Whit Babcock is in his third year as Virginia Tech’s Director of Athletics after being formally announced as Tech’s AD on Jan. 24, 2014. The Harrisonburg, Virginia native came back to the state following stints at Cincinnati, Missouri, West Virginia and Auburn. The 2015-16 academic year turned into a busy one for him, as he made three key coaching hires and oversaw the revamping of the Hokie Club, the athletics department’s fundraising arm. Babcock’s biggest hire came when he brought in Justin Fuente as the new football coach to succeed legendary Frank Beamer, who retired after the 2015 season following 29 years as the head coach of the Hokies. Fuente came to Tech after four seasons at Memphis, where he turned around a struggling program, guiding the school to 19 wins in his final two seasons there.
Babcock also tabbed Kenny Brooks to lead the Virginia Tech women’s basketball program. Brooks joined the Hokies after registering 337 wins at James Madison, where he led the Dukes to 11 consecutive postseason appearances, including six NCAA tournament berths. Babcock also tabbed John Sung to lead the women’s lacrosse program after starting a program from scratch at Winthrop and proceeded to guide the Eagles to back-to-back NCAA appearances before coming to Blacksburg.
Babcock’s penchant for attracting some of the nation’s top coaching talent to Virginia Tech paid dividends for the Hokies in 2015-16 as men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams led Tech to a 20-win season and an NIT berth in just his second season in Blacksburg. Tech registered a six-game ACC winning streak and rejuvenated the raucous atmosphere at Cassell Coliseum. Williams joined the Hokies in 2014 after a six-year stint at Marquette where he posted 139 victories and five NCAA berths.
The Hokies have continued to enjoy success both in the playing venues and in the classroom during Babcock’s brief tenure. In the 2015-16 academic year, Virginia Tech won ACC championships in the sports of men’s outdoor track and field and wrestling – the school’s 21st and 22nd ACC team titles since joining the league. In that same year, eight teams qualified for NCAA postseason competition, with the track and field and swimming and diving programs also sending several individuals to the NCAA Championships. During the 2014-15 academic year, the Hokies won two ACC titles and seven teams qualified for NCAA competition. Babcock arrived in Blacksburg following two and a half years as the Director of Athletics at the University of Cincinnati and five years at the University of Missouri, where he served as the Executive Associate Director of Athletics. His background in fundraising, marketing, promotions, ticket sales, licensing, and multimedia partnerships were key attributes in support of his hiring. In his introductory press conference, Babcock cited three guiding principles for his vision for the athletics department’s future: commitment to comprehensive excellence, centering the department’s focus on the student-athlete experience, and engaging the community.
Over the past five years, both while at Cincinnati and Virginia Tech, Babcock has been active on the local and national speaking circuits. He has presented before the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) and the 1-A Athletic Directors Association annual institute. He is a past president of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD).
Prior to his time at Cincinnati, Babcock’s 22-year career path included stops at Missouri, West Virginia, Auburn and James Madison. A student-athlete himself, Babcock lettered four seasons in baseball at James Madison University and served as team captain his senior year. He earned his bachelor’s degree from JMU in 1992. In 1996, he received his master’s in sports management from West Virginia University.