It’s been a crazy 24 hours on the Whit Babcock front. First it was reported that he had applied to the open Virginia Tech athletic director position. Then this morning many in the Cincinnati media refuted that. But now it looks like Babcock is very much out the door.
— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) January 24, 2014
Well that just ruined my weekend. To be clear, I think the draw of Virginia Tech is what has pulled Babcock away moreso than what UC isn’t able to give him. Cincinnati is a solid job for sure, but the allure of Blacksburg was probably too much for the burgeoning AD to turn away. Those aspects include:
- More money to work with at Virginia Tech ($70 million in annual revenues there vs. $49 million at Cincinnati)
- More power being at a school with membership in the Power 5 conferences
- An extremely stable athletic department with a wealth of supporters
- A position extremely close to his hometown of Harrisonburg, Virginia
Initially this is a shot in the gut for a UC program still on the outside looking in. Whit Babcock had the drive and the demeanor to move the mountains that stood in the way of Bearcats athletics finally realizing political and financial stability. The quick reaction is to assume that Cincinnati is relegated to the dark ages because of this upheaval in the athletic department. That assumption couldn’t be more wrong and it’s that kind of negativity that UC can’t afford right now. President Ono’s next hire might be his most critical yet.
We’ll have more on this over the next several hours and days but for now I can’t help but thank Babcock for all that he did in his short time here. He tackled the seemingly impossible task of renovating Nippert Stadium. He hired a legendary head coach in Tommy Tuberville to lead the football program. He demanded greatness out of the baseball program by firing longtime but mediocre coach Brian Cleary and hiring an up-and-coming skipper in Ty Neal. Finally, he balanced the budget and restored scholarships to sports across UC athletics. The kind of sweeping improvements Babcock made at Cincinnati are remarkable and will forever help UC ascend to bigger and better things.
So I wish the best of luck to you at Virginia Tech, Whit Babcock. The marks you left on this school can be seen everywhere.