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   Welcome to TSLMail #225 - Friday, May 5, 2006    
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Hartman's Tenure Full of Highs and Some Lows
by Chris Coleman,

Chuck Hartman will go down in history as one of Virginia Tech's greatest coaches in any sport. He has been head baseball coach since 1979 and has amassed a career record of 961-584-8 during his tenure in Blacksburg, with the remainder of the 2006 season still to come. He is the fourth all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I. Let's take a closer look at this the career of this Virginia Tech legend, including his greatest accomplishments and disappointments.

During his 28 seasons as Tech's head coach, Chuck Hartman's baseball teams have finished with a losing record just three times. Two of those have come in the past two seasons, Tech's first years in the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference. Of Hartman's 25 winning teams, only four failed to win 30 games during the season. 

While at Virginia Tech, Hartman won conference championships in the Metro, Atlantic 10 and Big East. His first championship came during the 1981 season, when the Hokies won the regular season Metro championship. Tech was also Metro tournament champs in 1994 and tied for the regular season championship in 1995. The 1994 season saw the Hokies reach the NCAA tournament for the first time under Hartman. It would be the first of four trips.

The move to the Atlantic 10 resulted in three more NCAA tournament appearances for the Hokies. Tech won the A-10 West Division in 1996, and won the A-10 tournament three of the next four years.

The Hokies played their first season in the Big East in 2001 and posted a 29-28-1 record. They followed that up with a 33-26 mark in 2002 and won a share of the Big East regular season championship. In four seasons in the Big East, the Hokies never had a losing record.

One of Hartman's crowning achievements as a coach came on April 27, 1992. The Hokies defeated Liberty 11-4 that day to give Hartman career win number 1,000. He became just the ninth coach in Division I baseball history to college 1,000 career wins. Before taking the job at Virginia Tech in 1979, Hartman won 483 games at High Point College from 1960-78.

However, there have also been disappointments in Hartman's long career. Despite having a very successful career, his Tech teams advanced to the NCAA tournament just four times, and it was not until 1994 that the Hokies reached the tournament. From 1979-93, VT never made it. But arguably, they should have had at least three appearances under Hartman before 1994.

In 1981, Virginia Tech finished 48-9, won the Metro regular season championship and finished the season ranked #20 in the nation. Yet they did not receive an at-large bid. How can this be? It's unclear why the Hokies didn't receive a bid that season, but things would get worse. In 1982, Tech went 50-9 and finished the season ranked #9 nationally. And again, they did not receive an at-large bid. How can a team ranked in the top 10 in the nation not make the tournament? It's almost criminal.

It happened to Hartman again in 1985. His Tech team went 50-16 and finished ranked #24 in the nation and, yet again, did not get an at-large bid. Among the 13 teams that did receive at-large bids was the University of Virginia, which went 37-14 that year. Your first thought might be that Virginia received the bid because they played in a tougher conference, but the Metro Conference was no slouch in baseball, with powers Florida State and South Carolina among the teams present in the league.

To recap, the Hokies went a combined 98-18 over a two year period in 1981 and 1982, and did not get a tournament invitation. The 1982 and 1985 teams set personal bests for Hartman with 50 wins in a season, but neither received a bid to the tournament. Wow.

Tech's introduction to ACC baseball has been very difficult. The Hokies have struggled through their two worst seasons in the Chuck Hartman era, and this year's team stands a chance of not winning 20 games, which would be a first in Hartman's career at Virginia Tech. The last time a Chuck Hartman coached team failed to win 20 games was in 1968, when High Point College finished 19-20.

However, it is likely that Tech will get to 20 wins this year. Tech's current record is 19-27, and they have home games against Campbell and Charlotte remaining, as well as a three-game home series against NC State. They end the season with a three-game road trip at UVA. The Hokies beat Campbell 5-2 and 16-6 in two games to start the season. They also fell to Charlotte 8-5.

Chuck Hartman's final home game at Virginia Tech will be held on Tuesday, May 16 at 7 pm at English Field. The Hokies will take on the Charlotte 49ers that night, and Hartman deserves to go out with a big win. So if you're in the area, come out and show your support for a Virginia Tech legend. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Recruiting Classes of the Past: 1986

May 4, 2006
Back in 1986, college programs were allowed to sign 30 players to letters of intent, and that is exactly what Virginia Tech did in February of that year. Bill Dooley hailed it as the best recruiting class he had signed since 1978, the year he arrived in Blacksburg. The class featured several highly touted players, and as usual, some no-names. But nevertheless, the Tech staff was high on the class of 1986.

Hartman to Retire at Season's End
May 3, 2006
Longtime Virginia Tech baseball coach Chuck Hartman has announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2006 season. The 1957 UNC graduate will step down as the winningest coach in Virginia Tech history. Tuesday's win over Virginia Commonwealth gave him an overall record of 959-585-8 at Virginia Tech, and 1,442-810-8 overall. Hartman has been a collegiate head coach for 47 seasons, 28 of which have come at Virginia Tech.
Also: Wynton Witherspoon to Transfer

Virginia Beach Combine News and Notes
May 3, 2006
It was a good turnout for yesterday's Virginia Beach combine at Ocean Lakes High School. Among those in attendance were Kellam TE/OT Greg Nosal (who has an offer from one of the two state 1A schools), Kempsville standouts Lester Bell and Trenton Hughes and one very large Salem product who could get some further looks in the coming weeks.

Draft Gives Tech Fans Something to Feel Good About
May 2, 2006
A realization dawned on me yesterday as I watched a surprisingly active message board spin page after page in our busiest day traffic-wise since February 2nd: Hokie fans have been waiting a long time for something to feel good about, and this weekend's draft results provided good news in spades. For the first time since the 2004 season, Hokie football players surprised Tech fans by "overachieving," this time in the NFL Draft.

Norfolk Combine News and Notes
May 2, 2006
Division 1A coaches from Louisville, North Carolina, Penn State, Virginia and Virginia Tech were on hand for yesterday's combine held at Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Virginia. Virginia Tech targets in attendance included Clover Hill OL Blake DeChristopher, Atlantic Shores QB/TE Rick Kresinske, Norview LB Tolbert Matthews and Kempsville WR Jay Smith, among others. VT 2006 signee Kam Chancellor was in attendance as well.

Nice Draft for the Hokies ... But Can They Make the Team?
May 1, 2006
Virginia Tech had a total of nine players selected in the 2006 NFL Draft, which is a new school record. The Hokies are sending players from a lot of different positions, including linebacker, offensive line, defensive line and tailback, into NFL camps. Each player is stepping into unique situations with the team they are signing with, and sometimes factors other than talent will determine whether or not they make the team. With that in mind, let's take a look at each Tech player, in the order they were drafted, and see what they have to face in terms of competition, and assess their chances for playing time or making the team in their rookie season.

Murphy, Sandidge Sign Free Agent Contracts
May 1, 2006
Two Virginia Tech players have signed free agent contracts with NFL teams, and a few others may do the same in the coming days. If everything goes as expected, that would put 14 Virginia Tech players into the NFL as rookies in 2006.

ACC Dominates 2006 NFL Draft
May 1, 2006
The 2006 NFL Draft had numerous subplots where the individual players were concerned, but when it came to conferences, there was only one story this past weekend: the ACC. The Atlantic Coast Conference set a record with 12 first-round selections and never let up, eventually finishing first by a wide margin among all conferences with 51 picks overall. No other conference even came close. We crunched the numbers for you and have the lowdown on the conference draft race.

ACC, SEC Schools Interested in Sumter OL
May 1, 2006
Sumter (S.C.) star offensive line prospect Kyle Nunn has received an official offer from N.C. State and is drawing very serious interest from a number of programs in the ACC and SEC, respectively. “Kyle has received one offer and that’s from North Carolina State, but the boy gets about 10 pieces of mail a day and that’s just here,” Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells said. “It seems like everybody has contacted him."

Record Nine Hokies Drafted
April 30, 2006
Virginia Tech had six more players drafted Sunday in the 2006 NFL Draft, giving the Hokies a team-record nine draftees in all. Furthermore, the Hokies accomplished that feat without one of their most talked about draft-eligible players being selected. When the dust had settled, Marcus Vick was not selected, but on day two of the draft, calls went out to Jeff King, Jonathan Lewis, Justin Hamilton, Jimmy Martin, Will Montgomery, and Cedric Humes.

Three Hokies Drafted on Day One
April 29, 2006
Three Virginia Tech football players were selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Jimmy Williams, Darryl Tapp and James Anderson were among the first 88 players selected, and were part of a large number of ACC players taken on the first day. More Tech players are expected to be taken in the final four rounds of the draft on Sunday.

2006 Spring Game Photo Gallery
April 28, 2006
Virginia Tech held its annual Maroon-White game back on April 15, and was there to capture all the action! We've picked out 88 of the best pictures from the game, as well as the TSL Tailgate. If you couldn't make it to the game, take a look inside to see what you missed!

Burd Lands First Official Offer
April 28, 2006
Matoaca (Chesterfield, VA) wide receiver/safety Kris Burd has boasted three verbal offers – from Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech, respectively - for quite some time. Last week, he finally landed his first official offer when the official letter from the University of Virginia arrived in the mail. What was his reaction to his first official offer?
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