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Give Me a Call, or Else
by Jim Alderson, 9/14/00

One of the things that really irks me as an alumnus of Virginia Tech and an avid follower of its athletic teams is that never once have any of the people who have run the Athletic Department asked me my opinion on anything. I have volunteered my thoughts on numerous occasions, mind you, the most public a couple of decades ago when Bill Dooley once spoke in Danville, and after regaling us with his scheduling philosophy, which at the time revolved around ridding the Tech football schedule of teams like Penn State, Pittsburgh, our Metro Conference rival Florida State and most anybody else that he thought would be difficult to defeat on a regular basis, and replacing them with national powers Appalachian State, James Madison, Richmond and William and Mary. I offered a dissenting view in a loud, bourbon-enriched voice. I am saddened to report that Dooley utterly ignored my unsolicited advice.

This dismaying development has continued through the next three athletic administrations. I assume that the only reason Dutch Baughman did not seek me out and request my countenance was that he wasnít here long enough to do so; in any event, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Much more troubling was that in all of his years here Dave Braine also never once picked up the phone and gave me a call to determine my feelings about joining the Big East Football Conference or his decision to institute an athletic priority to football. That my feelings on both subjects were exactly the same as his were irrelevant; he didnít ask. Likewise, Jim Weaver has gone about Jamerson doing his job without the benefit of my input. He has not actively sought out my opinion on anything, from full membership in the BE to the construction of new athletic facilities to anything else. It just burns me up. And heís not the only one.

Frank Beamer stubbornly continues to coach his football team without checking with me as to program management. This is the continuation of the disturbing practice established by Jerry Claiborne and continued through Charley Coffey, Jimmy Sharpe (Sharpe especially frosts me. I had definite ideas about that wishbone which I never failed to loudly express in the stadium every home Saturday) and Dooley. I attend all home games and several away ones. I am there, and am constantly offering my opinions. That they are drowned out by the other 50k+ simultaneously offering their own doesnít matter, because mine count the most, at least to me. If Frank is having difficulty distinguishing mine from the others, he should have an assistant coach drop by my seats several times each Saturday to get my thoughts on play selection. I am also available during the week for consultation on game plans, offensive and defensive formations, recruiting and most anything else of which he would care to inquire. He continues to not seek my advice at his own peril. As mentioned, Claiborne, Coffey, Sharpe and Dooley did not, and look what happened to them. Now, back to Jim Weaver.

It is high time he begins checking with me before making any decision. My background in homebuilding and real estate makes me perfectly qualified to offer expert opinion in all matters pertaining to college athletics. Once one has been involved in the planning, design, construction and marketing of new homes, running an athletic department is second nature. I would also add that listening to tenants explain that their coked-up former boyfriends chose at three in the morning to defy that court order and gain entrance to the dwelling by kicking in the front door gives me a unique perspective in the Monroe situation. I know what Iím talking about and he had better start listening.

Recently, Dr. Torgersen offered an excellent disagreement to Willís excellent disagreement of some recent decisions made by Jim Weaver, decisions, I might add, that were not first run by me. I would just like to sayÖ hey, wait a minute. Dr. Torgersen didnít check with me before he wrote that VoF piece. Come to think of it, he did not ask me my opinion before hiring Jim Weaver, either. Now that I reflect a little more, Dr. Torgersen never once beseeched me on any decision he ever made during his entire tenure as President of Virginia Tech. Not the first darn one.

Now Iím really mad. There appears to be a vast conspiracy among all Virginia Tech officials to not first hear my thoughts on any subject before making any decision. This is total BS and Iím not going to stand for it anymore. I demand input. What do I care about the chain of command and delegation and all of that crap? So what if so and so thinks so and so is the right person for the job? That cannot possibly be the case until it has been run by me. I know whatís best for Virginia Tech and it is high time every last person in the University community recognized that and began coming to me before doing anything. This is their last warning. Listen to me or else. For the sake of everybody involved they had better start seeking out and then heeding my advice, or IíllÖ IíllÖ well, Iíll do something. I know, take it to the HCMB and take advantage of Willís forum and complain. That will teach them. BTW, whom are we playing Saturday?

Jim Alderson, best known for his biting political commentary on the A-Line email newsletter, also brings a unique, sarcastic, and well-informed perspective on college sports, particularly (1) Virginia Tech sports and (2) ACC sports.  While Hokie fans currently have very little use for subject number 2, Alderson is an entertaining and informative columnist on subject number 1.  For even more fun, visit Jim's A-Line home page.


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