In a few hours, we’ll have our final Virginia Tech sports broadcast for calendar year 2011 when we air the first of three Tech Talk LIVE! Sugar Bowl radio shows from New Orleans.
2011 was a pretty exceptional year for our Hokies’ broadcast operation. We produced hundreds of hours of television shows, weekly radio programs, and of course game broadcasts from coast-to-coast. On the TV side, we added Fox Sports South to our lineup of network of affiliates, a move that allowed fans in seven southern states to learn about the Hokies each Sunday morning. And we added three new radio stations – all in North Carolina –, which provided additional exposure for our teams.
But it was on the courts and fields where 2011 really stood out for Virginia Tech Athletics. So many remarkable stories of personal and team accomplishments. We tried to feature each and every one of them, either on our Sunday morning TV show, or during a Monday night live radio interview. I remember interviewing Tech men’s soccer coach Mike Brizendine on Tech Talk LIVE after his tem beat top-ranked UNC and feeling the pride he had over that accomplishment. Women’s soccer coach Chuggar Adair had a similar story to tell after his team also scored a stunning win over UNC.
Perhaps the favorite talk show memory of the year was delivered by Tech offensive linemen Blake DeChristopher earlier this fall at Bull & Bones, responding to a listener who asked when he would propose to his long time girlfriend, Carter Jennings.
“Well, Carter there’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you for a long time,” Blake said, causing the huge crowd to hush.
“Will you …. Do my laundry?”
The crowd roared in laughter, as Blake played the moment perfectly. Even Carter had a big grin on her face.
Live radio can really bring out the personal side of a guest and we’ve enjoyed letting Hokie fans learn about the special people who are both Tech players and coaches each week again in 2011. We laughed with them, joined in their successes, and shared encouraging words with them following their defeats.
There were so many wonderful moments and special games during the past year. Here is my top 5.
Number 5: November 10, 2011: The 10th-ranked Hokies beat 20th-ranked Georgia Tech 37-26 in Atlanta. The winner of this game, as you know, has won the ACC’s Coastal Division each year since ACC expansion and Frank Beamer’s team delivered one of its best performances of the season that night. Under Paul Johnson, the Jackets had been undefeated at home against ranked teams, but Logan Thomas threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, and David Wilson rushed for 175 yards in a memorable road win.
Number 4: November 26, 2011: The Hokies shut out UVA 38-0 in Charlottesville behind the efforts of Wilson and Thomas, and a stifling defense. In a winner-take-all battle for the Coastal Division and the Commonwealth Cup, the Hokies played one of their best games of the season.
Number 3: March 11, 2011: In a game that featured one of the oddest endings in school history, the Hokies beat Florida State 52-51 in basketball at the ACC tournament. The Seminoles appeared to have won the game at the buzzer. But after reviewing the replay monitor, officials ruled Derwin Kitchen’s game-winning shot was released after the horn sounded. The points were taken off the scoreboard, and Tech was awarded an emotional one-point win.
Number 2: February 26, 2011: More hoops. The Hokies beat top-ranked Duke 64-60 on a day when ESPN’s Gameday had its show at Cassell Coliseum. It was a special day for Tech basketball. Dick Vitale, Bob Knight, Digger Phelps, and Co. were all in attendance to see the Hokies score one of their biggest wins in school history. It was a court-storming, dramatic win over the country’s top-ranked team and a great moment in the history of Tech’s program.
Number 1: October 8, 2011: The Hokies beat Miami 38-35 in what my analyst Mike Burnop called “the greatest game I’ve ever seen.” Hokies QB Logan Thomas completed 23-of-25 passes and threw for three touchdowns during the game. He also ran for two touchdowns including the game-winner on a fourth-down play in the final minute.
I’m sure each of you has a favorite moment or two from 2011 that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. That’s what makes sports – especially Tech sports -- so unique and exciting. And there’s no doubt 2012 will provide even more thrilling moments for all of us.
Tonight, we have our final broadcast of the calendar year. Coach Beamer, Bud Foster, and Bryan Stinespring will join Mike and me for our first of three special Sugar Bowl edition of Tech Talk LIVE! from our team hotel in New Orleans. We’ll have shows Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights from 7-8 p.m. eastern time.
We also have our Sugar Bowl preview edition of Virginia Tech Sports Today which you can catch Sunday morning on our network of television affiliates.
And Tuesday night, our game broadcast of the Sugar Bowl begins at 7 p.m. eastern time.
We hope you’ll join us for our broadcasts from New Orleans. Again, more special moments are on the horizon and we’re excited to share them with you in 2012.
So, on behalf of our entire crew, and everyone in the Tech family, we wish you a safe, healthy and Happy New Year!
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