Virginia Tech Athletics Department
675 Washington St., SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Responsibilities: Knachel is responsible for photographic coverage of Virginia Tech’s 22 intercollegiate sports, maintaining organized files and archives of images and distributing images for numerous uses both within the department and to the media and public. He also does publication and design work.
Joined VT Athletics Staff: 1995
At Virginia Tech: As the first on-staff photographer in the athletics department, Knachel built all aspects of the office from the ground up. Making the change from film to digital ahead of when many organizations did, and developing a well-organized system for creating, editing, archiving and distributing images was instrumental in helping Virginia Tech athletics adjust and adapt in an ever-changing multi-media society.
Prior to Virginia Tech: Knachel got his feet wet in photography working with the Student Publications Photography Staff at Virginia Tech, serving as the photo editor for two years. He spent seven years working as a photographer and graphics editor for local newspapers and then ran a photography business for several years (all while freelancing for the athletics department) before becoming a full-time Tech employee in 1995.
Education: Studied communications at Virginia Tech, class of 1985
Of Note: As part of the athletics communications team, Knachel has helped the staff win numerous CoSIDA awards for its publications.
Personal: Knachel was born in Austin, Texas, and as the son of an officer in the U.S. Navy and an elementary school teacher, he also lived in Georgia, San Diego, Boston, the Philippines, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Fairfax, Virginia, before heading south to Blacksburg in 1981 to attend Virginia Tech. Still an avid traveler, he has been to all 50 states and visited 23 countries.
Knachel was active in church groups, band and scouting growing up, earning Eagle Scout honors. He enjoyed playing baseball and was a four-year letterwinner in track and field at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, where he earned numerous medals in the pole vault, including placing in the Group AAA state meet as a senior. He enjoyed playing recreational sports until his aging body caught up with him, and still enjoys playing golf in his limited spare time.
A former longtime Special Olympics coach and area leader, he served a three-year term on the state board of directors for Special Olympics Virginia. He and his family attend Blue Ridge Church.
Knachel currently resides in Christiansburg, Virginia, with his wife, Kelly, who works in the Technology Office for Montgomery County Public Schools, and their children Seth and Macie.