Saturday, May 31st, 1997

Dave Braine Being Considered for Georgia Tech, Houston Vacancies

In the past few years, Tech fans have become accustomed to holding their breath and crossing their fingers as other universities with more wealthy athletic departments courted Tech coaches, both head coaches (Frank Beamer) and assistant coaches (Ricky Bustle, Rod Sharpless, Billy Hite, Chris Ferguson, and Todd Grantham, to name a few). We've managed to keep some of those coaches, but others have eluded us.

This time, the other schools are hunting big game: Tech Athletic Director Dave Braine.

We went through this fairly recently, when Dave's name came up in connection with the North Carolina job. The UNC job opening was one for Tech fans to worry about, because the Tarheels (at least, they say it's tar) are Braine's alma mater, and they are a school with a larger athletic budget - I would assume - and a more stable conference membership. Dave, however, nipped that one in the bud by saying, "I was at UNC for five years (as a student). I have been at Tech for ten years. I'm perfectly happy where I am."

Case closed on that one, but now Dave is among the four leading candidates for the vacant Georgia Tech AD job. He has also been included on a list of candidates that a Dallas consulting firm gave to University of Houston officials for consideration in filling the vacant AD job there.

I can't say much about the Houston situation, but GT has some of the same advantages over VT that North Carolina had: stable conference membership, a more storied athletic tradition, and a larger media market. The Roanoke Times reports: "Furthermore, Braine has close ties to Georgia Tech and the ACC. He was an assistant football coach at Georgia Tech in the mid-1970's, and Georgia Tech president Wayne Clough was at Virginia Tech when Braine was hired (on Jan. 1, 1988)."

But more importantly than that, Georgia Tech is offering more money. Lots more money.

Not that GT's coffers are overflowing, and the particulars of the package they're offering haven't been published, other than to report that the Georgia Tech package is a generous one. But here's the problem: Dave is only being paid $115,000 a year by Virginia Tech.

Blows the mind, doesn't it? I don't know about you, but the thought of having a top-level AD like Dave Braine who makes less than his football coach and not a whole lot more than some of the assistant football coaches chills my blood a little bit.

I almost never do this, but here goes: the one person who needs to hear your opinion about this is Virginia Tech President Paul E. Torgersen, and here's his email address: I'm posting it in the hopes that some of you will drop him a line with a simple message: "Do whatever it takes to keep Dave Braine here."

That's assuming that you feel the same way about Dave Braine that I do - mainly, that he has been a gift from above for Tech fans. He's had his bad moments, like when he was blindsided by the Big East snub several years back (could anybody have seen that coming?), and perhaps he didn't step in early enough when the off-field problems got out of hand, but other than that, the guy is largely responsible for Tech's athletic and monetary success these days.

I still consider our admission into the Big East Football Conference to be one of the biggest coups of all time for an AD. Dave sold a money-based conference on the concept of admitting a school that had no great football tradition and almost no media market to offer. How he did that in the early 90's is one of the great mysteries of Tech athletic history, in my extremely biased opinion.

So if you agree with me and you want to pitch in, click on the email address above and drop Dr. Torgersen a line. Tell him that if he needs to, he should fork over the bucks necessary to keep Dave. The guy has been a fire-sale bargain at that paltry salary, and unless we start paying him what he's worth, it's going to be more and more difficult to keep him here as the UNC's and Georgia Tech's of the college athletic world come callling.

Sights and Sounds are Rolling In

Ever since I actually created a Sights and Sounds page, instead of just talking about it, the clips have been pouring in! My mailbox has been stuffed with huge email attachments that chronicle the glory of Tech sports over the last couple of years. Thanks to everybody who has sent stuff in, and I'll try to remember to give you proper credit when I post everything.

Here's what I have, all of which will be going up on the S&S page soon:

Bill Roth's calls of all four Sugar Bowl TD's
Bill's call of Marcus Parker's Orange Bowl screen pass TD
a video of Bryan Still's Sugar Bowl punt return
a video of a short TD pass to Corney White in the 1996 WVU game
a video of a Brian Edmonds TD run in the 1996 Rutgers game

And I've got more WAV files of turkey gobbles now than I'll ever need! Stop sending them in!

The one thing I do not have yet that everybody wants are copies of Bill Roth's calls of the Jermaine Holmes and Antonio Banks touchdowns in the 1995 UVa game. If anybody out there has them or can record them into a WAV file, do it and send it to me! Hokie fans are demanding it!

Turkey Bites

  • Frank Beamer confirmed Friday that wide receiver Walter Ford will not be reinstated to the team. Ford, as you know, was convicted in a shoplifting scheme in which he "purchased" nearly $200 worth of stuff from the Tech bookstore for less than a dollar. Ford committed this crime shortly after the Blacksburg Brawl story broke, and shortly after Frank Beamer had said, "The next player who screws up is history." Ford screwed up. He's history. He's a JUCO transfer who hopes to transfer and play football at another school.
  • Shawn Scales will be the commencement speaker at his high school in Woodbridge. Apparently, Scales's remarkable life history, chronicled in The Wahooshington Post, rightfully convinced Woodbridge High officials that Scales is a great role model who knows what it takes to succeed in life, and that he would make a good commencement speaker.
  • Running back Rondel White, who rushed for more than 2000 yards and 20 TD's the past two seasons at Group A Amelia County High, has committed to Tech. White "drew recruiting interest" from Hampton University, ECU, Miami, and Tennessee, according to his coach.

    Now get ready to drool: White is 6-3, 220 pounds, won the state 110-hurdles two years straight, and runs the 100 meters in 10.9. Another stallion for the herd.

    UVa coaches are reportedly in transit at this very moment for a meeting with White, in which they will corner him in the school's weight room and will ask him, "Are you sure?" A local Amelia County attorney, who is a Virginia graduate, has offered his assistance to the UVa athletic department in this matter.


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