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Women's Basketball: Whit Babcock's Next Hire?

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Virginia Tech AD, Whit Babcock, has made two major hires in his short tenure, but one more might be on the horizon.

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Women's College Basketball is one of the most tiered collegiate sports there is from a talent perspective and talent seemingly always wins in women's basketball. There are the elite teams such as Connecticut, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Baylor and Maryland that annually compete for the national championship against one another (there are a few other programs, but these are the ones that come to mind). Connecticut is on a different level from the rest, but I will keep them in the elite category -- if you haven't seen them play you are missing out because it is professional basketball at the college level. The next tier down is what I will call the rest of the top-25, which consists of decent teams across the country that lose to the elites, but beat the average teams. This average category is an interesting bunch as it consists of a plethora of teams that beat each other, but rarely challenge up the ladder. The final category I will just call the rest to be polite and because there are nearly 100-150 schools that fall in this category at the division one level.

As this image shows, Virginia Tech Women's Hoops is not a hot ticket in and around Blacksburg, which is not surprising to me as an alum or avid Hokie Sports follower. Dennis Wolff was appointed by late AD Jim Weaver in 2011 and has moved the program forward inch-by-inch, but has not done a ton to raise the eyes of HokieNation in five seasons at the helm despite recruiting consistent top-25 classes and starting the current campaign 13-1, which included a historic victory over #8 Tennessee. Since the hot start the Lady Hokies are 2-11 and have only won 3 league games out of 14 played.

Quick Facts

Seasons at VT Fifth Season
Overall Record 58-91 (.389) Games: 149
ACC Record 15-65 (.188) Games: 80
vs. Non-Conference 43-26 (.623) Games: 69
vs. Ranked Teams 4-27 (.129) Games: 31
Record Home 41-41 (.500) Games: 82
Record Away 15-45 (.250) Games: 60
Record Neutral 2-5 (.286) Games: 7

Referring back to my subjective at best, tiered-ranking system, Virginia Tech Women's Basketball is teetering between the average and the rest categories, which is not good for a program that played in either the NCAA tournament or NIT 12 out of 14 years between 1994-2007. 10 of those 12 post-season appearances were in the NCAA tournament and helped build Virginia Tech's athletic reputation as an institution devoted to all sports not only the "cash cows" like Football and Men's Hoops. While the support has not faded (for Women's Hoops) under Whit Babcock's direction there is likely a tipping point approaching for Dennis Wolff and his staff. In my opinion, he, like James Johnson, was handed one helluva challenge in rebuilding a program and a job that neither had been equipped to handle. To be competitive today in any collegiate sport you have to spend money to win and Jim Weaver made safe hires in Wolff and Johnson, but not hires that could elevate programs, see Buzz Williams.

Looking forward, I believe Whit Babcock will invest in a proven Women's coach that brings a reputation that will attract talent and a winning tradition to Blacksburg, assuming these are Dennis Wolff's final games at the helm.

Thoughts?

Go Hokies!