I'm sure some of the older Hokies on here know this story but it was news to me. I went down the Wikipedia rabbit hole today and wound up reading about athletes that died during their careers. I hit Control F to search for Virginia Tech, not thinking I would find anything. Wrong. On November 21, 1977, freshman running back Robert Vorhies of Irvington, NJ died in Hillcrest Hall after completing a punishment drill an assistant coach had him do. According to this Chicago Tribune article, Vorhies and some friends had a party to celebrate their recent win over Wake Forest, a game in which he got his first and only collegiate carry (12 yard gain), in their dorm. A drunk Vorhies broke a door after making a mock tackle and a resident coach came and broke up the party. Vorhies was told he'd have to run a punishment drill two days later on Monday. According to the Chicago Tribune, the punishment drill consisted of:
Ten 50-yard sprints. Ten 100-yard sprints, with both the sprint and return to the starting line to be completed in 30 seconds. Fifty pushups. Fifty situps. Two 100-yard "bear crawls," in which the player "runs" on his hands and feet without allowing his knees to touch the ground. Four other 100-yard runs of various kinds. An undetermined number of laps around the field.
Holy shit. I mean, holy shit! And the punishment drill was after the team's practice, which they ended with ten 100-yard sprints. He died later that night in his dorm when his roommates found him naked on the floor. He was too weak to remove the athletic tape from his ankles. From the Chicago Tribune (emphasis mine):
Some 1,500 people attended Bob Vorhies funeral, but no one came on behalf of Virginia Tech. Head coach Jimmy Sharpe and his assistants - later fired in a move the University says was unrelated to Vorhies' death - sent flowers. But not one member of the Golden Hokies alumni club sent a note.
The University was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing but agreed to a settlement with Vorhies' mother and released a statement reading:
the measures administered to Robert Vorhies are not now being used and will not be used in the future to discipline athletes at Virginia Tech.
What a sad story. And shame on the VT administration and football staff for being so callous. Do any Hokies on here remember this personally?