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   Welcome to TSLMail #159 - Friday, January 21, 2005    
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   Tech Sports News

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Coaching Turnover in ACC Football
by Chris James,

This off season has seen some changes among some of the football coaching staffs in the ACC. A total of 10 coaches have departed the programs that they served during the 2004 season, including 3 at both NC State and Clemson. Some are leaving for better positions elsewhere, while others have been forced out.

On December 6, Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden announced the firing of offensive coordinator Mike O’Cain, defensive coordinator John Lovett and rover/whips coach Thielen Smith. After another average season, Bowden is attempting to save his job, and bringing new blood and new philosophies into the program was the direction that he chose to go.

Bowden hired Rob Spence as their new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Spence had previously spent 4 years as Toledo’s offensive coordinator, coaching his offense to some very impressive offensive numbers. He also spent time as the quarterbacks coach at Maryland from 1994-96.

At defensive coordinator, Bowden hired former Wyoming head coach Vic Koenning. Koenning served as the Cowboy head coach from 2000-02 and has been defensive coordinator at Troy ever since. This past season Troy had one of the top defenses in the nation. Bowden also hired Mississippi defensive ends coach Marion Hobby to replace Smith.

At NC State, Head Coach Chuck Amato lost three of his top assistants by their own choosing. Doc Holliday, who served as Associate Head coach and wide receivers coach in Raleigh, decided to join Urban Meyer’s staff at Florida. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone departed NC State for the offensive coordinator position at Mississippi.

However, the biggest loss for NC State will be replacing defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, who left Raleigh to take over the defensive coordinator position at the University of Arkansas. Herring’s defense was the #1 total defense in the nation in 2004. He is the former linebackers coach for the Houston Texans, and has coached under former Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson. While he only stayed at NC State for one season, he will be greatly missed.

John Bunting and the North Carolina Tar Heels did not escape the off-season unscathed. Assistant Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator James Webster decided to leave Chapel Hill for the position of Head Coach at Tennessee State. He had coached at UNC for 4 years.

At Duke, Ted Roof decided to release offensive coordinator Marty Galbraith after only one season as offensive coordinator. For a replacement, Roof raided the staff of the University of Maryland to get Terps’ running backs coach Bill O’Brien. O’Brien has been an offensive coordinator in the past at Georgia Tech for two seasons, 2001 and 2002. He coached with Roof at Georgia Tech, so there is some familiarity.

Finally, Florida State lost long time assistant coach Jimmy Heggins. Heggins served at Florida State for 19 years and has been the offensive line coach since 1994. He played at Florida State during the mid-70s. Heggins resigned his position, but the ACC Area Sports Journal reported that he was forced out in their latest edition. Florida State was plagued by offensive line problems for parts of the last few seasons.

ACC Men's RPI Ratings

RPI rankings have always been a source of controversy, however it has been a long time since the Hokies have had to worry about such things. That doesn’t look like it's going to change this year either, as the Hokies are battling a talent and youth problem in the most talented conference in the nation. ACC teams are among the best in the nation in the RPI, as seen in the table below. Note that these RPI rankings were compiled through games of Sunday, Jan. 16 and are from

ACC RPI Rankings
(through games of 1/16/05





Wake Forest




Georgia Tech










NC State


Florida State


Virginia Tech


Throw in Boston College, who is currently undefeated and 5th in the RPI, and this league is looking very strong for the future. It's just something the Hokies are going to have to deal with…and recruit against.

Tech’s out of conference schedule has contained some good teams as well, at least according to the RPI. Mississippi State is ranked 25, Western Michigan comes in at 30 with UT-Chattanooga ranked 89. Of course, there is also VMI, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Loyola-Maryland, who come in ranked 328, 329 and 322 respectively. That means Virginia Tech has played 3 of the 9 lowest-ranked teams in the RPI, and even managed to lose to one of them (VMI). The Hokies’ strength of schedule currently ranks at 232 nationally, but that will improve as Tech plays more ACC teams.

Currently Tech’s highest RPI victory is against Clemson, who is ranked 39. The Hokies’ second best victory came against #89 Chattanooga. As a conference, the ACC is ranked 1st nationally in the RPI with the PAC-10 coming in 2nd.

NOVA Hokie Chili Fest

The Northern Virginia Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association is gearing up for its annual Chilifest. This event is open to the public. We invite Hokies, friends and anyone looking for a great time to enjoy a night filled with chili, beer and music! Partial proceeds will benefit Chapter Scholarship Funds.

We invite you to experience the largest gathering of Hokie Alumni outside of Blacksburg. Join fellow Hokies and friends for great food, beverages, raffle prizes, and fun. This event helps support our scholarship fund that has provided more than $60,000 to local high school students in the last six years and enabled the chapter to endow a $25,000 scholarship fund in Blacksburg. Only 675 tickets will be sold. Don’t risk missing the premier Hokie social event of the winter season – get your tickets now! Tickets may be sold at the door if available. A collection of prizes, including Virginia Tech memorabilia, will be awarded to the winners of our annual Chilifest raffle.

Tickets can be purchased online through Wednesday, January 26th. For more information on how to order, plus info on chili, raffle items, music, and beer for the Chilifest, click below.

VTAA Northern Virginia Chapter Chilifiest Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

TechSideline Pass - Only $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year!

  • Feature Articles
  • Interviews with recruits
  • Editorials
  • Flash recruiting updates from Chris Horne, our in-house specialist
  • Recruiting prospect and class evaluations
  • A subscribers-only Recruiting message board (only accessible to subscribers)
  • A subscribers-only message board for general discussion

As an additional bonus, all subscribers will receive a 10% discount on all purchases made at, our online store providing Hokie-related apparel and gift items. If that's not enough, you should know that your subscription will help support your favorite website,

For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here.

-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week Recruiting Report Archive, 1/20/05 (MP3 Audio)
by, 1/21/05, 11:20 am
Mike Harris and TSL recruiting analyst Chris Horne talk about Virginia versus Virginia Tech recruiting, discuss decommitments -- will the Hokies have any? -- and talk about some of the official visitors coming up this weekend. (Time: 20:40 minutes, Size: 4.9 MB)
* Also available in Zip format *
in TSL Pass

Game Preview: VT at #12 Georgia Tech
by Stefan Adams,, 1/21/05, 10:00 am
* Includes roster card in PDF format *
After a three game home stand, the Hokies hit the road and travel south to Atlanta to take on the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. The meeting will be the sixth time the two schools have met, with the Hokies holding a 4-1 record. The series dates back to 1921, but the two teams have not played against each other since 1984 when the Hokies won 77-74 in Cassell Coliseum in the opening round of the NIT.
in Men's Basketball

TSL Audio: SportsRadio910 Interview With Will Stewart, 1/20/05 (MP3 Audio)
by, 1/20/05, 4:10 pm
Will Stewart appears with Gary Hess, filling in for Mike Maniscalco on SportsRadio910's "Mike Maniscalco Show," to talk about the Hokie basketball team and the return of Marcus Vick to the Hokie football team. (Time: 8:06, Size: 1.9 MB)
* Also available in Zip format *
in TSL Audio

VT Wrestling: Kill Bill (Brill), Volume 2
by Bill Glose, 1/20/05, 11:30 am
By now, the words of former Roanoke Times Sports Editor Bill Brill, are infamous: “Tech will not win an ACC championship in my lifetime.” As the Tech football team rallied to win an ACC championship in their first year, Hokies around the commonwealth expressed heartfelt sympathy for Mr. Brill, who certainly must have just passed away.
in TSL Columnists

The Promise of ACC Hoops
by Will Stewart,, 1/20/05, 2:00 am
This is the promise of ACC basketball, the thrill-a-minute ride Hokie fans were craving when the league took a vote in the summer of 2003, and Virginia Tech could finally paint the ACC logo on their basketball floor. Visions of a packed, loud, frenetic arena; players scratching and clawing and competing for 40 minutes; coaches tinkering with lineups and strategies; games coming down to the wire. This was the promise, and on Wednesday night, Virginia Tech and NC State -- and Coleman Collins and Jamon Gordon -- delivered.
in TSL Pass

Hokies Come Back, Shock Wolfpack 72-71
by Chris James,, 1/20/05, 12:15 am
Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech used a furious 16-4 rally in the last seven minutes to win their second consecutive ACC basketball game, beating NC State 72-71 in dramatic fashion in Blacksburg on Wednesday night. Down 71-70 with 13 seconds remaining in the game, sophomore center Coleman Collins hit a jump shot to put the Hokies up 72-71. NC State All-American and reigning ACC Player of the Year Julius Hodge then had his game-winning shot attempt blocked by Jamon Gordon (right) with 1.6 seconds left, and Tech freshman forward Deron Washington rebounded the ball and was fouled. Washington missed both free throw attempts, the second one intentionally, but NC State was unable to get off a final shot, and the Hokies held on for the win.
in Men's Basketball

Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. NC State
by Chris James,, 1/19/05, 1:10 pm
* Includes roster card in PDF format *
The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team looks to win their 2nd consecutive ACC game and 3rd consecutive contest overall when they play host to the NC State Wolfpack on Wednesday night. The Hokies have been playing much better the last four games, leading more than a few VT fans to wonder how this team lost to the likes of VMI. Tech dropped a close contest to defending SEC Champion Mississippi State in New Orleans and led Florida State late in the game in Tallahassee before falling. Since then the Hokies have beaten Bethune Cookman and earned their first ever ACC victory over the Clemson Tigers.
in Men's Basketball

TSL Audio: Interview With Steve Phillips, High Point (NC) Enterprise, 1/18/05 (MP3 Audio)
by, 1/18/05, 3:25 pm
Steve Phillips of the High Point (NC) Enterprise newspaper joins TSL Audio to preview this Wednesday's VT/NC State basketball game. Steve tells us about NC State's somewhat disappointing season so far, gives us an update on the health of Tony Bethel and Ilian Evitmov, and tells us what type of player Julius Hodge is and what to expect from the Wolfpack. (Time: 18:26, Size: 4.3 MB).
* Also available in Zip format *
in TSL Audio

And We Have Basketball
by Jim Alderson, 1/18/05, 11:45 am
With the ACC having put the wraps on a football season that saw newcomers Tech and Miami waltz in and snatch two of the league’s top three bowl bids, attention turned to the conference’s signature sport, at least for a while longer, basketball. And what a week it was. The highlight, at least from this Tech fan’s perspective, was the Hokies picking up their first ACC basketball win, knocking off Clemson. So much for all of that 0-17 chatter.
in TSL Pass

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 1/17/05
by Phil Noftsinger, 1/18/05, 12:30 am
Roth congratulated Coach Greenberg on bringing Tech its first ever ACC basketball victory. Coach said that the real trivia question is what player has the first ACC basketball and ACC football victories at Tech; the answer is obviously Jeff King. Roth mentioned that the game wasn’t particularly pretty, but the expectation was that there would be a lot of steals and sloppy passing. Greenberg said that Clemson plays a very aggressive style of defense, up the line, denying basketballs, in passing lanes, and trying to take you out of your offense.
in Hotline Notes

Recruiting Mini-War Room
by Will Stewart,, 1/17/05, 4:30 pm
The Army All-Star Game weekend came and went, and not surprisingly, the Hokies whiffed on landing commitments from superstar DE Melvin Alaeze and RB Toney Baker. In unexpected developments, RB James Davis committed to Clemson (or maybe it was to be expected, given Davis' flightiness) and DT Luqman Abdallah committed to Miami. As signing day approaches, the Hokies' recruiting board is shrinking. Here's a mini-war room update to bring you up to speed on who's left and what might happen.
in TSL Pass Recruiting Report Archive, 1/13/05 (MP3 Audio)
by, 1/17/05, 2:20 pm
From last Thursday night: As VT recruiting enters the home stretch, Mike Harris and Will Stewart take a look back at one of the most interesting and successful recruiting classes in Hokie history: the 1997 recruiting class. Of the 25 players signed for that class, nearly half of them at least got a sniff from the NFL, and many of them are still on NFL rosters, like Ben Taylor, Andre Davis, Dave Kadela, and Matt Lehr. (Time: 30:09 minutes, Size: 7.2 MB)
* Also available in Zip format *
in TSL Pass

Dixon Steals First-Ever ACC Win for the Hokies, 59-57
by Chris James,, 1/15/05, 4:00 pm
Blacksburg, VA - Carlos Dixon stole a pass and scored on a breakaway dunk with 6.9 seconds remaining, and Virginia Tech held on to earn their first ever ACC basketball win, beating Clemson 59-57 in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The win was Tech's second in a row and got them out of the ACC cellar early in their inaugural ACC season.
in Men's Basketball

Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson
by Will Stewart,, 1/14/05, 2:25 pm
* Includes roster card in PDF format *
The Clemson Tigers visit VT for the first time since the first round of the 1995 NIT, when the Hokies beat the Tigers 62-54 on Tech's way to the NIT championship. Clemson won 56-54 at Florida State Wednesday night, breaking a 12-game road ACC losing streak for the Tigers and giving them their first win in conference play this season. For the Hokies, a home date with Clemson represents one of Tech's best chances to win an ACC game in VT's inaugural ACC season.
in Men's Basketball

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