Virginia Tech Athletics Department
Jamerson Athletic Center
25 Beamer Way
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Whit Babcock
Director of Athletics
Executive Staff
(540) 231-3977 :: Send Email

Whit Babcock is in his fourth year as Virginia Tech’s director of athletics after being formally announced as Tech’s AD on Jan. 24, 2014. The Harrisonburg, Virginia native came back to the state following stints at Cincinnati, Missouri, West Virginia and Auburn.

"It [the position] was appealing to me primarily because of two reasons - fit and opportunity," Babcock said at the news conference announcing his hiring. "My Virginia heritage - I’m a fifth-generation Virginian - certainly helps with fit and understanding the culture, and coming home is a big component.

"But it’s more than that. It’s also the opportunity to compete against the best and to join a championship-caliber program that is and will continue to be a leader in the ACC athletically and academically."

Babcock continues to make his mark on all facets of the athletics department, from fan engagement to facilities to fundraising and coaching hires. In fact, he received national acclaim for his work as an AD during the 2016-17 academic year, as he was one of five finalists for the AD of the Year honor handed out by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.

The 2016-17 academic year was tremendously successful for Virginia Tech under Babcock’s leadership. The Hokies won ACC titles in wrestling, men’s indoor track and field, men’s outdoor track and field and women’s outdoor track and field. The football program won its third straight bowl game, while the men’s basketball program under Buzz Williams - whom Babcock hired from Marquette in 2014 - made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.

The year saw three of Babcock’s coaching hires enjoy stellar first seasons at the helms of their respective sports. Justin Fuente earned consensus honors as the ACC Coach of the Year after guiding the football team to 10 wins, a Coastal Division crown and a thrilling Belk Bowl victory. Fuente succeeded legendary coach Frank Beamer, who retired after the 2015 season following 29 years as the head coach of the Hokies.

Also, women’s basketball coach Kenny Brooks led the women’s program to 20 wins and a WNIT berth, and women’s lacrosse coach John Sung spearheaded a Hokie resurgence in that sport. Sung guided a program that tied a school record with 11 wins and was ranked as high as No. 12 during the season - the program’s highest ranking ever.

Other Babcock hires faring well include Williams and wrestling coach Tony Robie. Williams has led the Hokies to two postseason appearances in three seasons, while Robie guided his team to an ACC title and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Robie, an interim head coach at the time, received the job on a permanent basis from Babcock following the season.

Also, in 2016-17, Babcock tabbed former Maryland head baseball coach John Szefc to lead the Hokies’ baseball program. Szefc led Maryland to three NCAA berths in five seasons, while amassing 180 victories.

On the fundraising front, Babcock’s 2016 revamping of the Hokie Club, the athletics department’s fundraising arm, paid dividends, as the club raised a school-record $33 million over the course of the latest giving cycle, with $16 million going to the fledgling "Hokie Scholarship Fund" - a program designed to increase funding for scholarships by requiring football and men’s basketball season ticket holders in certain designated locations to meet minimum per-seat gift contributions. These contributions provide revenue to meet the rising costs of tuition for the school’s more than 550 scholarship student-athletes.

In addition, in December of 2016, Babcock implemented a "Drive for 25" initiative designed to increase membership in the Hokie Club to 25,000 members. He tabbed Beamer to serve as the spokesperson for the campaign, which helps raise the financial resources to provide Virginia Tech student-athletes with the opportunities to continue their success in the classroom, in competition and in the community.

Babcock’s professional background is mostly in fundraising and marketing, and he believes that success in these areas begin with developing relationships.

"People have to trust you, and you have to paint a vision for them and show them how they can make an impact," he said. "The reason we want to treat all of our fans well is because they are all important. There’s an old adage in our business that everyone’s first gift is their smallest. If you do things right, it moves on up the line. So we’ll look forward to engaging everybody and focus on that point of creating memorable experiences when they come in contact with us."

Babcock continues to make an impact on Tech’s facilities as well. He solicited a $3.5 million donation from Union Bank for the ongoing renovation to English Field at Union Bank Park, the home of the Hokies’ baseball team. Also, Rector Field House, which houses the track and field programs, is currently being renovated, and workers continue construction of a softball hitting facility next to Rector. The combined cost of all three projects runs in the neighborhood of $36 million.

In addition, Babcock was instrumental in securing a $5 million commitment from Carilion Clinic for scholarships and improvements to Cassell Coliseum. Plans call for new, padded seats to be installed this summer, and future plans call for other renovations, including the Bowman Room, a projected $15 million project designed to aid the athletics department in its nutrition efforts and to provide pregame hospitality before basketball games.

These plans follow the completion of the new $21.3 million indoor practice facility behind the Jamerson Athletics Center, a facility that opened in the summer of 2015. The football program and also the men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and lacrosse programs are using this facility.

The Hokies also are excelling academically. Three Tech student-athletes earned the ACC Scholar-Athletes of the Year in their respective sports in 2016-17 - Hanna Green (women’s indoor track), Torben Laidig (men’s indoor track) and Jared Haught (wrestling). At the conclusion of the spring semester, 285 student-athletes - more than half of those on team rosters - held a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better. The cumulative grade-point average of Virginia Tech’s student-athletes overall is 3.03, and 16 teams maintained a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average or better.

In the previous year under Babcock, Virginia Tech won ACC championships in the sports of men’s outdoor track and field and wrestling. In that same year, eight teams qualified for NCAA postseason competition, with the track and field and swimming and diving programs also sending several individuals to the NCAA Championships. During the 2014-15 academic year, the Hokies won two ACC titles and seven teams qualified for NCAA competition.

All of this builds on what Babcock and his staff accomplished during the first two years of his tenure. In year No. 2, they launched two big campaigns, with the announcement of the 110% Hokie Campaign and the Twenty4You initiative. Babcock recognized Tech’s student-athletes giving 110 percent, so the 110% Hokie Campaign called for donors to do the same by increasing their annual contributions by 10 percent to help offset Tech’s commitment in paying the cost-of-attendance "gap" for its student-athletes.

The Twenty4You initiative implemented 24 ideas to improve the fan experience at Tech’s venues for 2015-16. Babcock and his staff plan on updating and continuing this initiative to better serve Hokie Nation on gameday.

Other accomplishments during Babcock’s tenure include the launching of a new mission statement and core values for the athletics department. The mission statement and the core values - integrity, service, honor, excellence and strong together - represent the foundation of the department and every decision made. In addition, he unveiled the "Pylons of Promise," a landmark document that sets forth the university’s and the athletics department’s commitment to student-athletes during their times at Virginia Tech. This document served as Virginia Tech’s response to the changes in the NCAA governance landscape. The Pylons of Promise is based on the ideals emblazoned on the eight pylons at the Virginia Tech War Memorial Court.

Babcock arrived in Blacksburg following two and a half years as the director of athletics at the University of Cincinnati and five years at the University of Missouri, where he served as the executive associate director of athletics. His background in fundraising, marketing, promotions, ticket sales, licensing and multimedia partnerships were key attributes in support of his hiring. In his introductory press conference at Virginia Tech, Babcock cited three guiding principles for his vision for the athletics department's future: commitment to comprehensive excellence, centering the department's focus on the student-athlete experience and engaging the community.

During his two-year stint as the AD at Cincinnati, Babcock initiated a new administrative structure within the department and proposed a comprehensive vision and capital campaign for athletics facility enhancement, which included an $86-million renovation and expansion to Nippert Stadium, the school’s football stadium. He also set forth a scholarship enhancement plan for Olympic sports, crafted a three-year strategic plan for all facets of the program, hired head coaches in football, baseball, men’s track and field, lacrosse, volleyball and women’s soccer, and implemented numerous external relations strategies to connect and engage with Bearcats’ alumni, donors, fans, and students.

Over the past five years, both while at Cincinnati and Virginia Tech, Babcock has been active on the local and national speaking circuits. He has presented before the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) and the 1-A Athletic Directors Association annual institute. He is a past president of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD).

Prior to his time at Cincinnati, Babcock's 22-year career path included stops at Missouri, West Virginia, Auburn and James Madison.

A student-athlete himself, Babcock lettered four seasons in baseball at James Madison University and served as team captain his senior year. He earned his bachelor's degree from JMU in 1992. In 1996, he received his master's in sports management from West Virginia University.

He and his wife, Kelly, have three sons: Andrew, Brett and Eli.