UC's Whit Babcock to become Virginia Tech's new athletic director

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Whit Babcock, the athletic director at Cincinnati since October 2011, will be the new AD at Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger made the announcement Friday night. Babcock, 43, replaces Jim Weaver, who retired at the end of year because of health concerns.

Since taking over the AD post at Cincinnati, Babcock has overseen the start of an $86 million renovation and expansion of Nippert Stadium, the Bearcats' home football field, reinstated and enhanced scholarship funding to Olympic sports, and added men's indoor track and field.

"We are very pleased to welcome Whit back to Virginia," said Steger. "He has substantial experience managing large business enterprises and shown the ability to identify and attract talented coaches and staff. We are also impressed with his ability to engage and energize the fan base. We are extremely pleased to garner someone with his well-rounded experiences and talent."

"I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Jim Weaver and am grateful to Dr. Steger, Dr. Sands, and the search committee for this appointment," said Babcock. "I would like to also thank the University of Cincinnati community which has been so wonderful to me and my family. I certainly owe a debt of gratitude to the students, staff, coaches, and administration there. However, working for Virginia Tech is a unique and special opportunity - an opportunity to come home to Virginia and become part of the Hokie family is truly a dream come true. I am anxious to get started in Blacksburg and help build on Virginia Tech's success and upward trajectory."

A native Virginian, Babcock was born in Lynchburg and grew up in Harrisonsburg. He played baseball at James Madison University and graduated in 1992. He also received a master's degree in sports management from West Virginia University in 1996.

Raymond Smoot, former chief executive officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation chaired the search committee.

"We were pleased and impressed with the exceptionally able pool of candidates who expressed strong interest in this position," said Smoot. "We believe that is due, in part, to the respected program our university and athletic leadership have constructed over the last few decades. I am delighted that Whit will be joining Virginia Tech."

Babcock has worked at several major universities over his 20 year career. Prior to his appointment at Cincinnati, Babcock served as executive associate athletic director at University of Missouri where he oversaw all external relations and development operations for the department in addition to serving as sport administrator for the men's basketball program.

He also served previously in various athletic fundraising and marketing leadership roles at West Virginia University, Auburn University, and James Madison University.

Smoot said that while at Cincinnati, Babcock positioned the university for future success and embarked on a facilities expansion program and emphasizing student-athlete academic achievement while teams demonstrated strong success on the fields and courts of competition. His experiences straddle both athletics administration and fundraising.

His five year appointment is effective March 1. Babcock is married to the former Kelly Watts of Enterprise, Ala. They have three children: Andrew, age 13; Brett, age 10; and Eli, age 9.

The university will introduce Babcock to the university community at a news conference during the week of January 27, time and location to be determined.

FOX19's Jeremy Rauch will have further information on the FOX19 News at 10 p.m.

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