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Babcock Introduced at VT News Conference - abc27 WHTM

Babcock Introduced at VT News Conference

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BLACKSBURG (AP) - Whit Babcock says being the athletic director at Virginia Tech fulfills a lifelong dream.
   The 43-year-old Babcock was introduced as the Hokies' new AD on Wednesday. He replaces Jim Weaver, who retired at the end of 2013 because of health concerns. Babcock, now the AD at Cincinnati, says he'll be on the job fulltime on Feb. 17.
   Babcock was born in Lynchburg and grew up in Harrisonburg.
   He says when those closest to him have asked what athletic director position most appealed to him, "that answer has been and is Virginia Tech."
   Babcock played baseball at James Madison when his father was the coach.
   He says he comes at the job as "a product of the student-athlete experience and the life lessons it teaches."

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Highlights of news conference:

•Babcock signed a contract that begins Feb. 17, 2014. That is the day he will be full-time at Virginia Tech. He will make an annual salary of $470,000. He has an annual retention incentive of $140,000. He also got a $325,000 signing bonus.

•Tech had more than 50 candidates and narrowed list to eight for in-person interviews.

•VT President Steger used the term "business enterprise" to essentially describe what an athletic director is in charge of.

•Babcock read from prepared statement before taking questions.

•During that statement he acknowledged family members and said his parents live in Concord, Va.

•He said he grew up going to VT sporting events and that this job is a dream come true.

•He described four tenets that he follows in regards to his AD position:

--The department will be in line with the mission of University and one with education.

--Committed to excellence

--Centralized focus on the student-athlete experience

--Engage the community

 

•He joked that in order to be an AD "You couldn't play a lick and you sure can't coach."

He played baseball at JMU and didn't play a lot until his senior year. He did play at VT's English Field. "I went 0 for 3 or 0 for 4," Babcock said.

He said he's coming in with a blank slate and doesn't have any preconceived ideas of anyone or anything at VT.

He said he has no immediate plans to make any coaching staff changes. He prefers to understand the lay of the land before those types of decisions are made.

Former VT football star Kevin Jones left Babcock "an awesome voicemail message" Tuesday night congratulating him on the job.

He worked in minor league baseball before missing the college athletics experience.

In regards to engaging the community, he said he wants VT to create memorable experiences for its fans. He mentioned positive and friendly customer service can be invaluable to an athletic department.

He acknowledged VT doesn't have the financial backing that Texas, Ohio State, and Florida are accustomed to so VT has to "out-people people."

President Steger said VT's athletics is a $65 million a year operation.

Babcock said he is against ‘pay for play,' referencing the idea college athletes should be compensated for their play.

He was unable to conduct one-on-one interviews because he had to catch a plane to attend the ACC athletic director meetings.

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