96% of capacity. Not too shabby.
While those great attendance numbers partially had to do with the fact the Hokies were now in the ACC and playing local rivals like uva and maryland and powers like duke and unc, you can’t just attribute it to that. The biggest factor was winning. That’s what got people to put down $400+ dollars for season tickets year after year, instead of just buying single game tickets for the ‘big’ games and skipping out of conference contests and the lesser ACC games, like bc or clemson.
By comparison, fellow ACC newcomer miami sold just 80% of their ACC game tickets their first year in the league. That steadily dropped each year for a program that had never had a winning ACC record until this year. Last season, miami sold just 62% of their ACC tickets. boston college sold 99% of their ACC tickets their first year in the league, but that fell to 80% by their third season and they sold just 59% of their ACC tickets last season. The drop fell as the eagles went from playing in the ACC Tourney title game their first year, to a perpetual cellar-dwellar. And that brings us to…
Plenty of good seats still available
6,100. That number represents the average attendance at Tech’s six ACC home games so far this year (2nd lowest in the ACC ahead of just bc), just 62% of capacity and means more than 22,000 seats haven’t been sold in the six ACC games in the Cassell (even the uva game only drew 7,200 fans). At this pace, Tech will see just under 55,000 fans combined attend their nine ACC home games. The previous low was just under 75,000 fans (that was last season), and that was with one less ACC home game. It also means over 33,000 tickets went unsold to the ACC games this year.
At the bottom of this article I’ve included the average attendance per game and per ACC game for each season since Tech joined the ACC.
REVENUE AND SALARIES:
Now let’s look at dollars and cents…
Here are some of the key numbers for Virginia Tech for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, according to THIS ARTICLE.
Total Revenue: $64.8 million (8th in the ACC)
Profits for the entire Athletic Department: $3.75 million (2nd in the ACC)
Men’s Basketball Revenue: $11.1 million (5th in the ACC). This includes tickets, TV revenue, donations, and apparel sales among other things.
Greenberg’s buyout was $1.2 million
In 2010-11, Tech basketball was the 94th most profitable program when compared to all college football and basketball teams with a profit of more than $3 million according to THIS DATA (football was #26 with a profit of almost $15 million). Tech had a $4.3 million profit overall in the athletic department in 2010-11.
In 2009-10, Tech had $9.2 million in basketball revenue and a profit of $4.5 million in hoops.
$245k/$680k. That’s JJ’s base and average salary per season over five seasons. That $680,000 salary represents the lowest annual salary for an ACC head basketball coach.
$475k. That’s what Tech now pays their assistant coaches cumulatively per year, the same as clemson, and also right near the bottom of the ACC. Is that what we are aspiring to be in basketball? clemson? Granted, they have been to the NCAA Tournament four of the last five seasons, but hadn’t gone the previous 10 seasons (Tech has made the Big Dance just once in 16 seasons including this year, and just once in 13 seasons in a BCS conference). So maybe clemson is a step up.
$1 Million Dollars. Obviously not all of those 33,000 unused ACC tickets from this year that I detailed above are ‘tickets for sale’. Some are student tickets. So just for the heck of it, let’s call it 25,000 unsold tickets to account for those unused student tickets. At $35 per ticket, that’s $875,000 lost in potential ticket revenue. Add in lost concession sales from all fans and that’s another $165,000 lost (that’s based on $5 spent on concessions per fan, which is at the low end of the spectrum based on a study I read but probably realistic for ‘Blacksburg’). That adds up to an estimated $1.04 million in revenue lost during this ACC season in ticket and concession sales compared to if the games were sold out.
Now add in the fact Tech was drawing just 6,380 fans for their out of conference games, and that’s almost 28,000 more unused tickets. Let’s subtract 8,000 student tickets from that number (although the students were showing up early in the year) to give us 20,000 more unsold tickets. At $20 a pop on average for out of conference games, that’s another $400,000 in lost ticket revenue, plus let’s say another $100,000 in concessions, and that’s another $500k lost compared to if those games were sellouts. That puts us at more than $1.5 million in lost ticket and concession revenue this year from when we were selling out, and about $1 million less than just last year when VT sold 95% of their tickets.
Considering Tech has been turning a significant profit of almost $4 million as a basketball program and an athletic department, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to pay significantly more for your head coach and assistants, does it?
By comparison, Brad Stevens at butler makes $1.2 million. Shaka Smart, whom Tech interviewed, is making just under $1.3 million this season at vcu, or about double what JJ is (these are two coaches in mid-major conferences that are part of programs that I am quite sure do not have a $4 million profit per year). I’m not saying Shaka would have taken this job for $1.3 million (he was initially asking for probably close to double that), but Tech could have gotten an experienced winner like a Mark Gottfried off the scrap heap (he’s at nc state) or an up-and-comer with a proven track record. maryland is paying Mark Turgeon $1.9 million. Turgeon took wichita state to the Sweet 16 and then won 24+ games and make the Tourney in all four seasons at texas a&m (a school very similar to Tech). While that kind of money annually is probably too much for Tech given their much smaller arena (The Communist Center seats almost 18k), the mystique of the ACC and around $1.3 million would be a big draw to a coach in a lesser conference. A name coach would have sold some season tickets on their own by getting people excited about the program and out of anticipation of producing a winning team. While the results might be similar on the court for this season, at least you would have a better feeling that things would get turned around in the near future with better recruiting and because they have a track record of winning.
Instead, we are now wondering if we aren’t watching ricky stokes, Part 2. And if Tech has to fire JJ before the end of his contract, you are now talking about another buyout, which would probably be over $1 million given that Greenberg’s was $1.2 million and JJ currently has a five year contract. Again, you get what you pay for, and right now we are piling up losses and getting just 5,600 to 6,000 fans per game.
This isn’t just a Weaver thing in basketball either. My sources tell me Weaver offered Pep Hamilton about $200,000 less than he was offered to stay at stanford. Clearly that wasn’t going to lure him. Conversely, look at clemson, who hadn’t had a big win in football in 20 years until they went out and got Chad Morris as their Offensive Coordinator before the 2011-12 season and made him the highest paid assistant coach in college sports. Two years later they have an ACC title and won the Peach Bowl over lsu this past season. Tech, on the other hand, ends up hiring an OC and OL Coach and then prorates their salaries for the next few years based on their buyouts they are getting from their former employer, auburn.
This is the ACC, it isn’t the Atlantic-10, Tech’s conference when Weaver took over in 1997. Yet Weaver continues to go the nickel-and-dime route in terms of spending on coaches. And while football, at least for now, is still selling out, the basketball program is seeing dramatic drops in attendance. The result is diminishing revenue and a shrinking profit. I’ll say it one more time — you get what you pay for, and right now, Hokie fans are getting a raw deal and expressing their displeasure by no longer blindly supporting the program and going to games.
Maybe once these profits start to dry up someone will come to their senses and realize that to be competitive in this league and in the NCAA of today you have to spend. That gets you the best coaches who are ready to handle the rigors of the ACC, lure top talent to campus, and coach them up to be winners, instead of hiring an unproven commodity that is learning on the job and hoping they pan out. If JJ can’t turn it around and we have to go in a new direction in a few years, we need to get a proven guy. If Weaver keeps refusing to do this (and spend some serious $$$), then we need someone who will. And I think given our $4 million profit in basketball, we can afford to do it.
The formula is simple — the anticipation of winning sells season tickets, and then actual wins in season are what sells a place out, as miami is proving this year. We need someone that produces wins, and the people will follow. That can get us back to the days of a packed Cassell and the ensuing revenue.
Avg Att Per ACC Home Game
Note that in seasons where Tech played in the NIT, those home games did count and often were not close to sellouts, thus pulling down the overall averages. Also note that this season is the first with nine ACC home games.
2007 – @VT 84, uva 57 – The so called ‘Duffy-gate’ game – The 27-point victory was the largest VT win over uva since 92-59 win in 1962. Want to know how Tech beat the hoos by 27? Easy. This is from our source 6 years ago.. “Sources have confirmed that someone set off the Fire Alarm at the Conference Center and Inn last night at 3:30 AM. uva just happened to be staying there and had to exit the facility. Classic! The person ‘accidentally’ went out via an Emergency Exit.” Just to add onto this story, I know what happened. Some drunk people went out the wrong exit in the middle of the night. That set off the Inn’s alarm. That meant the uva players had to walk outside in freezing temperatures. They got heckled. The game was at noon the next morning. They lost by 27. Why haven’t we done this since then???!!!
1959 – Bob Ayersman scores 47 points vs richmond (3rd highest single game scoring total in VT history) in a 104-66 win for the Hokies.
25 Years Ago Today: 2/6/88 – Virginia Tech 141, southern miss 133 (2 OTs)
There have been some thrilling victories for the Hokies in the Cassell over the years, from the two wins over No. 1 and later No. 2 memphis state in the mid-80s, to the NIT Quarterfinal win over new mexico state in 1995, to the ACC wins over No. 1 unc in 2007 and No. 1 duke in 2011. But there has probably never been a more exciting game in the Cassell than the one that took place exactly 25 years ago today.
Here are some of the eye-popping numbers and records from what some consider the most exciting game ever played at Cassell Coliseum:
Bimbo scored 51 in the game
274 combined points – still the highest single game point total for VT (141) and an opponent (133)
Tied 110-110 at the end of regulation – still the most combined points scored in regulation at the Cassell (220)
Bimbo Coles – 51 points on 16/30 FGs, 1/2 threes, and 18/27 FTs (second highest single game total in VT history behind Allan Bristow’s 52 in 1973; still the most FTs attempted by a Hokie in a game)
Wally Lancaster added 39 points, including five three-pointers, for Tech. That’s 90 points combined from Coles and Lancaster.
southern miss had four different players score 20+ points, led by John White’s 41
Just three weeks earlier, southern miss had defeated VT 127-102 in Hattiesburg, meaning the teams combined for 503 points in their two games that season
Dr. Quinton Nottingham, who is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Business Information Technology within the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, played in that game for the Hokies and was nice enough to talk with us about the experience.
TechHoops: Unfortunately, YouTube didn’t exist back then so all we know of this game now is a box score. Tell me what the game was like against Metro Conference foe southern mississippi.
Dr. Nottingham: Interestingly, our style of play didn’t change the entire season. It just so happened that we played a team that liked to press, run and shoot the three just as we did… thus, resulting in a high-scoring game. From the tip to the end of the second overtime, we pressed and ran the floor — nonstop. We were down at the half but weren’t concerned because we knew that basketball was a game of runs and we would get one or two over the course of the second half (which we did). From our — the players’ — perspective, we knew/felt that it was a high-scoring game but we never thought it would be the highest scoring game in Cassell history.
TechHoops: The Hokies were down 62-48 at the half, what did you do to get back in the game?
Dr. Nottingham: We just continued to press and do what we did all season. The success of our press and our aggressive play had us thinking that we could beat anyone and that we could overcome any deficit.
TechHoops: How exhausted was everyone by the second overtime?
Dr. Nottingham: Fatigue was never an issue in that game. We practiced hard and played hard. When a team presses for 40 minutes night in and night out, fatigue is a nonissue.
TechHoops: You had nine points on 2/4 three-pointers that night. What is your favorite personal memory from that game?
Dr. Nottingham: Whenever I think of that game, the first memory is the beginning of the game. I was guarding Casey Fisher (who seemed to have unlimited range on his jumper) and Coach Allen told me to face guard him all night and force him to put the ball on the floor. On one possession, Casey got the ball about 27 feet from the basket and I was guarding him. I looked at him and said, “I’ll give you that,” and he drained it — right in front of our bench. Coach Allen said, “Q, you can’t give him that jumper.” I had the biggest smile on my face in that game and even at writing this. Southern Miss was a good team and they had a couple of NBA guys on that squad.
TechHoops: On paper it looks like arguably the most exciting game in Virginia Tech history — tied at 110 at the end of regulation and 274 combined points for the game in 50 minutes. Having now been a part of Virginia Tech basketball since the mid-1980s have you ever seen a better game?
Dr. Nottingham: It was a fun game to play and to be a part of. But there have been many exciting games in Cassell Coliseum since I enrolled in 1984. The game against No. 1 Memphis State in Cassell Coliseum was exciting — I don’t think anyone sat down during the entire course of the game. Even though we lost to UMass by 16 in 1996 (when they had Marcus Camby), the atmosphere in the Cassell was electric. I was doing radio at the time and it seemed that with media requests, it was standing room only in the building. Lastly, the New Mexico State game to get to MSG for the NIT Semifinals… the crowd was amazing and the game was exciting with numerous lead changes throughout.
TechHoops: Could that team play with the Hokie teams of today?
Dr. Nottingham: Really? I don’t really see anything special about the Hokie teams today to make me wonder if that’s even a legit question. I’ve had a few conversations with people regarding the 1995 NIT Championship team and if they were as good as we were — which I’m not convinced that they were. I’m convinced that our defensive pressure was as good as any team past and present.
A special thanks to Dr. Nottingham for sharing his memories of this game with us!
About Dr. Nottingham:
Dr. Quinton Nottingham is an Associate Professor in the Department of Business Information Technology within the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. He received the Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Statistics from Virginia Tech. While at Virginia Tech, Dr. Nottingham was also a member of the Virginia Tech basketball team (1986-1989). He also served as the color commentator for the Virginia Tech basketball radio broadcasts from 1993-1996. Dr. Nottingham has served on the board of various professional organizations such as the Vice President of Finance, Program Chair, and President for Southeast Decision Sciences Institute, a board member on the Virginia Tech Athletic Foundation (VTAF), University Club, and the Virginia Tech Monogram Club. He is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS), Southeast INFORMS, and the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI).
Bimbo Coles scores 42 points (still the 6th highest single game total in VT history)
The Hokies took down their Metro Conference rivals, the southern miss golden eagles, in a high scoring affair. Bimbo Coles dropped 42 on the eagles, but trust me when I say this encore performance pales in comparison to what he did to the eagles on February 6, 1988, almost exactly one year earlier… Check back on Wednesday for the details of that historic VT game.
A couple of memorable Hokie games took place on this date (and maybe a third if we can win in Chapel Hill today?).
2008 – @VT 72, uva 65 (OT): Exactly five years ago today the Hokies completed a season sweep of the hoos (both in overtime). Tech had to overcome a 12-point deficit in the final 9 minutes to force the extra frame. Five Hokies hit double-digits, including 10 by Lewis Witcher. In OT, the Hokies pulled away behind a 13-3 run (in case you didn’t know, the Hokies OWN overtime in ACC play). RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS
1983 – @wvu 90, VT 86 (3 OTs): The Hokies lost a heartbreaker in Morganhole in the co-longest game in Hokie hoops history (VT has played one other 3 overtime game). This was Dell Curry’s freshman year. Tech would lose another close one, 68-67, in the ‘Burg the next year but got revenge the following season with a 65-63 win at wvu.