The goal for Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock in his head-coaching search that ended earlier this week when he hired former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry was to find the right fit.
Pry was introduced to Hokie Nation on Thursday morning, and it’s clear — he’s the right fit.
Yes, Pry won the press conference. And, no, that does not matter. But Pry showed, in 30 minutes, what former Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente never displayed in almost six full years in charge.
Pry expressed gratitude to several people, including Penn State coach James Frankin, who he said was like a “brother” to him. Pry thanked his wife and children. He also thanked legendary former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer and defensive coordinator Bud Foster.
Pry appeared emotional at times, showing how humble and appreciative he was of this opportunity. He discussed how things were going to be different in his tenure. Not only would recruiting in the state of Virginia be a priority but the entire region. Pry’s history suggests he will live up to that promise. He will hire a strong staff that will recruit “our footprint.”
"We're gonna recruit our footprint." He knows how important Virginia recruits are to Virginia Tech. Several former players have reached out to him. He is going to be "approachable."— Gobbler Country (@gobblercountry) December 2, 2021
Another area where Pry won over Hokie Nation was talking about past Virginia Tech players. As soon as he landed in Blacksburg, he set up a Zoom call with a large group of players, letting them all know it was “our” program — not Pry’s program. The call went well, according to former Hokie Dwight Vick.
Another area Pry won over Hokie Nation was discussing the community and fans. He was going to embrace the fans and the community. Essentially, he said all of the things Fuente struggled to do or, quite frankly, didn’t care to do.
His itinerary this week showed he was a man of his word.
Pry showed humor in his presser, discussing Bourbon Street with J.C. Price from Tech’s 1995 Sugar Bowl win. He showed humbleness. He talked of how much he learned from Beamer and Foster from his stint in Blacksburg as a graduate assistant and how it helped develop him as a coach.
Pry accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. Sure, press conferences mean nothing if you are 5-7 every season. And, remember, the 2022 Hokies are going to take their lumps. Overcoming poor recruiting and bad roster management means the Hokies will not be instant contenders.
It’s about improving each week and playing tough, smart, hard-nosed football.
Pry isn’t a slam-dunk hire. Truthfully, no one is. Fuente was a slam-dunk hire. How did that turn out? We can’t judge Pry until a few years from now, but listening to him speak, especially about recruiting and relationships, leads you to believe Babcock made the right hire.
With every hire, it’s about the right fit. We learned Fuente, a good man, was not a good fit in Blacksburg. Pry is the complete opposite.
It’s been a great week for Virginia Tech football. Now, it’s time to win some recruiting battles.