Jack Ridinger Memorial Scholarship
    In July, Virginia Tech Softball and our University community lost one of its biggest fans and I lost not only a stepfather, but also my best friend. Jack Ridinger was a very special person to his family, church, fellow officers at the Virginia Tech Police Department, Athletic Department and especially our softball program.

    Jack was there from the beginning, supporting both me and my efforts to build our softball program. He, along with my mother, Judy, and my grandparents would attend games all over the country. On several occasions he would drive his vehicle packed with bat bags to save us some space as we traveled in vans to away contests. Although Jack did many other things for our program, his biggest impact was his presence in the stands and often at practice just to stop by and say "Hi!" and check up on the team.

    Jack's presence was felt by everyone, but in particular our players and parents. When hearing about Jack's sudden death, they were deeply saddened and expressed their feelings through phone calls and cards. He became good friends with many parents, other softball fans, and was like that favorite "uncle" to the girls. Jack even made an appearance on the 1997 softball poster.

    With all that said, and much more that could be written, I was extremely touched when I heard that some former players and parents wanted to do something in Jack's memory. Ali Verbage led this idea and effort, and after some discussion it was decided that we would start fundraising for the endowment of the Jack Ridinger Memorial Softball Scholarship.

    I can't express enough how proud and touched I am by this effort, but it certainly couldn't be named for a better man. Jack would be very proud to have his name forever attached to a scholarship that will help our softball program.

    To reach our goal of endowment we will need to raise $50,000 and some money has already started coming in for the effort. If you or someone you know would like to donate to the scholarship, please send checks to:

    Virginia Tech Athletic Fund
    P.O. Box 10307
    Blacksburg, VA 24062
    Attention: Jack Ridinger Memorial Softball Scholarship

    ... or drop off a donation by the Hokie Club's new offices in Lane Stadium's West Side expansion. Please make sure that you make a note that your gift has been restricted to the Jack Ridinger Memorial Softball Scholarship.

    Carolyn, Andrew, Liza and I miss Jack more than I can explain, but this is a tremendous honor and way to keep Jack's memory alive in our softball program. Thanks so much for the many thoughts and prayers that we have already received, and thank you for your support in this effort.

    Take care and ...
    Go Hokies!
    Scot Thomas

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