Mom and Pop

"Do you want to publish this?" "If you deem it publishable".

[Cory Hancock]

Publisher's Note: furrer4heisman emailed this piece to me last night.

I used to work for a non-profit organization. It had a very small number of full-time employees that answered to a board of directors as we worked together to help people and raise enough money so that we could both help those people and still have jobs.

When I came on board the charity was about 15 years old. The members of the board were all veteran members and most of them had been there since the charity was founded. They had a way they liked to do things and change was a very slow process.

A couple of years into my tenure we started to get very backlogged. The number of people who needed assistance was outpacing donations. Word was getting out that we existed and could help, but the necessary funds weren't coming in as quickly. Every day I'd take a call from someone desperate for our assistance and have to hear the silence on the phone when I told them how many months it would be before we could approve it.

This convinced the board that we needed a professional fundraiser. Not just someone who could get on the phone and drum up individual donations, but someone who knew how to write grant requests and had connections with foundations that could result in the kind of funds that could truly make a difference.

The person we brought on was sharp and had a long career working with a variety of non-profits. They knew their stuff but also brought a very different point of view of how charities are run and what makes them an attractive recipient of funding.

Some of their suggestions were easy to implement, but a few were more difficult to get the board on board with. Particularly when it came to the board itself. This all came to a head when the entire staff and board met for a seminar with the head of one of the larger foundations in the area.

What that person told us was very blunt: "You are not a professional board. You are a mom-and-pop board."

What he meant was the structure of our board of directors didn't meet the standards required to receive grants from his foundation (and others). Board members didn't cycle, and there weren't rules in place for how board members came on and off.

Everyone on the board genuinely loved the organization but they weren't willing to say goodbye unless it was on their terms. They were all friends, they all loved being on the board and they didn't want to change what they had, even if it meant giving our organization a lower ceiling.

Someday Justin Fuente isn't going to be Virginia Tech's football coach anymore. That day could have been Thursday, but instead that morning he and his staff put on their best pair of team-issued sweats, put in massive dips and got back to work in Jamerson Athletic Center. Or at least took a picture that made it look like that. Either way.

Fuente's eventual departure, whether to a school offering more money or because he is fired, will mark the day Virginia Tech's athletics department enters the modern era. Because his departure will mean one of two things: Either we lost a football coach because we couldn't match what another school could offer him or we have to convince a coach with a solid resume to come to Blacksburg and clean up his mess.

The third and most desirable option, that Fuente retires as Virginia Tech's head coach in 2037 with two national titles and street named after him, probably isn't going to happen.

The reason the day of Fuente's departure will steward the Hokies into modern college football is because of the nature of Frank Beamer's 29 seasons at Virginia Tech. When Frank came back to Blacksburg, not only were the Hokies a football afterthought, but college football and athletic departments as a whole were in the middle of undergoing a drastic change.

It was only two years before Frank became head coach that NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma et al finally freed college football and set it up to become the big business it is today. Before that ruling, the NCAA only allowed one football game per week to be televised. One. Per. Week. Until 1984.

Before the full effect of that ruling could be felt across college athletics, Virginia Tech found a coach that would spend nearly three decades as the face of the department. And it wasn't just that Frank brought the Hokies to greater heights than they'd ever seen, it was the way he did it.

With Frank at the helm, the program was ours, not his. He won and did it in a way that really harkened back to an older era. And because he won, built, won some more and kept building we never really felt the need to abandon our old school ways.

Season ticket holders didn't have to pony up to keep their seats. There wasn't a sense of urgency to get an indoor facility built or renovate our offices and facilities. Those things did happen, eventually, but happened well after they should have for a program of the stature Virginia Tech fans fancied themselves.

The winning came without the giving so why should we feel like it should ever be otherwise?

Virginia Tech is a solid football program. It's a Top 20-40 program most seasons. That means you typically win 8 to 10 games and that's where Tech is. And the athletic department (and by extension Hokie Club) is a solid athletic department that does a solid job of raising money. Tech is currently 40th in expenses according to the last USA Today report (among public institutions). We get what we pay for.

In college football's era of truly big business with big budgets and big TV revenues, Virginia Tech has never had to look in the mirror and ask what we really want this to be. Frank made it look easy for the better part of 29 seasons and the hiring of an on-the-rise head coach that was a "cultural fit" seemed too easy as well.

So what will happen when Virginia Tech eventually loses a coach to a program that not only wants to be a Top 4 program, but fundraises and spends like it or when VT has to hit the reset button on the leader of its program?

It's possible the fanbase will realize that part of desiring a championship football program means taking that next step and having professional-level fundraising. It's possible the fanbase will give up on its championship aspirations and be comfortable with having the solid program that comes with having a solid athletic department. Or it's possible the fanbase becomes disaffected with the entire concept of intercollegiate athletics with professional athletic departments and attendance, donations and TV ratings tank.

All are possible and honestly there is no wrong answer among those three for any individual. But if you want a team that makes the playoff regularly considering the current state of Virginia Tech's revenue and expenditures, then I genuinely don't know what to tell you. If you're in that category then you're honestly better off taking door #3.

But for now, we are all stuck with each other. Fuente is stuck with the Virginia Tech fanbase and athletic department and we're stuck with him. I'm sure he'd like to see more from Hokie fans in terms of monetary backing of the program just like the fans would like to see him not lose at home to Duke by 35 or not lose to UVA by any amount.

We're stuck with each other until one day when we won't be. And when that day comes we'll finally see whether Virginia Tech is going to raise its ceiling in college football's modern era.

(P.S. – Pay the players.)

Comments

Is this the official opinion of TKP? /s

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

He doesn't have "staff" next to his name, so no. /s

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

I need to turn this site off and never look back.

Love you Joe!

El. Psy. Kongroo.

There is a lot of sarcasm on this site. You need to just laugh and continue the great work you are doing.

Doesn't matter if it's cake or pie as long as it's chocolate.

The sarcasm keeps us sane.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

Yeeaah Right!

Sorry, man.

It was a joke that had to be made, though.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

I made some bad assumptions about people with the staff logo being paid for their contributions and about the idea that anything posted on the front page of TKP was meant to represent its position to potential subscribers and other readers. I'm still not sure the second one is a horrible assumption but I get that there isn't one unified "TKP perspective" among its staff. I'll own my poor assumptions and move on.

I don't think your assumptions were poor. The front page is curated by Joe. If something is published there by TKP Staff why wouldn't we assume that it's TKP's official position?

Proud author of one plaid comment.

like, say, @thekeyplay on twitter?

/ducks and runs

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Aims -1,000,000 down-leg cannon...

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Please, not again...

I was 99% sarcastic, but the other 1% is pure burnout. I appreciate your comment, but the incident you referenced was very minor. You summed it up well though, there isn't a single overall stance / perspective among various topics.

I downvoted this because you sound tired.

Leonard. Duh.

Nah, this community is unique, fun, and informative. Things are heated right now but ultimately we all want the same thing.

Proud author of one plaid comment.

Agree, but it's a pain in the ass to run and underfunded.

Like the VT Athletic Department?

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

I wouldn't surprise me if there was some correlation there.

You should leak it to Twitter that you are thinking about leaving TKP and setting up a website for Baylor football fans./s

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Of course there is a correlation!

It's amazing to me that at the time I'm writing this, there are 90 comments on this article. My rough count is that only 20 of the commentators are members of The Key Players Club. And the other comments were made by people whose name I see on here all of the time yet are not members. I don't want to get into individual reasons for contributing or not contributing to this site. But I know we all agree it would be tragic if we were to lose TKP.

Thanks for all you do Joe. There is going to be a lot of sad people around here when you shut this down. And we'll have no one to blame but our cheap ass selves.

And btw, this comment should go plaid!

It's good to know our go to Hokie blog takes after the Hokie Athletic Department.

Love you, Joe!

Edit: GOD DAMNIT NOW I NEED TO DRINK! Good thing it's after lunch on a Friday.

it's a pain in the ass to run and underfunded.

Coach Fuente, is that you?

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

Seriously though, I don't get some people's raised hackles over an "official position"

I would imagine most people are smart enough to know that this is a community of differing opinions, run by a staff with differing opinions... which makes it cool.

Marching in lockstep is lame.

Leonard. Duh.

Wow. I've never thought about Frank Beamer in that way, and what he did, and why Hokies are so stingy, myself included.

Dang true point about the fanbase not having to donate in order to win with Frank, because with Frank we were winning without top-level donations. And now we expect the same with a new coach in a new era of college football.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

put on their best pair of team-issued sweats, put in massive dips

This got a good chuckle out of me. Much needed in this time of chaos the past few days.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

Shibest packed a damn hammer for that meeting! Vice looks like he's waiting for someone to find out he opened the door to their office, farted, and slammed the door shut.

That's fantastic! I genuinely laughed out loud.

"Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!"

"Man, 4-hour meetin' and this silly-ass photo, today's gonna be a triple-lip day."

Sheeit! That's a quarter can lip at best.

If you ain't dipping at least half a can, what's the point?

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

half the can? at that point, it's more of a plunge than a dip

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I've gotten into Zyn recently. No tobacco, same buzz, no spitter needed.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Has anyone tried Grinds, the coffee pouches?

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

Yes, tried those too. I'm not a big coffee person, so they're convenient if I'm exhausted.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

well said!

In the end, fundraising depends on folks' priorities and budgets. Simple as that. While the iptay thing would be great if everyone who ever went to Tech ponied it up, what we need now are deep pocketed boosters that can do for us like Grisham and others have done for UVA. I'm not stingy, I do have limited funds and budgetary priorities that make it unlikely I can do much more to help VT out. If I had the bucks, though, I'd still be having to prioritize, but more support for athletics would certainly be more likely. No fund raiser will be changing my priorities or the realities of my budgetary restrictions.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'm exactly with you on this, and I always liked to think that financially successful Hokies got that way because they were friendly, smart at their chosen field and with their finances. But this article definitely opened my eyes.

Ever since they made it possible to donate as little as $1 a month, I'm thinking I might start donating $32 a year until my daughter goes to Kindergarten (read: no more daycare tuition), at which time I'll up it to $32 a month. I'm class of 2007 and lost a friend and a classmate and my wife was a freshman in 2007 and was very good friends with Stack Clark. The number 32 is very meaningful in my house.

Anyone that knew Stack was friends with Stack. That's the damn truth!

Click here to destroy wall.

This is very true. Conversely, some people may think that because they can't give $1000, they just won't give. 1 person donating $1M is the same result as 10,000 people giving $100. That's what the IPTAY thing is about. Who honestly can't give $10/year? The other issue that people have pointed out, is that it has to be EASY to do. If it's not easy, people are a lot less likely to do it, especially for those smaller dollar amounts that can add up in a hurry if a lot of people do it. People aren't going to navigate an obstacle course to give $10. They're just not going to give it.

Minimum IPTAY donation is 60, 35 more than Techs minimum.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Fair enough - I hadn't looked at it much past that it stood for "I pay ten a year," but they started that in 1934, so apparently we have some catching up to do. This has me curious about current overall donation levels between us and them.

And $60 seems like a good number, it's only $5/month.

IPTAY -> IPFAM

Damn, I miss your work and your site F4H. Well done.

With relevance to some of your points, there also needs to be an effort from the administration to modernize the capability to donate. As pointed out on another thread, the simple capability to give on a monthly basis on the Hokie Club's site will make your pull your hair out. As a matter of fact, I simply could not figure out how to do it and gave up. I would imagine others have done the same.

I know there needs to be great improvements made across the board. What I don't know because I've never done it, what would the capital outlay costs be to the Hokie Club? For an organization that just recently met their financial goal of paying for every scholarship has the outlay been too great?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

It's a fair question, but I have to imagine the ability to integrate Stripe (or some similar service) shouldn't be that difficult and would greatly facilitate donations.

But then again, they had to take down their donation system for A MONTH for an "upgrade". It's a possibility that all technical capabilities are decades behind and it's probably just not the donation capability would need an upgrade, but the entire system.

There are tons of services out there they could use for easy online donations, or even recurring monthly payments. If I can do it for channels I like on Youtube or Twitch, why can't I do it for VT football? You don't need to create anything groundbreaking, just figure out which service you want to use and slap their app on your website. Done. Some IT undergrad could set it up for them in an afternoon.

Yeah I'm sure there's quite a bit more as a public state entity that they have to record that would make it quite a bit more intensive, which is why I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt above, but all said it's an easy task.

There are tons of solutions available out there. From someone who has engaged in some online selling, the capability is there - the Tech administration needs to take advantage of it. The more I'm reading about this, the more I think whoever is in charge of fundraising at Tech doesn't know what they're doing. They haven't made the association with social media, especially how social media from football (or the lack thereof) impacts fundraising. They don't understand that the ability to donate EASILY online has to be hurting big. Maybe they're focused on the really big donors, which is great to a certain extent, but like I said in another comment, 10,000 people donating 100 bucks still adds to a million.

One thing left out of this piece was how the college football landscape has changed in the last 10-15 years. There are 4 big things that I think impact VT:

  • The advent of the internet has made scouting easier than ever, making it nearly impossible to build a program from 'out-scouting' bigger programs (like Beamer did early in his career)
  • The advent of the internet has also made it easier than ever before for individuals to leave their home town/state/region. There's not much difference between being a 5 hour drive from home and a 15 hour drive from home - either way, you can still keep up with family.
  • TV money has exploded, and the ACC/VT has gotten the short end of the stick.
  • The Great Recession has (somewhat) redistributed population centers around the country, and there tends to be more talent in highly populated areas. For VT, that means talent moving from Virginia Beach to the DMV area. The DMV is more easily accessible for non-Virginia schools than the 757 is.

Twitter me

One thing I'd say though regarding 4) is that it's not even a population shift away from 757. 757 is the same relative size recruiting pond as 25 years ago, but everyone's fishing in it now, with the money (facilities, scouting->recruiting staff, bagmen) to blow us out of the water on the kind of recruit we used to be able to pull. We beat Syracuse for MV, and Ron Curry turned down, IIRC, UVa and Duke to go to UNC as a 2-sport recruit. Nowadays half the SEC and B1G and a few Big 12 schools would be in on both of those guys on top of everyone from the modern ACC, which leads to your 2) that you can be on social media with your friends back home in Virginia Beach just as easily from Athens or Norman or, hell, even East Lansing or Madison as you can from Blacksburg.

The other recruiting advantage we had when our program exploded in the mid-to-late '90s was nearly free rein in Northern Virginia for about 5 years, with Penn State down, Maryland bad, and late-George Welsh era UVa being... not necessarily bad, but just extremely UVa. That was never gonna last, but we made hay while it did.

it's not even a population shift away from 757. 757 is the same relative size recruiting pond as 25 years ago, but everyone's fishing in it now, with the money (facilities, scouting->recruiting staff, bagmen) to blow us out of the water on the kind of recruit we used to be able to pull.

IMO this is something worth doing a deep dive in this offseason. From what I've seen, it feels like there is less talent in the 757, and more talent in DMV. I'd love to run the numbers and confirm this.

Twitter me

Agreed that the numbers would be interesting, and I do think there's more talent coming out of the DC area than there used to be due to the suburban explosion. I just don't think it's at the expense of 757. I think that's a national draw, with the outer suburban school districts following up by deciding that a good way to build community identity in places that were cow pastures roughly 15 minutes ago is by making their brand-new high school football programs a worthwhile rallying point.

NOVA is easier to get to as well. You can fly into Dulles and be <30 minutes away from dozens of excellent high school programs from Manassass up to Ashburn/Leesburg.

I'm going to say this as nice as I can, but many of the people working for the Hokie Club and the athletic department, who do fundraising and similar support, need to be fired.

There are quite a few who are barely, if at all, literate. Email and mailings have misspellings, use of wrong words, and all sorts of errors. It is at a level that's embarrassing.

From your local chapter (volunteers) or the main office? They have had a ton of turnover last two years including the director and the three top donor "guides".

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Main office

You've put my thoughts on this into words much better than I could have.

I wonder if it's not already too late. We have an entire generation (maybe a generation and a half) for whom donating to the athletic department is a foreign concept. It's just not ingrained in the VT culture, unfortunately. Worst of all, the timing of the college football arms race really coincided with a general downturn in VT football. That made it hard for some to get behind the athletic department financially. Why give to a program that keeps employing Stinespring/Loeffler/Corny/(insert your least favorite coach here)?

I have a bit of a different perspective living in Ohio for the last 17 years. Even though there are two NFL teams in the state, neither of them have the draw of anOSU. It's ingrained into the culture here in a way I haven't seen elsewhere. And as part of that culture, giving back to the school is drilled into students as soon as they set foot on campus (at least according to my coworkers who have kids there). It's been a long time, but I don't remember that at all from when I was a student at VT. Not even after I left. The overall culture has to change, and I'm not sure if it can at this point. I fear we're headed for WVU status.

Another good example would be the State of Alabama. There are no professional team so for the most part, it is you are either an Alabama or Auburn fans, and I am sure there are migration from other states that brought their fandom from previous stops to Alabama.

I fear we're headed for WVU status.

My fear is different. I fear that Virginia Tech is going to be how UVa was for a long time after George Welsh left to the hiring of Bronco. I hope I am wrong, but I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that Virginia Tech is due to trend down for a while. My father-in-law is a Clemchump alum, and while he is enjoying the height the Tigers are flying, he did point out that Clemchump was down for a very long time. The major difference is how committed Clemchump fans are toward the football program compared to Virginia Tech.

“Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about?” -McHokie540

I totally get that fear, but honestly think the next two years will be a much more upward than downward trend. If you look at the numbers, Clemson's giving didn't really spike until their playoff runs. Now I'm not saying we are going to the playoff the next two years, but I think a couple coastal titles and 10+ wins seasons will help increase our donations to a level that we can at least compete with the blue bloods similar to the Wisconsin's and Michigan States of the world.

I fear we're headed for WVU status.

There are two types of rivalries. Rivalries where both parties are very different, and rivalries where both parties are very similar, and at the highest level we are already WVU. Our programs are the two winningest programs without a claimed national title. We'd be even more similar if they hadn't choked against Pitt in 2007 though lmao.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

How would that be more similar? The choke away an NC game in '89. The had another chance in 93.

Being born in 1990 means I only really know the BCS era and forward.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

If you can find that 89 team it was impressive, Major Harris was Mike Vick until Vick made his name known.

I agree, simply put VT is not the commonwealth's team. College football is not part of the culture in Virginia. The amount sidewalk alumni that exist for Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State etc is staggering. The fandom is pretty rabid and kids get sucked into from a young age so it continues on from generation to generation. I think its hard for people who haven't lived in parts of the country where Saturdays in the fall revolve around college football to get this. There was probably an opportunity for VT to try establish that at least somewhat 20 years ago, but it didn't happen. With the way you can watch pretty much any football game anywhere you want now, I doubt it will ever happen.

Once again, I am hearing about needing for the fans to open up their wallets and increase giving. I think we all have the "What" and "Why" checked and well covered. The problem is the "How" - how can Virginia Tech do a better job? That is where we are at. I am a non-alum of Virginia Tech, became a fan while Bryan Randall was quarterbacking the Hokies, and was a big fan of Bud Foster than of Frank Beamer. I have absolutely zero incentive to donate a dime to Virginia Tech other than my eyeballs and posting on The Key Play. For me personally, there are far more pressing priorities where I need to spend my hard-earned dollars than to give some to Virginia Tech and hope they are using it wisely.

Some will probably criticize me as not being invested into the football program, and that's their right. I am invested in a different way - emotionally as well as giving portion of my time to composes thoughts here, even to hunt down a GIF to express my thoughts in simple animation, etc - and that is as far as I am willing to give. I experience the same high and low as the next fan.

As I said in Pierson's op-ed, I don't like what College Football have become. I feared for a while that College Football would become like the NFL and in some ways, it has. One reason I have steadily lost interest in the bowl games is due to the over saturation of games in December that are meaningless other than the conference championship game (ACC only). I have not watched a single minute of any bowl games nor did I watch any playoff games. The last football game I watched was Clemchump opening a can of whoop ass on UVa. College Football is what it is now.

“Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about?” -McHokie540

The problem is the "How" - how can Virginia Tech do a better job?

For one thing they need to streamline the ability to donate to the hokie club online. I think I've mentioned this before but when I wanted to up my hokiematic amount after the Duke loss I had to fill out a form and mail it in and I had to call the hokieclub to find out that was what is required. If there was an online checkout option it would be a lot easier and I think we'd see an increase in those small monthly donations that will add up.

Thank you for the post.

One of the best 'takes' I've ever read on this site. Eye-opening and honest.

Interesting post, but I think some important things need to be pointed out. A lot of the narrative is that VT was never heavily invested in football and Frank just had great success on the cheap. I was listening to the TSL podcast yesterday, and when Frank threatened to go to UNC after the 2000 season and demanded more money for his staff, we became the third highest-paid assistant coaching staff in the country. In the entire country. We had just built the Merryman center and were in the process of expanding the stadium and building the south end zone. The school poured money into the football program. It wasn't that fans never cared and gave, we used to be a formidable football power. As Chris Coleman said on the podcast, Beamer didn't do more with less, he was doing more with more.

When VT got into the ACC, the prioritization of the football program ended. The school had been building and growing the football team which helped propel the university to great heights. When we finally got into the league we had long dreamed to be in, that desire ended and priorities shifted for the university. Fundraising became stagnant, and we did not keep pace with the football program. Other programs kept building and eventually outpaced us, and here we are now.

I think this fan base wants to give, but it's just not a priority for the school right now to take the effort necessary to emphasize football the way it should be. It has been reported that there is more money available that is being withheld from football. We are pouring money into non-revenue sports with very little potential for return.

I'm just growing tired of the narrative that the problem is all on the fans, and that no one cares if we are dissatisfied, we need to just shut up and accept Fuente and the way things are. If that's the mindset, then VT football is going nowhere.

I was with you until almost the end. I fail to see how griping about Fuente ties into the primary thesis of your post, which is that VT football funding issues aren't solely a problem of fans not giving enough. If there are systemic issues within the university specifically related to prioritizing football funding, then I don't know how the quality of our current coach impacts the university's funding priorities. It seems that the quality of the coach and the resulting success of the program would be a result of the inadequate prioritization within the university, not the cause of those issues. I won't argue whether or not Fuente is the right fit for our program, as everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I think it would be a better dialog if we can try to keep from conflating issues, which dilutes our ability to address any of them. If there are truly funding and program priority issues from the university, how can we as fans make our voices heard and have a positive impact? I would say the vast majority of us, for better or worse, care more about the success of our revenue sports than any others. It would seem one way to have a positive impact would be revenue program specific donations to make up the gaps that university funding priorities has apparently left us with.

I apologize for conflating the two issues, but they do tie together. There is an attitude of just shut up and accept that things are the way they are, nothing you can do about the coaching or facilities unless the fans pony up more. If the fan base is losing confidence in the coach, he does little to engage the fans anyway, and if fans are also hesitant to give because they know football is not the top priority at VT anyway, it's really going to prevent a massive chunk of potential donors from giving anything. The school can't keep saying we need more and there being less and less incentive to give. I think the university needs to re-evaluate it's priorities if we want a better football team, and I think our head coach could do a lot more to be a more convincing advocate for supporting the program.

Your reply definitely clarifies your point, so thanks. And I agree, if Fuente isn't advocating for the program to be a higher priority on the university's part (I don't know that he isn't), then that's a problem. From a political standpoint, I don't know that he could do much along those lines publicly. It's a tough spot for sure. It's definitely a hard sell to keep donating when the results haven't been there. But then it becomes a chicken or egg situation. I wish I knew the solution.

The solution is there, but I don't know how possible it is currently. First, the administration, athletic department, and fan base have to all get on the same page. The university has to make the commitment to having a major football program again. They have to give the program the support they need, and they need a strategic vision to sell to the fans for better facilities, more support staff, etc. Not just donate because it pays for scholarships and books. Here is the commitment we are making to a new football ops center, and we need your help to do it. Tangible plans and vision.

Secondly, Fuente needs to learn how to be a more dynamic personality who can engage the fan base. He's not just a football coach - he's the face of the program. He can't stonewall us and be Saban. Saban's resume speaks for itself and he coaches at one of the most resource-rich and football crazed schools in the country. Fuente can't have that attitude here at VT - we need a coach who can excite the fans and draw everyone together. Someone who enjoys speaking to the media and wants to sell his vision through speaking events, social media, fundraising, etc. I frankly don't know if that's in him to be honest. He is who he is in regards to personality. It doesn't inspire a ton of confidence at a time when there is a major need for new donors and interest in the program. I feel like his indifferent attitude toward the fans and media makes me feel equally indifferent about the program. I'm not saying you have to be as full of it as Dabo, but anything is a start.

We are 39th in athletic department revenue. That includes donations. 39th.

Are we sure this is really furrer? I don't see anything here about curling, so I'm like 50/50 on this one.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

I actually cut the curling part before sending it to joe for space considerations. As I have discussed many times before on my podcast, curling faces a similar mom-and-pop identity crisis.

Since becoming part of the Olympic program in 1998, curling has slowly lost touch with what made it appealing to those who took up the sport prior.

The influx of money from Olympic committees and sponsors has made the sport more professionalized. But that professionalization has cut out the middle class, the competitive club curler. Now the focus is on getting to the Olympics and winning and using that publicity to grow the game rather than putting money into developing the game at the grassroots level.

Those who curl competitively but also have to have 9-to-5 jobs to make a living no longer feel like they can compete with the guys who are paid to throw rocks for four hours a day.

So these curlers are no longer on tour and no longer entering playdowns and those playdown fees are what pay for a lot of the local-level grassroots programs.

Curling is in the middle of its own identity crisis for sure. Its becoming more professionalized but at a rate that it can't keep up. The officials are still volunteers and are being asked to make decisions that have big money implications in terms of funding and points necessary to qualify for the Olympics.

I could go on for hours. Or you could subscribe on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify or your favorite podcast app!

A bullhorn, a bottle of whiskey and a dream.

Yep, it's furrer.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Well, yeah that'll do it

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

To be fair, the most appealing thing about curling is Anastasia Bryzgalova.

Google Image Search...........

Qualified.

She's definitely qualified.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

She has great... curls

Hokie Club member since 2017

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

She retired :(

A bullhorn, a bottle of whiskey and a dream.

your most recent comment prior to this one was back before i even registered an account and only lurked here for the giftories

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Since becoming part of the Olympic program in 1998, curling has slowly lost touch with what made it appealing to those who took up the sport prior.

A curling anecdote. In 1994 I found myself in Sweden on a job. I decided to tack on a week of vacation and rented a car bound for Lillehammer. I stumbled into the "Olympic Village", and was able to rent a room over a pizza joint for about $50 per night.

I woke to the sounds of a party going on under my balcony, my introduction to curling. In the middle of the olympics, here was a bunch of wackos playing a drinking game and trash talking. I spent hours during the coming days watching this group. It was like a sport designed to be played/viewed with a hangover.

I went to Utah the following olympics with an emphasis on seeing me some curling. Will never forget that group at the BOTS.

Good commentary.. couple points. Justin Fuente as of now is a decent coach, a top 40 coach. He is not "above" Virginia Tech by any stretch of the imagination. Fuente is not Urban Meyer every bit as much as VT is not Ohio State. So what is the disconnect? It appears to me that we have a coach that is commensurate with our current stature in college football. We are not "lucky" to have Justin Fuente. After all, you said it- he just lost to Duke by 35 at home- a 5 win Duke team - not a good Duke team. VT can find 15 other "Justin Fuente's". The bottom line is that Justin Fuente could help our current status a hell of a lot more by winning the coastal division, winning a big bowl, putting an exciting product on the field that doesn't get manhandled in the trenches. He actually has some control over how he is treated by fans and how much more they are willing to donate. If some other school wants to give him a 30% raise and a shiny new film room, so be it. VT will be fine.

I just want to thank the author of this article and TKP for giving a platform for such wonderful writing. Thanks to all and GO HOKIES!

Go Hokies!

Well the fundraising is directly correlated with the marketing of how to buy into the program from a donation stand point.

Do not throw this out on the fanbase. Quite the opposite. 10 years ago sure you could, but in today's day and age where you can interact directly with your customer in real time, you 100% should be able to figure out what would drive your fanbase to donate.

This isn't on us, more on the marketing department that is stuck in the stone ages and doesn't know how connect with its core customer.

If we want more money as a program we need to do what is necessary to market appropriately.

We are school based around technology. It is a crying shame that are marketing efforts are so poorly run and can't get the simple things right.

Until that changes, we will be standing still as a solid program.

What's
Important
Now

When I graduated from BC for grad school, I got calls from those clowns weekly asking for donations, weekly! It was annoying as shit, but unfortunately that's part of what it takes. I never want VT to go that far. That said, I donate every year, and due to a change in pay cycle and to just test things out, I'm waiting until the very last minute to make my donation. I haven't heard anything from the Hokie Club outside of the generic mailings. Raising money is a pain in the ass, but that's the cost of admission in CFB, otherwise they would just calling it receiving money.

@hokie_rd

There are a lot of good points here. I'm not at the barn so I'll briefly touch on one that I don't think has been raised yet.

We're a young program. Yes, we've been playing for a long time, but we've only really tried to take football seriously since it started showing promise in the early 90's. That's about 25 years ago.

That means that people like myself - born in the early 80's, never grew up with a Virginia Tech program that was notable in any significant way. I'd go as far as to say that it took until, say, '95, for people to be born into a world where VT was relevant.

The experience they had at school wasn't the TerrorDome. They were raised in a world where VT was relevant and then when it came time to show up at Lane and see it first hand, they got declining attendance, a watered-down game experience, and a mediocre team.

The obvious point is this - those kids are 25 years old this year. They're barely out of college. Their enthusiasm about the program isn't what mine/yours/ours is. And even more to the point, they didn't come out of school with the job market that ours was. They don't have the extra money to donate. It's waaaayyyy down on their priority list.

For the blue blood programs, like the Ohio States and the Alabamas and the Notre Dames and the PSUs, they've been relevant over a LONG arc of history, and their alumni bases are much older. Those older alumni bases have already had careers and now have the time, money, and connection to their programs to want to make donations. To turn a phrase, those alumni bases are college football's "Old Money" - the upper class.

We're "New Money" and we don't have a lot of it at that. We're the middle class and we're blue-collar folks. We're engineers, not lawyers and doctors and oil barons. We make a bit less. That's okay by us. We're proud of our blue collars.

All this adds up to fundraising challenge. The potential donors are young, don't have a ton of spare money, and have less enthusiasm/less of a connection than the bases for other schools.

I donated to the Hokie Club not necessarily in hopes of getting better, but instead because my motivation was to stop doing the things that I hate (i.e. cancel ECU). This is not the right path.

I don't know the solution, and I'm not trying to say any of this is a problem, so much as I think this is a reality of where we are right now.

This is a good post.
Let me come at this from a similar but different perspective.

I did not attend VT.
No one in my family ever attended VT.

I got sucked in by the lunch pail and pride in the blue collar.

When I refer to VT, it is in the "we" perspective.
To me, VT takes pride in producing and supporting the people that make things. We make the milk, the bridges, the beer, the creation.

Get more guys like me. Not a Hokie by virtue of attendance but by mindset.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

Fair point, that said this is changing quickly. I would estimate 1 in 3 IT companies I sold, and now work on acquiring are VT alumni CEOs. That is just the CEO, never mind the CXOs that typically are coming into to pretty decent wealth. We have a straight pipeline to our own form of "oil barons," and it is growing every year, with absolutely no sign of reduction in IT consolidation. The only down year I've seen in the last 15 was 2009 when the credit markets froze up and the market was pummeled for the public companies. I suspect another 10 years from now there will be a healthy crop of bank rolls, if VT markets them appropriately.

@hokie_rd

If...

Yep, that's why it was the operative word.

@hokie_rd

In a world where my cell phone knows my credit card number and drunk smlltwnsthrnlwyr regularly sends me (the best) gifts from saturday night, the fact that I couldn't figure out how to give the hokie club $25/month despite a) being sober on a saturday morning for the first time since 2018 and b) spending 15 minutes trying is really irritating.

I was going to just believe everyone who had mentioned it here before and complain. But that felt disingenuous. So I went to the hokieclub website and tried. Not because I didn't trust y'all, but because I actually wanted to give.

Joe's got the code here to hit my CC once a year, and my recollection is that it took about 45 seconds for me to set that up.

I live 1517 miles from lane/cassel. I haven't been to a game on campus since 2012. This isn't about tickets. I just want to contribute. For fucks sake meet me where I'm at (on my phone, in bed) and let me give some fucking money.

Old sigline: I've been cutting back on the drinking.

New Sigline: lol it's football season.

Went through this twice recently. Once to up my donation and another time because I started using a different account. The website is ridiculous and I know they can do better FFS.

Gonna piggyback on the comments here. The moment all the Fuente drama ended, I went to the Hokie Club site to set up a monthly donation. Couldn't do it. Fumbled around for longer than I care to admit.

I want our football program to be relevant. I dont want to hear how shorthanded we are because of lack of funds. I want to take on the Clemsons of the world. So I want to pony up a recurring donation to help make it happen. And I cant.

I tried to renew my HC membership using the email they sent me. I tried to sign it and couldn't. I tried to reset my password, entered my email address, and got a reply from the site saying the account did not exist. The HC seriously needs to get their act together.

On top of that, the Hokie Club and athletic department need to take an internal look on the how they're fundraising. This was all highlighted on the last 2 TSL podcasts, but the fundraising campaign is relying on fan altruism rather than results oriented.

They have some olympic sport athlete come on and talk about the importance of donations and their scholarship. I believe most fans, myself included, are under the impression that scholarship is going to exist whether I donate or not.

What would IMO be a much more effective marketing campaign would be to advertise a plan for facility improvements required to compete at a national level, and campaign for donations in order to reach a common goal.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

The focus will remain on funding scholarships from the General Hokie Club fund. Because for most of its lifetime they weren't even bringing in enough money to do even that function.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I get that is how the money may still be allocated, however, that doesn't mean fundraising campaign should be limited to just funding scholarships. Here is the wolfpack club's website (https://www.wolfpackclub.com/), under "menu" they have a tab called "Your Investment". This lists all upcoming projects to incentivize donations outside of just funding scholarships.
Here, (https://issuu.com/clemsontigers/docs/2020_iptaymembershipguide_full?KEY=...) Clemson does the same thing with their "membership" guide.

And Fireman, you clearly have some relation to the Hokie Club. Unless you truly think the Hokie Club operating under the current status quo is perfectly fine, why don't you listen to some people's suggestions rather than immediately making excuses and shooting them down. I know I'm just some rando on a blog, but like I said, this issue was originally brought up by Will Stewart and Chris Coleman on their podcast. Additionally, these are ideas already being implemented by other successful booster clubs.

If the Hokie Club has done some extensive self evaluation and has come up with several areas of improvement and plans in place to address them, please share. Otherwise, listening to random dudes on blogs who are deeply invested in the state of Virginia Tech Athletics might not be the worst idea.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

My only connection to the Hokie Club is my fairly small direct deposit every month. What I have done though is go to the Hokie Club spring meeting where financial information is discussed (was youngest person in that room minus coaches and athletes by 10 years at least), poured over finical disclosures and made it a point to try and talk to every club person I can stop or get an email for.

In no way do I think the Hokie Club is fine. But there are areas where suggestions just aren't practically right now. Using general Hokie Club funds for anything but scholarships right now is the biggest. I'll give you an example that shocked me. As of 2016 Tech had a SINGLE coaching position endowed in any sport, this one is in some women's Olympic sport. You cite Clemson there athletic fund has brought in so much money long term they give band scholarships and fully fund their travel and needs. The Hokie Club just needs people to start Donating the minimum to fully fund scholarships long enough so in a few years they can think about taking some of that money safely out for other things.

https://hokieclub.com/ways-to-give/

This is the direct link to other ways to give if that is your concern.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I'm not surprised that Hokie Club is still mostly supported by older alumni. I think they just have not done a good enough job trying to expand membership to young alumni and are still trying to cater to and focus on the old guard instead of grow. Like you said, if they focused on new members just giving relatively low donations, we are talking about a significant amount of money. 5,000 new Hokie Club members giving $500 bucks a year would be an additional 2.5 million in donations. Hokie Club has to move past seats and tailgate parking as incentives and get a strategic plan together for tangible capital improvements in the big revenue sports. Supporting scholarships fans books for student athletes isn't a strong enough incentive. With so many untapped fans and alumni out there, it's really hard for me to get onboard with the stance of some that the fans and unwillingness to donate are the problems.

I understand the money is going to go to scholarships first. That's fine. All I'm saying is if the Hokie Club were to get together with VT Athletic Department and broadcast a "master plan" specifically for athletics, I think the search for new donors would be much easier.

After listening to their podcast, I plan on adding a "Football Operations" donation on top of my yearly scholarship fund donation.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Given some of the really good points brought up in this thread, would there be any interest in creating a new thread to capture people's thoughts on problems/challenges they've had with donating or maybe other features that people like they've seen elsewhere? We could maybe get somebody who is REALLY good at writing strong/forceful/powerful stuff to draft a form letter we could all send to the VT fundraising group, maybe president's office as well.

We could maybe also list some of the things we like but want to see more of.

Thoughts?

You know how political campaigns get donations through bundlers, I am willing to be the TKP Hokie Club bundler. By my estimation there is about $6k-$10k worth of donations in this page that people have expressed the desire to give if they could figure out how. Venmo me your cash on a monthly basis and I will make a donation to the Hokie Club with my account. I am willing to do this for the good of the university and to ease the burden on my fellow TKP faithful.

You're welcome.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

holy shit, how did you get these great seats homebrewhokie08?

Oh, you know, if you give enough, you get some great priority points.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

As some televangelist promote, the more you give the more blessings will come your way, its just appears I am #blessed

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

This is genius. I want to help too. And I will do one better. I will...*cough*...match any donation anyone wants to send my way.

*Sorry, I appear to be coming down with something.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD