BLACKSBURG – Two current members of the Virginia Tech athletics department family were inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame at a ceremony held Saturday night in Portsmouth, Va.
Legendary Tech icons Cornell Brown, the whip linebackers coach, and Bill Roth, the radio play-by-play voice of the Hokies, joined five others inducted into the Hall. The group also included former Tech basketball coach Frankie Allen, a former Charlie Moir assistant who was the head coach from 1987-91. Allen was the first African-American player at Roanoke College, where he averaged 24 points per game for his career. They all join more than 350 state athletes, coaches, administrators, educators and journalists who have made a major impact on the world of sports.
Brown first made a name for himself as a player at Tech, and to this day, is cited by head coach Frank Beamer as the one of the integral parts of Tech’s turnaround. The Lynchburg, Va., native started four seasons for the Hokies and helped them to a 37-11 overall record, four straight bowl games and a pair of BIG EAST Conference championships during that span.
In 1995, he led the BIG EAST in sacks and led the Hokies to a 10-2 record, their first BIG EAST championship and a Sugar Bowl win over Texas. Football News named him national Defensive Player of the Year. After helping Virginia Tech to a share of the conference title and a berth in the Orange Bowl in 1996, he was named first-team All-American. Brown’s 36 career sacks at Tech ranks second all time at Tech behind only Bruce Smith.
In the 1997 NFL Draft, Brown was selected in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens, where he played linebacker for the duration of his seven-year NFL career (1997-2004). He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Two years later, his Tech jersey was retired, and he was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Roth, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., works for IMG Sports, which holds the Hokies’ multi-media rights, and has been the “Voice of the Hokies” since 1988. He has been the lead play-by-play announcer of Virginia Tech football and basketball, has served as the host of weekly coaches radio shows and has hosted the Virginia Tech Sports Today television show. From Sugar Bowls, to Orange Bowls, to NCAA Tournaments, Roth has described some of the greatest moments in Virginia Tech athletics history.
Roth has been honored as Virginia's Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association 10 times. In fact, he received the honor this year for the second straight year.
The athletics department recognized Roth and popular color analyst Mike Burnop last fall for their 25 years of calling football games together, presenting them with a commemorative print that was sold for contributions to establish an endowment in the name of Ellen Burnop and Lynda Roth. Ellen was Mike’s wife and Lynda is Bill’s sister, and the two passed away within a month of each other last summer after bouts with cancer.
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Portsmouth, Va. The Hall is one of only about 16 official state sports halls of fame in the country. More than 45 National Hall of Famers are among its ranks, as are more than 30 of the top 50 athletes of the century recognized by Sports Illustrated.
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