The official announcement of the Baseball Coaching Change from Hokie Sports.
There are just no two ways to go through this and not come away with an uncomfortable feeling. The announcement on a Sunday was pretty unusual, and the entire text is one of those positive but blunt messages that makes all of us remember that in coaching there is no substitute for winning.
Virginia Tech, heading in to the 2nd half of the 2017 season had a good chance to gain a bit of momentum and have a reasonable chance at both a .500 plus season, and a shot at the ACC playoffs. We noted that, here at Gobbler Country back at the midpoint. But the wheels fell off the cart after the the Georgia Tech losses were registered. The loss to Georgia Tech that dropped us below the par line of the 2017 season and .500 would never be seen again. The April 22nd game with the jackets started a season crippling 3 and 11 Win/Loss stretch.
Virginia Tech’s bats never completely silenced, but the pitching was never able to keep up with the opponents’ batting. Even the sticks abandoned the field for the final game with Carolina. No one is going to want to remember the 0-20 skunking. I have to admit that even with all of the injuries as reasons, that last game in rapidly disintegrating English Field, in front of a dwindling home crowd made me think that today’s announcement was inevitable.
The new ball park renovations will come with a new coaching staff, and probably some players who might decide to take their chances elsewhere in the minor leagues or another school. Players and the coaches who recruited them are often close. This abrupt, though as I noted, wholly expected change may have some rising seniors and underclassmen taking other decisions.
As the article said, there will be a nationwide search for a new baseball coach. Whit Babcock is a gracious man, but he’s an AD in an NCAA Division 1A school. He’s got a fat sponsorship contract for a new ball park and clubhouse facility. There is also a fundamental reality that ACC Baseball is the ACC Basketball of non-revenue sports. Virginia Tech should be routinely challenging for the top of the league; not languishing around at the end of the season hoping for something good to happen “NEXT TIME”. Even the Chicago Cubs finally won a World Series.
The new coach is going to have a serious challenge ahead of him. The pitching rotation and bullpen situation is dire. The lineup is good, but repeated shellings take their toll on the team. The great hope that charged out of Nevada in the cold of March faded to resignation at the end of April.
It’s going to be an entirely new most of everything for the opening pitch in February 2018. Gobbler Country will be there, and we’ll be supplying updates on what we can learn of the new coach and staff. We’ll also slip in a few pictures as English Field turns into Union Park.