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It's A Great Plan, But Now The Real Work Starts...

Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last three years is that a plan without execution is just a dream. Dreams are fleeting and fragile.

You have to do the hard work necessary to make it a reality.

There’s a lot of hard work on the horizon for Virginia Tech, who announced an ambitious capital campaign that includes $400 million in fundraising over an eight-year period for various investments in the athletic department. The Reach for Excellence campaign outlines significant boosts to the football staffing budget, a massive renovation to Cassell Coliseum and numerous investments into other sports.

The end goals look good. Tech is shooting for a $30 million “football enhancement fund” that will aim to make it easier for the Hokies to hire better coaches and more lower-level assistants, among other things. Virginia Tech is also planning various investments into their non-revenue sports, helping with facility upgrades and enhanced nutritional support for athletes.

Don’t forget the headliner of it all — a $50 million renovation project that will modernize and revamp Cassell Coliseum into one of the nicest and most unique venues in college athletics.

Now none of these plans are necessarily brand-new — Virginia Tech has been talking about increasing the football program’s budget for years and the Cassell renovations have been in the works for just as long. But this is the first time it’s all been laid out and shared with the fanbase in a detailed way.

That’s cause for excitement.

If Virginia Tech follows through on this plan, it will vault the Hokies into a much more competitive realm in terms of finances. Reaching the $50 million per year average goal would raise Tech’s fundraising by almost $20 million per year. Tech will likely never play with Alabama and Ohio State on the balance sheet, but the Hokies have shown the ability to compete with them on the field from time to time.

But you can only play from behind so often before you never catch up.

Unfortunately, the plan itself doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s up to the people who orchestrated this whole thing to make it happen. Whit Babcock has to go above and beyond anything he’s done as Virginia Tech’s athletic director. Justin Fuente must travel further outside his comfort zone and embrace his role as Tech’s football ambassador. Virginia Tech’s Hokie Club staff need to give all they’ve got, and then give a little more.

I would've liked to have heard some specific details regarding how Tech is going to make this happen, but those weren't made available.

This is an extensive project that, when you include the planning time, will take 10 or so years to complete. Virginia Tech didn’t map this out overnight and they sure as hell aren’t going to finish it overnight either. They’ll need to make serious, consistent progress to ensure this gets done.

I look forward to seeing how this plays out. Tech’s Reach for Excellence campaign is aggressive and challenging and exhibits the kind of bold thinking necessary to make up ground in the world of college athletics. Those in power will need to exercise just as much effort as they did in the planning phase, if not more, to get this across the finish line.



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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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