Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Virginia Tech’s search committee would consist of three people. It will consist of 12 people. This version has been corrected.
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech’s athletic director since 1997, will resign effective Dec. 31 because of health concerns, he said Tuesday in a telephone interview.
Weaver, 68, has battled Parkinson’s disease since 2004, a diagnosis he revealed in 2006, and has had several back surgeries in recent years. He originally planned to retire when his contract expired on Dec. 31, 2015, but doctors revealed this summer he would need to replace both hips.
“My body has just told me it’s time to do it,” Weaver said. “I had the goal to go to the end of 2015, but it’s not possible because with the Parkinson’s and everything. . . . I just don’t think that I can travel like I need to be an active AD.”
Weaver said Sharon McCloskey, Virginia Tech’s longtime associate athletic director, will take over as athletic director on an interim basis. Outgoing school President Charles Steger and Weaver will also be a part of the 12-person committee that will lead a national search to identify Weaver’s successor.
Ray Smoot, the former chief executive officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation, the school’s fundraising arm, will be the committee’s chairman. Steger said the school hopes to name Weaver’s permanent successor by February and that the new president will be consulted on the hire.
Football Coach Frank Beamer said he would not be interested in becoming the school’s next athletic director, but would offer his thoughts to the appropriate people during the process.
“It’s always been good. I mean, I can’t ever think of a day, except when we were trying to do my contract, and he didn’t give me everything I wanted,” Beamer joked Tuesday when asked about his relationship with Weaver.
“He’s a guy that I think really has meant a lot to Virginia Tech,” he added. “Really done a great job and made a lot of good decisions and been really good to me. I’m gonna miss him, miss his leadership. . . . He’s just a tough guy. But he’s in a lot of pain right now, and I know he’s not sleeping very well and he’s having to tough it out right now.”
Weaver shepherded the Hokies from the Atlantic 10 to the Big East to the ACC. He also spearheaded several facility upgrades, including renovations to Lane Stadium and the building of a state-of-the-art basketball practice facility.
During his final years in office, Weaver helped negotiate home-and-home football series with Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, West Virginia and a 2016 game at Bristol Motor Speedway against Tennessee, a matchup that is expected to draw the largest crowd in college football history.
Last month, he was nominated for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
“We have been fortunate to have Jim’s strong leadership for more than 16 years at the athletics helm,” Steger said in a statement. “He has significantly expanded the program’s size and quality winning in competition and in the classroom. Financially, we are in very good condition. . . . I regret to see him leave this role. However, this is a demanding job. Jim’s health precludes him from maintaining the same commitment and devotion he has shown since arriving here in 1997.”
Weaver played center and linebacker and later served as an assistant coach under longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno. Before arriving at Virginia Tech, Weaver was athletic director at UNLV and Western Michigan.