Former Tech student-athletes named to positions within athletics department

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced today the hiring of former Virginia Tech student-athletes, Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame inductees and longtime athletics department supporters André Davis and Bimbo Coles to one-year appointments within the athletics department.

Both will serve as the directors of student-athlete support and community engagement. Each will serve as an ambassador for Virginia Tech’s athletics programs, with emphasis in community engagement and student-athlete well being.

“André and Bimbo set very high standards in so many facets of their career at Virginia Tech, both academically and athletically,” Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “They have both served as fabulous representatives of Virginia Tech over the years and also have been very generous in their support of the Hokies. We are extremely thankful that André and Bimbo will be serving in important roles that will help make a positive impact on the lives of our current student-athletes, as well as the greater Virginia Tech community.”

The community engagement responsibilities call for them to be representatives at various Hokie Club and athletics department functions, Monogram Club events, game-related events and on other special occasions both in Blacksburg and in other locations as designated by Babcock and his senior staff members. Coles and Davis will be tasked with promoting the mission and goals of the athletics department, with a targeted emphasis on the “Drive for 25” initiative announced late last year.

In addition, both will work with Tech’s Office of Student-Athlete Development, which helps the Hokies’ student-athletes prepare for life after graduation. Both will serve as mentors, attending various events, including those surrounding the spring game, the new student-athlete orientation, the Senior Transition Seminar, and workshops related to time management, life skills, media training, financial planning and agent selection (when applicable).

“This was something that I’ve been talking to Whit about for the last several months,” Davis said. “I’ve given back to the different programs that interest me, but I also want to share with the student-athletes that are coming in here about my experience and what it’s done to help build my career. It’s given me a foundation for what I do now in being able to help others out and to be able to serve.”

Davis played football and ran track for the Hokies from 1998-2001 and graduated in 2002 with a degree in residential property management. The native of Niskayuna, New York caught 103 passes for 1,986 yards and 18 touchdowns during his four seasons at Tech, and he still holds the school record for yards per catch at 27.5 set in 1999. He also holds or shares three school records related to punt returns and earned All-America honors as a punt returner in 2000. In track and field, he won eight conference championships as a sprinter during his career.

Davis later spent nine seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He also played in New England, Buffalo and Houston, and he shares two NFL records – longest touchdown reception (99 yards vs. Cincinnati in 2004) and most kickoff return touchdowns in a game (two vs. Jacksonville in 2007).

Following his retirement from the NFL, Davis became a capital partner for Carolina Holdings Group, a real estate development firm that creates second home and resort communities up and down the Atlantic coast and is based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Also, in 2014, he and former Cincinnati Reds baseball player Reggie Sanders formed 2LiveBeyond Foundation, an organization that raises financial resources for different causes, including Africa New Life Ministries, which feeds, clothes and cares for children and their families in Rwanda.

Last summer, he pledged a philanthropic gift to be used to support both the department’s Leadership Institute, which was designed to give student-athletes the leadership skills needed to serve better in society, and the football program. Now, he’ll be in a hands-on role.

Coles, too, has given back to Virginia Tech and is a longtime season ticket holder in both football and basketball. He recently came back to campus and spoke at the Career Jumpstart, an event sponsored by the Office of Student-Athlete Development designed to educate student-athletes on specific career fields and help them with networking opportunities. He also took part in a ceremony in which student-athletes received lettermen’s jackets.

“It's a privilege and an honor to be a part of the Hokies as they continue to strive to be the best on the court, but also off the court,” Coles said. “The Career Jumpstart and Letter Jacket Ceremonies are outstanding events for our student-athletes. The future looks bright, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Coles, a Lewisburg, West Virginia native, enjoyed a terrific career on the basketball court during his four years in Blacksburg from 1986-1990 and still ranks as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,484 points. He became the first player in Metro Conference history to lead the league in scoring for three consecutive seasons.

Coles put Virginia Tech on the map in 1988 when he became the first Tech athlete to participate in the Olympics. Chosen to be on the U.S. Olympic team by then-Georgetown head coach John Thompson, Coles averaged 7.1 points per game in eight games, helping the U.S. team to a bronze medal. His Olympic participation and his record-setting career led to Virginia Tech retiring his No. 12 jersey in a ceremony before his final home game on March 3, 1990.

Following his collegiate career, Coles was drafted in the second round of the 1990 NBA Draft, and he spent 14 seasons in the NBA, with stints in Miami, Golden State, Atlanta, Cleveland and Boston. He scored 6,628 points and dished out 3,313 assists during his career.

Coles has been involved in many endeavors since his retirement from the NBA, but eventually made his way back to West Virginia. He currently serves as a co-owner for Country Roads CrossFit in Lewisburg, and he also works as the executive co-director of The GROW Project, Inc. – a non-profit organization that works on initiatives in health care, wellness, and education in both Haiti and the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia. He and other volunteers are in the process of converting an old school into a functional community center for Greenbrier County.

In 2000, Virginia Tech inducted Coles into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2012, the school bestowed that same honor to Davis.

Coles and Davis will remain with their families while serving in their capacities within the Tech athletics department – Coles in Lewisburg, West Virginia; and Davis in Delaware. Both will travel back and forth to events as scheduled.

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