The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Virginia Tech rewards Athletic Director Whit Babcock with contract extension through 2024

Virginia Tech Athletic Director Whit Babcock built his reputation as an administrator on impressive coaching hires. (Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech)

In less than three years at Virginia Tech, Athletic Director Whit Babcock has made a name for himself orchestrating two of the splashiest coaching hires in school history in football Coach Justin Fuente and basketball Coach Buzz Williams. On Tuesday, Virginia Tech announced a contract extension that will keep its highly regarded athletic director in Blacksburg through the 2024 school year.

Terms of the new deal were not immediately available.

Babcock came to Virginia Tech from the University of Cincinnati in January 2014 and in his short tenure has shepherded the school’s biggest revenue-generating programs through major changes. Babcock also has overseen a reformatting of the athletic department’s fundraising arm, the Hokie Club.

“I am honored and humbled by the extension and the faith placed in us to keep the positive momentum going and we will do that,” Babcock said in a statement released Tuesday.

Babcock gained widespread acclaim for how he handled legendary football coach Frank Beamer’s retirement at the end of the 2015 season and successfully wooing rising star Justin Fuente from Memphis to take over the head coaching vacancy. That hire came less than two years after Babcock had earned praise for luring another hot coaching talent, Williams, away from Marquette in March 2014.

His hires have exceeded expectations so far. Under Fuente, Virginia Tech football has risen to No. 23 in the nation and is in position to win the ACC’s Coastal Division for the first time since 2011. Under Williams, Virginia Tech basketball had a 20-win season last year after  finishing last in the ACC for four straight seasons and got to the second round of the NIT.

Williams recently mentioned Babcock’s support as a critical component to Virginia Tech basketball’s rebuild.

“In athletics, it always starts with the AD and the President,” Williams said at ACC basketball media days in Charlotte last week. “If they are not aligned with what you’re gonna build and how you’re gonna build it and why you’re gonna build it, at some point it’s literally just gonna shrivel up, it’s just gonna fall apart. The wind’s gonna carry it away.”

Fuente also put out a statement Tuesday, citing the opportunity to work with Babcock as one of the things that made Virginia Tech so attractive.

A native Virginian who played baseball at James Madison, Babcock also hired Kenny Brooks to coach women’s basketball and John Sung to coach women’s lacrosse earlier this year.