December has arrived, which means the year that was 2021 is coming to a close.
But before it does, two new eras are beginning.
First and foremost, I have mostly completed the process of moving into a new apartment. Getting ready for and actually moving my belongings into my new place has taken up most of my free time over the last week-plus, which has led to my hiatus from DullesDistrict.com. Thankfully, Emperor Scarangella has held down the fort quite nicely with some engaging content.
And of little concern to anyone reading this, Virginia Tech settled on their next head coach — former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry.
Pry has spent the last week doing many things, perhaps being even more busy than I have been. He’s attended two Virginia Tech basketball games, met with most of the Virginia Tech athletic department, held a press conference, taken at least one trip back to State College, Pa. and started recruiting players to his new home.
Along with my busy schedule, I also wanted to take a couple of days before I gave my initial reaction to Pry’s hire. I was a bit confused at first — one of Whit Babcock’s biggest criteria for Justin Fuente’s replacement was that the candidate had to have head coaching experience. Pry has none, though his resume is certainly worthy of the job.
As I listened to Pry’s press conference and the other public appearances he’s made, I became convinced that Babcock couldn’t have found a better fit for the position.
It helps that Pry’s background helped to groom him for this moment. Pry worked as a graduate assistant with Frank Beamer, Bud Foster and Co. back in 1995, which just so happened to be the year JC Price and the Hokies earned a landmark Sugar Bowl win. Pry gritted his teeth for the next decade-plus before landing at Penn State with his old boss James Franklin.
In Happy Valley, Pry’s defenses were outstanding. He recruited and developed players, a critical combo when it comes to college football.
Pry’s demeanor makes him uniquely fit for the role as well. He’s a proud, charismatic individual that thinks about what he wants to say and how it will be perceived. Pry takes full pauses before answering questions, something that any professional communicator can appreciate. Immediacy is not as important as effectiveness.
The new era of Virginia Tech football is going to feel a lot like the good ole days. The Hokies’ identity will be centered around defense. Tech is going to focus on recruiting closer to home, emphasizing the Commonwealth. It’s the Beamer blueprint, just with a few updates.
While the Hokies remake their football program, Virginia is reeling from Bronco Mendenhall’s shocking resignation. Miami just conducted a coaching search before firing Manny Diaz, only to land a coach who’s team got shellacked by Utah in the PAC-12 title game. LSU and USC have made splash hires and Dabo Swinney might lose both of his longtime coordinators at Clemson.
Everywhere you look across college football there are new beginnings. Virginia Tech is among those seeking a refresh. As am I.
So while Pry works on getting settled in, I’m going to work on settling into my new digs as well. I’ve got plates and cups that need to go in cabinets and a closet that needs to be organized.
Here’s to a successful fresh start.