The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Tech Sports Tonight (football season only)
(previously Tech Talk Tuesday)
When: every Tuesday from 7:00-9:00
Station:  WXGI AM 950 in Richmond
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Local call-in number: 345-0950
Toll free call-in number: 877-994-4950

Monday, January 27, 2003
by Will Stewart,

Monday night's Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline show originated from Beamer's restaurant in Christiansburg (site of the old Gobblertown Tavern). The show featured Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver and Hokie men's basketball coach Ricky Stokes.

Jim Weaver's Segment

There is no new news to report on the possible Atlanta Falcons preseason game in Blacksburg. Weaver said the last conversation he had with the promotional group was pre-Christmas, and there have been no communications since then. Weaver said that VT will continue to work hard towards making it happen, but he wouldn't even say that he was "cautiously optimistic." He also doesn't have any idea when they'll know for sure, and he said that discussions have been on hold during the playoffs and Super Bowl.

VT hopes to know by the end of the week what next season's football schedule will be. Weaver said the Big East is working very hard on it, but things are complicated by the fact that two teams -- Temple and Pittsburgh -- play in stadiums that are shared with professional teams.

Weaver and Roth touched on how exciting the men's basketball game against Virginia was, and how they didn't understand why the VT/UVa games were played at neutral sites for so long. Weaver said that he spoke with ESPN analyst Len Elmore after the game, and Elmore said that ESPN "needed to come back here" more often, because Cassell has such a good atmosphere.

Roth complimented the VT athletic department for taking out a full-page ad in the back of the Collegiate Times, after the UVa game, urging the students to go to the St. John's game. The ad was a full-page picture of the students rushing the court after the Virginia game, with the words, "You Came, You Saw, You Won" (or something like that). Weaver talked about how much the students add to the game experience, and he complimented them for celebrating after the Virginia game in an orderly, non-destructive fashion. He also said that VT's aim during that celebration was not to try to stop the students from rushing the court, but to protect the media and the basketball goals.

Jeff in Knoxville called in, as usual. He asked if baseball games were free. Weaver said he didn't think VT charged for baseball games, but he went on to say that VT was in the process of putting a fence in around the baseball compound that would facilitate charging admission, should VT choose to start charging.

There was then an interesting discussion about selling football lockers. Jeff noted that Georgia is redoing their locker room and sold the old lockers and raised about $300,000 doing so (he said). Weaver said VT is not in a position to be redoing the locker rooms any time soon, but that he had heard of athletic departments contacting former athletes, and in exchange for a donation, putting their nameplate on the locker that bears their number (so, every player who wore #25 in Penn State history, for example, could get his nameplate put on locker #25, for a donation to the athletic program). Weaver thinks that Penn State is doing it, and that they charge $25,000 per name plate (he wasn't sure, but that was the number he thought he had heard).

Demetrius in Kilmarnick, Virginia called in and asked about the status of men's basketball coach Ricky Stokes, who is in the fourth year of a five-year contract. Weaver responded, "I've already said publicly that we're going to honor our contract with Ricky."  (It was no doubt an interesting moment there in Beamer's restaurant, with Stokes probably standing by within earshot, waiting to go on the air.)

Roth asked Weaver for his "State of the Athletic Department" address. Weaver said:

  • He is very happy with the increasing graduation rates in Virginia Tech athletics, and he complimented Chris Helms, Director of Academic Support Services.
  • He is very excited about the "composite group of people" working in the athletic department. VT is in a people business first, and an athletics business second.
  • VT athletics is financially healthy, but he is concerned about a downturn somewhere along the way. He wants to get consistency and increased attendance to the men's basketball program, and to improve that as a revenue-generator.

Lynn in Blacksburg called in, and she wanted to know how the bitter cold has affected the grass in Lane Stadium. Weaver said he couldn’t really answer the question, but he did say that the heating system has not been hooked up but is being worked on "as we speak."

Weaver said that the Rayna DuBose story that ran on HBO's "Inside Sports" recently has drawn a lot of support from people who otherwise have nothing to do with the Virginia Tech athletic programs.

Scott in the audience asked if there was an effort being made to bring Big East championships to Blacksburg or the Roanoke Valley. The softball championships were held in Salem this past season (and I think will be held there a couple more years), and the golf national championships will be held at the Homestead golf course in 2004. Weaver said that every time a bidding process opened up, that VT would take a look and try to put in a competitive bid.

Ricky Stokes' Segment

Roth asked Stokes what the one thing is that he'll remember about the win over Virginia. He said it was the atmosphere, and the fact that VT finished strong. The game was even with seven minutes to go, and VT ran away with it.

By contrast, the Hokies had some things go against them in a 62-59 loss to St. John's and didn't make the plays necessary to win.

Barek in Blacksburg called in, as usual, and his question this week was what areas the coaching staff was concentrating on in recruiting. VT has signed Jamon Gordon, a 6-3 point guard out of Florida, and 6-9 post player Coleman Collins out of Georgia. Stokes said that VT has one scholarship left and is targeting a post player, probably an "older guy," like a JUCO transfer.

Roth asked if Deonte Smith will replace Terry Taylor next year and play alongside Dimari Thompkins, or if the JUCO will. Stokes was noncommittal, saying, "Let the best man win."

A caller asked about free throw shooting and how it can be improved. Stokes said VT works on it daily, before, during, and after practice. The night before a game, especially on the road, they'll spend 30-40 minutes on it. Stokes said it comes down to concentration, confidence, and doing the same thing every time.

The caller also asked about Dimari Thompkins taking shots out of his range. Stokes said that Dimari has a good shooting touch, and probably gets a little excited and takes some shots out of the flow of the offense. Roth noted that it's not so much the outside shots Dimari takes that hurt, but when he doesn't go up strong and finish shots in close (he was 1-for-8 against St. John's, for example).

Roth and Stokes spent some time talking about the improved play of Bryant Matthews (76 points in the last three games). Stokes said that "Opie" was thrown into the fire early as a freshman, and although it seems like he's suddenly playing better overnight, it's not overnight -- it has been a long process (ditto on Carlos Dixon's improved defense).

VT's non-conference opponents for next year are set, but Tech is looking for one more "big game" in basketball and is talking to major teams about setting up a game. Stokes specifically said that VT is looking for a game against an SEC or ACC team. Roth noted that VT is playing a lot of "drivable" out of conference games. Marshall was mentioned.

(During the scheduling discussion, Roth said that when Jim Weaver calls up other teams to suggest scheduling a football game, he almost always gets a "very cold" reception. Roth speculated that might be for a lot of reasons, noting, "They don't wanna get beat.")

Tech Notes

  • VT no longer hosts the ACC indoor track championships, as they did for five years. The event was hosted in Chapel Hill last year, as UNC has a new indoor track facility. Syracuse hosts the Big East indoor track championships, because of the seating capabilities in the Carrier Dome.
  • Weaver said the date of the Spring Football game is April 19th (2:00 pm is the usual time).
  • The Hokie men's basketball team has a big game Wednesday night against Boston College at 7 o'clock in Cassell Coliseum. Wednesday's game and Saturday's game at Providence will go a long way towards determining whether or not the Hokies will go to New York for the Big East tournament.
  • The Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline will do two football recruiting shows this year. Recruiting shows will be on February 10th and 17th. The show on the 10th will originate from Miami (phone calls only), and February 17th will be the big show, including film of the recruits, and Coach Beamer, Coach Cavanaugh, and other VT coaches, originating from Beamer's restaurant.
  • Todd Washington, a backup OL for Tampa Bay, now has a Super Bowl ring, thanks to the Buccaneers' victory.
  • The Commonwealth Cup: Monday was Day 1,204 of Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup. To celebrate this long string, grab your Commonwealth Cup T-shirt (shown at right -- click the picture to order yours for $16.95).

- Will


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