The Megan Duffy Era Of Women’s Basketball Gets Off To Impressive Start


You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and for Virginia Tech, Whit Babcock and Megan Duffy, they made the most of the opportunity Friday morning.

In a press conference announcing the new women’s basketball head coach, Babcock and Duffy hit all the right notes you’d want to hear with a new coach, from background, experience, hopes for the future, etc. But there was one area they both went back to repeatedly that should be a gigantic jar of salve for the wounds Hokie Nation collectively felt when the previous coach left for Kentucky without as much as a goodbye or acknowledgement for their contributions as fans.

On social media, many fans were like a jilted ex, exclaiming “you wouldn’t have those fancy clothes, nice car and good job if It wasn’t for me,” not to mention another oft-mentioned theme of “without the fans, none of this happens and I will NOT be ignored.”

I mean, it was at times like one of those cable channels my wife watches where some man did some woman wrong and now he had to die because of it.

Whit addressed it almost instantly by saying the energy and enthusiasm of the fans made a difference in the search, explaining it elevated the position. I took that as a fancy way of saying “people see your passion and they wanted this job to be a part of it.”

Whit’s not all that comfortable in press conference situations, so he read just about all his remarks. But make no mistake, this wasn’t a comment just made in passing. He came back to it at least a half a dozen times and it was heartfelt. It was genuine.

Megan clearly communicated she had known about what a great place Blacksburg was to play and coach women’s basketball, and that she had prepared herself years ago to go after the job if it ever came open. She noted what we all had come to know ourselves: as women’s basketball grows, the size and energy of a bigger and bigger crowd changes the game. It goes from just two teams playing to “I need to be there.”

But it was one line she stated that really impressed me. She said she saw that students had embraced the team and that players just going to class were treated like “little rock stars” and it exceeds anything she’d seen at any other institution she had worked at.

Imagine being a recruit reading about a place with a young new head coach who was a player herself, and that if you became a student there you’d be treated like a “little rock star.”

My first thought may be “where do I sign?”

Questions about player retention, transfer portal signings, etc. never got asked, but at least for this first press conference, everything needed for a great first impression was said. And midway through it all, Megan ended up saying what everyone wanted to hear.

The former coach never said goodbye or thanked fans for their contribution, but Megan stepped up and thanked HIM anyway. She thanked him for all he did to build the program, and congratulated not only him, but all the players and assistants with him for the incredible job they did to get the program to the state it is in today.

Classy. The right words for the right moment. The things a leader says.

Now the work starts as there are holes in the roster that need to be filled, and it won’t be easy. But Friday morning I was looking to hear from a leader who was happy to be in Blacksburg, could sell the program as passionately as the fans who follow it, and seemed to be one of us.

I did.

Welcome home, Megan.


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