Virginia Tech Hokies football

Virginia Tech Hokies
2016 Virginia Tech Hokies football team
First season 1892
Athletic director Whit Babcock
Head coach Justin Fuente
1st year, 93 (.750)
Stadium Lane Stadium
Seating capacity 65,632[1]
Field surface Bermuda Grass
Conference ACC
Division Coastal
All-time record 71545146 (.609)
Bowl record 1217 (.414)
Conference titles 10
Consensus All-Americans 8
Current uniform
Colors Chicago Maroon and Burnt Orange[2]
Fight song Tech Triumph
Mascot Hokie Bird, Gobbler
Marching band The Marching Virginians
Outfitter Nike
Rivals Virginia Cavaliers
Miami Hurricanes
Boston College Eagles
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
West Virginia Mountaineers

The Virginia Tech Hokies football team; represents Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the sport of American football. The Hokies compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. They previously competed in the Big East. Their home games are played at Lane Stadium, located in Blacksburg, Virginia with a seating capacity of over 65,000 fans. Lane Stadium is considered to be one of the loudest stadiums in the country, being voted number one in ESPN's "Top 20 Scariest Places to Play". Also, it was recognized in 2005 by as having the best home-field advantage in the country. It is currently the 31st largest stadium in college football.[3]

The Hokies currently have the longest official bowl game streak in the country, having participated in the postseason every year since 1993. Florida State has a longer current streak, but due to NCAA sanctions, officially, FSU's streak ended in 2006. In 121 seasons, the Hokies have won over 700 games, appeared in 29 bowl games and played in the 2000 BCS National Championship. The program has also claimed ten conference titles (2 South Atlantic, 1 Southern, 3 Big East & 4 ACC ) and produced eight All-Americans.[4][5]


Early years (1892–1911)

Virginia Tech's inaugural football team in 1892.

Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Tech) first played football on October 21, 1892 against St. Albans Lutheran Boys School (Radford, Virginia). The game took place on a plowed off wheat field that was "about as level as a side of Brush Mountain".[6] The Hokies won their first game 14–10, but were defeated 10–0 eight days later on a return trip to Radford.[7] The first several VAMC teams wore cadet gray and black, but in 1896 the colors were changed to Burnt Orange and Chicago Maroon – a color combination that was unique among educational institutions at the time.

The 1899, 1901, and 1903 teams lost only to rival Virginia. Star player Hunter Carpenter returned to Virginia Tech in 1905, after a year at the University of North Carolina, for a last shot at beating Virginia. Carpenter helped lead VPI to a 9–1 record, the best in school's history up to that time. He was never named to the All-America team only because Walter Camp, who named the team at the time, said he would never name a player who he had not seen play.

The 1909 team claim a southern championship. This is the first season the team was referred to in print as the "Gobblers", which became the official nickname in 1912.[8]

SAIAA years (1912–1921)

At the end of the 1911 season, VPI joined the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SAIAA). They won the conference in 1916 and 1918. After 1921, the SAIAA was dissolved and six of its schools became founding members of the Southern Conference.

SoCon years (1922–1963)

From 1925 to 1928, Tech was led by Frank Peake and the "Pony Express" backfield. He was joined by Scotty MacArthur, Herbert "Mac" McEver and Tommy Tomko.[9] In 1927, during a 6 to 0 upset of the Colgate Red Raiders in New York, Peake ran for nearly 200 yards and scored the game's only points. During one three-game stretch, he accumulated rushing and return yardage of 306, 314 and 353 yards. He was credited with gaining 1,761 yards in eight games. 930 were from scrimmage, and 831 on punts and kickoffs.[10] In 1928 the game against Virginia he came off the sideline with an injured hip to return a punt for a touchdown.[9]

In 1932, Tech upset Georgia 7–6.[11] Bill Grinus blocked the tying extra point.[12]

Virginia Tech's first post-season bowl appearance was in the 1947 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas against the University of Cincinnati.[13] Tech had a 3–3–3 record that year, and was the third choice after Border Conference champions Hardin–Simmons University and runner-up Texas Tech Red Raiders both declined the bowl invitation.[14] Tech lost that game 18–6.

Another first for the Gobblers came in 1954 when they had their first, and only, unbeaten season in school history. The team was 8–0–1 and finished ranked 16th in the Associated Press post-season football poll.[15] The team's lone blemish was a 7–7 tie against William & Mary in Blacksburg, Virginia. Despite the team's success, it did not appear in a post-season bowl game. The 1963 team captured Tech's only outright SoCon championship.[11]

Independent years (1964–1990)

In the 1970s, Tech briefly adopted an aggressive passing offense under head coach Charlie Coffey; quarterback Don Strock set virtually every passing record in the Hokies' book and would hold many for thirty years or more. Success, though, remained elusive. In the early 1980s, football coach and athletic director Bill Dooley spearheaded a campaign for a new look and name for the mascot, which debuted at the 1981 football game against Wake Forest. The turkey-like figure was referred to as "the Hokie mascot", "the Hokie", and "the Hokie bird" (derived from the "Old Hokie" cheer), which resulted in changing the official designation of the Virginia Tech mascot to the Hokies.

Dooley led the Hokies to the program's first-ever bowl win, in the 1986 Peach Bowl over NC State, but he also earned the program NCAA sanctions that led to his resignation that very offseason (after which he promptly sued the school). Though many hoped for recently departed Maryland coach Bobby Ross, athletic director Dutch Baughman turned to Hokie alumnus and defensive back from 1966 to 1968, Frank Beamer. Beamer had worked his way up the assistant coaching ladder since his 1969 graduation before spending six seasons in the head job at Murray State. Among the assistants Beamer brought with him from the Racers was linebackers coach Bud Foster, who had joined Beamer's first Murray State staff as a graduate assistant immediately upon his own graduation there.

Big East years (1991–2003)

Virginia Tech joined the Big East Conference for football play in 1991 (later joined for all sports in 2000).

The 13th ranked Hokies defeated the 9th ranked Texas Longhorns in the 1995 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Virginia Tech's most successful football season was in 1999. The Hokies, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Vick went 11–0 through the regular season. On November 3, the Hokies came from behind to win over the West Virginia Mountaineers when Vick led a desperate last minute drive that culminated in a dramatic Shayne Graham game winning field goal. The 22–20 victory has since become known as the "Miracle in Morgantown."[16]

On January 4, 2000, the Hokies faced the Florida State Seminoles in the 2000 Sugar Bowl for the national championship. A back and forth game, the Hokies trailed 28–7 late in the second quarter but came back to take a 29–28 lead at the start of the fourth. However, they were not able to hold on and the Seminoles won 46–29.

The following season, in 2000, the Hokies were again contenders for the national championship, but a loss to #3 Miami in early November, in a game in which Michael Vick was limited because of an injury, cost them a trip to the Orange Bowl. The Hokies later went on to defeat the Clemson Tigers 41–20 in the 2001 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.

Early ACC Years

At the start of the 2004 season, the Hokies faced the #1 and eventual national champion USC Trojans in the BCA Classic played at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The Hokies kept the game close, but eventually lost 24–13. The regular season ended with the Hokies winning the ACC championship in their first year in the conference and a return to the Sugar Bowl and a match-up with the Auburn Tigers. Auburn, the SEC champion and one of three undefeated teams (USC and Oklahoma being the other two), took a 16–0 lead into the fourth quarter. Led by senior quarterback Bryan Randall, the Hokies scored 13 points but fell just short of the comeback when the Tigers recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.

The 2005 season saw many ups and downs, but would end in disappointment. Taking over for Bryan Randall was Marcus Vick, younger brother of Hokies great Michael Vick. The Hokies started off the season 8–0, including victories over West Virginia and ACC rivals Georgia Tech and Boston College. Going into the tenth week of the season, the Hokies were ranked 3rd in the country behind USC and Texas and would face the 5th ranked Miami Hurricanes at home. In anticipation of the match-up, ESPN's College Gameday would broadcast the game nationally from Blacksburg on ESPN. The Hurricanes controlled the game and limited Marcus Vick to only 90 yards passing to win 27–7.

Marcus Vick led the Hokies and went on to win the ACC Coastal Division title, but lost in the ACC Championship Game to Florida State. The Hokies again trailed the Seminoles by double digits at halftime, 27–3, but a Vick led comeback brought the score to 27–22 with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter. The Hokies were unable to recover the onside kick and lost their chance at a BCS Bowl berth.

The Hokies closed the season against the upstart Louisville Cardinals in the 2006 Gator Bowl. Virginia Tech won 35–24, but the game would become infamous for a play that would contribute to Vick's expulsion from the team. Late in the first half, with the Hokies trailing 17–10, Vick was tackled by Cardinals defensive end Elvis Dumervil. After the play, Vick stomped on Dumervil's leg, apparently out of anger. Four days after the game, Virginia Tech officials learned of two misdemeanor charges of speeding and driving on a suspended or revoked driver's license that Vick received on December 17, 2005. Vick, who was forced to sit out the 2004 football season by the university due to previous legal incidents in his college career, was dismissed from the team on January 6, 2006, with the university citing "a cumulative effect of legal infractions and unsportsmanlike play.".[17]

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sean Glennon was set to take over for Vick in the 2006 season. Although consecutive losses to Georgia Tech and Boston College knocked the Hokies out of contention for the ACC Championship Game, the Tech team finished the season strong, winning six in a row and being invited to the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. In the annual ACC vs SEC match-up, the Hokies played the Georgia Bulldogs. At halftime the Hokies led 21–3, but four second half Glennon turnovers helped the Bulldogs in coming back and winning 31–24.

The final scoreboard of the 2007 ACC Championship Game records the 30–16 score and congratulates Virginia Tech on its victory.

After the April 2007 Virginia Tech shootings that stunned the campus and nation, the remainder of Tech's spring practice was canceled. The Hokies, led by running back Brandon Ore on offense and linebackers Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi looked to be in contention for a berth in the National Championship. The 2007 home opener against the East Carolina Pirates was the subject of College GameDay, and the Hokies prevailed in an emotional, albeit shaky, game 17–7. They then traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to play the LSU Tigers. In a game that saw Glennon replaced by true freshman quarterback Tyrod Taylor, the Hokies were completely dominated, only managing 149 total yards against the Tigers' 598. Taylor scored the only touchdown of the night after an 8-play, 65-yard drive.

Taylor continued to start until an injury removed him from a 43–14 blowout of Duke. In a Thursday night match-up with Boston College, Glennon reclaimed his starting position. In a game plagued by rain storms and wet conditions, the Hokies took a 10–0 lead late into the fourth quarter. However, Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan spurred a late Boston College comeback, leading two TD drives in the final five minutes for a 14–10 win. Despite the devastating loss, Virginia Tech rebounded to win the remainder of its regular season games and claim the Coastal Division crown. A rematch with Boston College in the ACC Championship Game saw Tech fall behind early, tie the game by halftime, and then grind out a tense 30–16 win to advance to the Orange Bowl in Miami.

After twenty-nine seasons as head coach of Virginia Tech, legendary coach Frank Beamer retired following the conclusion of the 2015 season. He coached the Hokies to 23 consecutive postseason games, a national championship appearance and seven conference championship titles. Beamer now serves on the staff of the Virginia Tech athletic director.

Justin Fuente era

Memphis Head Coach Justin Fuente was named head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies following the retirement of legendary coach Frank Beamer. The Hokies finished 9-3 in Fuente's first season as head coach and won their sixth Coastal Division title. They will face Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

Hokies defense


Beamer takes the field with the 2007 Virginia Tech Hokies football team

During Beamer's tenure at Virginia Tech, putting points on the scoreboard has become a full team effort with the offensive, defensive and special teams units. Often when the team scores one or more non-offensive touchdowns, the style of play is described as "Beamerball". Since Beamer's first season in 1987, a player at every position on the defensive unit has scored at least one touchdown, and 35 different players have scored touchdowns on Virginia Tech's special teams.[18]

Lunch pail defense

Sometime before the 1995 season, defensive coordinator Bud Foster wanted to give his defense something to rally around, an identity. A battered metal lunch pail was chosen as a symbol of a no-name, blue-collar defense. Each week a list of goals in put in the lunch pail and a player is chosen to have the honor of carrying the lunch pail onto the sidelines.[19][20][21] The Lunch Pail Defense Foundation was founded to fund academic scholarships for students from the area near Blacksburg, Virginia.[22]

Current coaching staff

Name Position
Justin Fuente Head Coach
Zohn Burden Running Backs Coach
Brad Cornelsen Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Bud Foster Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Brian Mitchell Cornerbacks Coach
Galen Scott Assistant Head Coach/Safeties Coach
James Shibest Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach
Vance Vice Offensive Line Coach
Holmon Wiggins Wide Receivers Coach
Charley Wiles Defensive Line Coach


Conference championships

Conference Affiliations

The 1905 team, though independent, went 9–1 and lost its only game to northern Navy. It won all its southern games and scored a victory over Army and therefore claims a Southern championship.

Year Conference Overall Record Conference Record
1916 South Atlantic 7–2 4–0
1918 South Atlantic 7–0 4–0
1963 Southern 8–2 5–0
1995† Big East 10–2 6–1
1996† Big East 10–2 6–1
1999 Big East 11–1 7–0
2004 ACC 10–3 7–1
2007* ACC 11–3 8–1
2008* ACC 10–4 6–3
2010* ACC 11–2 9–0
Total conference championships 10
† Denotes co-champions * Conference record includes conference championship game

Divisional championships

Virginia Tech has appeared in the ACC Championship Game as the winner of the Coastal Division six times. The 2004 team entered the inaugural ACC championship game as heavy favorites and went on to become the Atlantic Division winner. In 2005, Virginia Tech again became coastal champs, but was defeated in the ACC Championship by Florida State. During the 2007 season, the Hokies once again took the Coastal division to set up a rematch of their earlier loss to Boston College. Virginia Tech prevailed 30–16. History repeated itself in 2008, when the Hokies defeated Boston College by a score of 30–12 after having lost to the Eagles during the regular season. In 2010 Virginia Tech went undefeated in league play, defeating Atlantic Division winner Florida State in the league championship game in Charlotte, North Carolina, 44–33. In 2011 Virginia Tech lost to Clemson for a 2nd time that season, their only two season losses.

Year Division Championship ACC CG Result Opponent PF PA
2005 ACC Coastal L Florida State 22 27
2007 ACC Coastal W Boston College 30 16
2008 ACC Coastal W Boston College 30 12
2010 ACC Coastal W Florida State 44 33
2011 ACC Coastal L Clemson 10 38
2016 ACC Coastal L Clemson 35 42
Totals 6 3–3 171 168

Bowl games

Virginia Tech has played in 29 bowl games. The Hokies have appeared in several Gator, Peach, Sugar, and Orange Bowls. Their overall record in bowl games is 12–17.

# Season Bowl game Result Opponent Stadium Location Attendance
1 1946 1947 Sun Bowl L 18–6 Cincinnati Bearcats Kidd Field El Paso, Texas 10,000
2 1966 1966 Liberty Bowl L 14–7 Miami Hurricanes Memphis Memorial Stadium Memphis, Tennessee 39,101‡
3 1968 1968 Liberty Bowl L 34–17 Ole Miss Rebels Memphis Memorial Stadium Memphis, Tennessee 46,206‡
4 1980 1981 Peach Bowl L 20–10 Miami Hurricanes Fulton County Stadium Atlanta 45,384
5 1984 1984 Independence Bowl L 23–7 Air Force Falcons Independence Stadium Shreveport, Louisiana 41,100
6 1986 1986 Peach Bowl W 25–24 North Carolina State Wolfpack Fulton County Stadium Atlanta, Georgia 53,668
7 1993 1993 Independence Bowl W 45–20 Indiana Hoosiers Independence Stadium Shreveport, Louisiana 33,819
8 1994 1994 Gator Bowl L 45–23 Tennessee Volunteers Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Gainesville, Florida 62,200
9 1995 1995 Sugar Bowl W 28–10 Texas Longhorns Louisiana Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana 70,283
10 1996 1996 Orange Bowl L 41–21 Nebraska Cornhuskers Pro Player Stadium Miami Gardens, Florida 51,212
11 1997 1998 Gator Bowl L 42–3 North Carolina Tar Heels Alltel Stadium Jacksonville, Florida 54,116
12 1998 1998 Music City Bowl W 38–7 Alabama Crimson Tide Vanderbilt Stadium Nashville, Tennessee 41,600‡
13 1999 2000 Sugar Bowl L 46–29 Florida State Seminoles Louisiana Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana 79,280
14 2000 2001 Gator Bowl W 41–20 Clemson Tigers Alltel Stadium Jacksonville, Florida 68,741
15 2001 2002 Gator Bowl L 30–17 Florida State Seminoles Alltel Stadium Jacksonville, Florida 72,202
16 2002 2002 San Francisco Bowl W 20–13 Air Force Falcons Pacific Bell Park San Francisco 25,966‡
17 2003 2003 Insight Bowl L 52–49 California Golden Bears Bank One Ballpark Phoenix, Arizona 42,364
18 2004 2005 Sugar Bowl L 16–13 Auburn Tigers Louisiana Superdome New Orleans 77,349
19 2005 2006 Gator Bowl W 35–24 Louisville Cardinals Alltel Stadium Jacksonville, Florida 63,780
20 2006 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl L 31–24 Georgia Bulldogs Georgia Dome Atlanta, Georgia 75,406
21 2007 2008 Orange Bowl L 24–21 Kansas Jayhawks Pro Player Stadium Miami Gardens, Florida 74,111
22 2008 2009 Orange Bowl W 20–7 Cincinnati Bearcats Pro Player Stadium Miami Gardens, Florida 57,821
23 2009 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl W 37–14 Tennessee Volunteers Georgia Dome Atlanta, Georgia 73,777
24 2010 2011 Orange Bowl L 40–12 Stanford Cardinal Sun Life Stadium Miami Gardens, Florida 65,453
25 2011 2012 Sugar Bowl L 23–20 (OT) Michigan Wolverines Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana 64,512
26 2012 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl W 13–10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium Orlando, Florida 48,127
27 2013 2013 Sun Bowl L 42–12 UCLA Bruins Sun Bowl Stadium El Paso, Texas 47,912
28 2014 2014 Military Bowl W 33–17 Cincinnati Bearcats Memorial Stadium Annapolis, Maryland 34,277
29 2015 2015 Independence Bowl W 55–52 Tulsa Golden Hurricane Independence Stadium Shreveport, Louisiana 31,289
30 2016 2016 Belk Bowl n/a Arkansas Razorbacks Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, North Carolina n/a

Rivalry trophy games

Individual award winners


Sammy Baugh Trophy (quarterback)
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defense)
Dave Rimington Trophy (center)
Lombardi Award (lineman or linebacker)
Outland Trophy (interior lineman)


Paul "Bear" Bryant Award
George Munger Award
Joseph V. Paterno Award
Broyles Award (assistant coaches)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award

First overall selections in the NFL Draft

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of January 13, 2015

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
vs Liberty vs West Virginia (Landover, Maryland) vs William & Mary at Notre Dame vs Liberty vs Richmond at Old Dominion vs Purdue at Old Dominion vs Old Dominion
vs Tennessee (at Bristol Motor Speedway) vs Old Dominion at Old Dominion vs Old Dominion vs East Carolina vs Michigan vs East Carolina at East Carolina vs East Carolina at Penn State
vs East Carolina vs Delaware vs East Carolina vs Furman vs Penn State at West Virginia vs West Virginia vs Old Dominion at Wisconsin vs Wisconsin
at Notre Dame at East Carolina vs Notre Dame at East Carolina at Michigan vs Notre Dame at Rutgers vs Rutgers at East Carolina


Further reading

  • Beamer, Frank and Colston, Chris. Turn up the Wick. 223 pages. Epic Sports: 2000. ISBN 1-928846-32-7.
  • Easterbrook, Gregg. The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America. 354 pages. St. Martin's: 2013. ISBN 978-1-250-01171-8.
  • Schlabach, Mark. What it Means to be a Hokie. 272 pages. Triumph Books: 2006. ISBN 1-57243-851-7.


  1. "Football :: Lane Stadium/Worsham Field". Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  2. "The Brand Guide: Virginia Tech Identity Standards and Style Guide" (PDF). Virginia Tech. 2015-02-01. p. 10. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  3. Lavender, David (2005-08-21). "No place like home". Retrieved 2006-07-01.
  6. Pieper, Lindsay (2006-09-02). "From wheat to Worsham: The history of Lane". Collegiate Times. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
  7. "Virginia Tech Football Past Schedules – 1892". Retrieved 2007-07-28.
  8. "What is a Hokie?". University Relations, Virginia Tech. 2006.
  9. 1 2 "From The Beginning ... To The Beamer Era".
  10. "Records Show Peake Leader". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. December 2, 1927.
  11. 1 2
  13. "Football". 1947-01-01. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  14. Colston, Chris. Tales from the Virginia Tech Sidelines. Sports Publishing LLC, 2003. Page 26.
  15. "Football :: Schedule". Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  16. "Virginia Tech Hokies Football, Basketball, and Recruiting". 2014-08-20. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  17. Schlabach, Mark (2006-11-07). "Virginia Tech Sacks Vick". The Washington Post.
  18. "2011 VT Football Game Notes"
  23. "Virginia Tech Hokies Football Schedules and Future Schedules". Retrieved 2014-08-06.

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