The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday
, March 8, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

The Hokie Hotline was broadcast live from Beamerís Restaurant in Christiansburg, VA. Guests included Athletic Director Jim Weaver with some very important news about re-seating and contribution deadlines. Also, basketball coach Seth Greenberg called in from the Queensboro Bridge as the Hokies crossed into New York City on their way to the Big East Tournament.

Bill Roth opened the show by reviewing the recent Hokie news:

  • Bryant Matthews was named 1st Team All-Big East, along with six other players in the conference. There were two ties in the coaches voting, and therefore rather than make the coaches choose between two players, they went with a list of 7.
  • Pittsburgh, who was the conference champion, did not have a single player named 1st Team All-Big East
  • Hokies baseball player Chris Stanton named Big East Player of the Week. The Hokies swept the series from Moorhead State over the weekend.
  • Liberty University is the first team from the state of Virginia to have made the NCAA Tournament (and later that night, VCU became the second with a win over George Mason).
  • Virginia Tech has qualified for the first time ever to play in the Big East Championship and is seeded 8th. The Hokies will face #9 Rutgers on Wednesday at noon, on ESPN
  • The Tech womenís team will be playing next week at home in the NCAA womenís tournament.

Jim Weaver

Roth began the interview portion of the show with Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver. The discussion began by Roth asking Weaver to give his thoughts on the performance of the basketball team this year. Weaver, who was extremely pleased with the teamís performance, admitted that after Carlos Dixon went down, that he didnít think it was probable that this team would have a winning season. He was particularly impressed with the effort that they put forth, cutting down on turnovers, and team play. Roth noted that this was a real team effort, pointing out how many game winning plays were made by bench or walk-on players. Weaver also mentioned that heís impressed with Bryant Matthews, not because he has garnered multiple awards in the Big East, but while doing that, heís managed to stay on-track to graduate in four years.

Roth pointed out that the Hokies are 14-13 and NIT eligible. Even if the Hokies were to lose on Wednesday, they would still be eligible for the NIT, and Roth wanted to know Weaverís opinion on the Hokies opportunities to receive a bid from the NIT. Weaver mentioned that he had talked with Jack Powers who heads up the NIT, and left a voicemail for Walt Hameline, who is one of the Tournament directors and the football coach and athletic director at Wagner College. He also mentioned that he will see Mike Tranghese tomorrow night in New York, and that VT has talked to Fred Barakat in the Atlantic Coast Conference. So VT is not leaving any stone unturned, and the Tech fans will help sell tickets, and thatís what the NIT is looking for.

Roth asked Weaver about the chances the Hokies could submit a bid to get a home game for the NIT and host two different tournaments the same week at Cassell. Weaver said that he didnít know the answer to that, but that he suspects we could. He wasnít sure if they would be so inclined to give us a home game. He felt that it is more important to get a chance to play in the tournament, and our fans will travel to the games just as the 4,000 did to the MCI center (or Cassell North as Seth Greenberg referred to it) for the Georgetown win. If the Hokies do make the NIT, Tech might be playing a road game in state, and our fans support would help at the turnstile.

After the break, Roth asked Weaver to comment on the Hokie womenís basketball team. Weaver said that obviously we are very proud of our womenís team at the completion of their seventh straight 20 win season, and they ended up 22-7 after the Big East Tournament. Roth mentioned that itís interesting how the womenís teams have the opportunity to play home games during the NCAA Tournament. Weaver said that is why Tech bids on the tournament, we win two games and were going to the Sweet 16, so itís a huge advantage to help get through those first two rounds. The people in the ACC are excited about the Tech womenís team and the following that they have.

Roth asked the biggest difference that Weaver has seen in dealing with the ACC versus the Big East. Weaver said that the ACC has more staff at the home base, and because of more help, they can do more things. The resources allow them to do a little more, service wise, to help their constituents. Roth mentioned that the initial reason that the ACC was going to expand was for the increased television revenues generated by a new TV contract, and despite people who believed it wouldnít happen, they were able to close the deal on a tremendous television deal. Weaver indicated that he was not at liberty to discuss that, but that he has been kept up to date as the status of the deal. He did compliment the ACC on the approach and process used in negotiating the TV contract, and their use of an outstanding representative to negotiate for them. It has the opportunity to be a major deal in the future as well.

Charles in Roanoke called in and wanted to know if the pending ACC affiliation would help get our basketball team into the NIT this year, and he also wanted Weaver to elaborate on the re-seating of Cassell Coliseum.

Weaver said that VT has talked with Fred Barakat who is the associate commissioner of the ACC in charge of menís basketball, and has have been in touch with Fred today, as well as the two primary people who run the NIT, and we will see those people in the next two days to continue those discussions. In terms of re-seating, the final decision for the basketball process has not been made.

A letter was sent out last week, which deals with a new calendar regarding the point priority system, which will enable people in the Hokie Club and the ticket office to seat people relative to their current status. Weaver will meet with the Hokie Club committees which deal with this issue at the April meeting and hope to be at a decision point, with regard to basketball at that point. We still have some work to go on football. Weaver mentioned that this has been the most difficult process that he has ever encountered. He did mention that they are trying to do this with as much caring and concern as possible.

Roth asked how Weaver plans to correct the problem seen last week, where a game (WVU) is sold out, yet there are thousands of empty seats. Weaver said he can partially answer that, when you have reserve seats that are sold to the donor base, and the people donít live in the local area, you have a situation where you have some empty seats right behind the scorersí table. Itís not something we like, but those people have supported this University for a number of years, and they are entitled to purchase those seats based upon the point priority system.

Weaver added that the second problem last week was that a lot of the students were no-shows after they had claimed tickets. He didnít actually know the numbers on that, but it was discouraging. Roth wondered what other teams do to solve this problem, because it doesnít help anyone to have fans who want to see the game on the outside of the stadium, while on the inside you have empty seats and a team that wants and needs fan support.

After the break, Seth Greenberg called in on his cellular phone from New York, preparing for the Big East Tournament. Coach called in just as the team was crossing the Queensboro Bridge, and he commented on Jamon Gordon as he got his first look at New York City.

Roth asked the attitude of the team. Greenberg said that the practice today had good effort, good focus, and the team was confident. Roth asked Coach about facing Rutgers again so soon after their win a week ago. Greenberg said that itís helpful in that the preparation is recent, but that Rutgers has made a couple of changes since the game. Their last game they started Herve Lamizana at the small forward position and Adrian Hill and Sean Axani, to produce a bigger lineup. In the second half of their last game they started Quincy Douby and Ricky Sheilds at the wing, which creates a little bit of a match up problem. This will effect how the Hokies double-team the post, when you play with the small forward as opposed to Lamizana as a four man.

Coach said that a lot of people have wondered whereís the psychological advantage, after they blew VT out and then the Hokies came back to win the second meeting. Coach said that the better advantage is game time, as VT has played our last few games at noon, are practicing at noon, and the game time is noon. Our players are very focused on what we have to do, and we are ready to play.

Roth asked Greenberg to comment on Bryant Matthews being named 1st Team All-Big East. Greenberg said that Matthews is having a magnificent year, heís just a consistent player in a tough situation. Heís one of the few players that could take this young basketball team and help put it all together. He does more for Tech's basketball team than anyone else on that 1st Team does for their teams.

Weaver jumped in and asked Seth if this was one of his most rewarding years in college coaching. Greenberg said itís been rewarding for so many reasons, because the kids really started to play hard for the coaching staff, and allowed the staff to coach them. Itís been a fun group, and the people have been magnificent since we have arrived, the Hokie Nation, the fans, and the students. We couldnít be happier to be a part of what we are building here at Virginia Tech.

Roth noted that Greenberg went to watch games at Madison Square Garden, and wondered if he had ever coached a game there, and what will it be like to be on the sidelines. Greenberg said that heís 0-1 at the Garden, that USF had lost at Fordham a couple of years back, and avenged that loss back in Tampa, but itís just a great place to play basketball. Coach said that heís happy to be a part of the tradition of the Big East Tournament, even if it is for just this year. With that, Roth thanked the coach for his call.

Roth asked Weaver about the situation with Florida A&Mís decision to not move to Division I, and VT's subsequent appeal to the NCAA to make an exception and allow the game to count towards Tech's bowl eligibility. Weaver said that they got a very positive response and that we will still be able to play our AA game in í07.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and wanted to say that heís really proud of our basketball team and coaches. He wanted to ask about student tickets, and if we could model Duke in that itís first come first served, that way everyone who wanted to get in could get in. Weaver said that he thinks we have been operating on the lottery system at the Student Governmentís request, but that we will review that as we move into the ACC.

Weaver did mention that student support has been outstanding this year, and partly responsible for the big wins at the Cassell this year. Weaver wondered who could have predicted that Tech would exit the Big East with a five game conference home winning streak. Thatís tough to do in that league any year. Roth pointed out that the SGA works with the athletic office to set the ticket policy for the students, and students with suggestions should contact the SGA with ideas.

Roth asked Weaver to comment on his responsibilities as it pertains to the Virginia Tech football players who were arrested on misdemeanor charges, and what additional disciplinary action may come as a result of the charges. Weaver responded by saying that, the Comprehensive Action Plan was established and adopted by the Board of Visitors, and thatís what we follow for all sports. That ensures we deal consistently with our student athletes over time.

Weaver said that the University will not interfere with the legal process, and that he has spoken with three attorneys who have told him that if he takes action now it could have an effect on the legal case. Also, any action by the Athletic Director at this time could result in the AD being called as an adverse witness. So itís a very touchy issue. Weaver said that heís very disappointed and regret that this has transpired, but we will deal with it, after the legal system has completed its process. Weaver added that his influence under the Comprehensive Action Plan only deals with the studentís athletic experience, and that the student judicial system will have an opportunity to deal with it as well. Roth re-capped that the legal proceedings would occur following the start of spring football, and he confirmed with Weaver that all three would participate in spring football.

Roth returned from the break by stating that within the week, season football ticket order forms will be going out into the mail. Weaver wanted to make one comment regarding the new calendar change, which is effective with the 2005 Football and the 2005 Ė 2006 Basketball season. For this year, May 1st is still the deadline for getting your contributions in for 2004 Football and 2004 Ė 2005 Basketball seasons. After this, we will move to a calendar year deadline of December 31st. "SO DECEMBER 31, 2004 WILL BE THE CONTRIBUTION DEADLINE FOR THE 2005 FOOTBALL AND 2005-2006 BASKETBALL SEASON." Having said that, anyone trying to better position themselves for basketball re-seating has to be submitted no later than May 1st 2004, as that re-seating will occur in the 04-05 basketball year. The Hokie Club offices can answer further questions.

Roth asked Weaver for his final thoughts on the year of Virginia Tech Athletics. Weaver said that flexibility was and is the key to success within college athletics, and the ability of this University to quickly respond to the inquiry from the ACC regarding membership, helped send us to the Promised Land and where this constituency has wanted to be for years.

Roth ended the show on that note.

-- Phil

          

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