The Class of 1969 / Facing UNC

This weekend is the Class of 1969 Reunion. A lot has changed from when I first walked on campus in the Fall of 1965.

My dad was in the Army and in January 1964 was assigned to a unit in Frankfurt, West Germain as it was known then. The rest of the family joined him after about an 8-month delay while we waited for housing. When it came to post-high school plans, Virginia Tech was chosen out of a guidance counselor's reference book because I thought I wanted to work in the US Forestry service. I arrived by bus (all of my family was still back in Germany) having never seen Blacksburg or the campus before.

My first game experience was unique to me in many ways. As a member of the Corps of Cadets, we were required to go to every home game. We marched in and sat in block at about the 35-yard line in what felt to be an enormous stadium and played a "well-known" school, William and Mary. We won the game and the freshman "Rats" were given extra privileges, as was (is?) the custom. A young relatively unknown Frank Beamer would have been on the field somewhere (possibly on the bench).

There were no stands in either end zone as I recall. There was no "Enter Sandman". There was no jumping up and down by the students in the stands, in fact the stands were often not that full. There were no Maroon Effect or White Out games. The Highty Tighties were the only band. VMI was our main rival (at least as far as the Corps was concerned) which we played every year at Thanksgiving in Roanoke. All of that sounds pretty tame by today's standards, but it was a big deal for a naive freshman cadet.

Later, Frank Beamer came back to the Virginia Tech to be its football coach and the Hokies grew from a team that few had ever heard about to be known as a national football program. Most of that reputation was built on a hardnose (lunch bucket) style of play. Sure, there have been flashes lightning (Michael Vick, Tyrod Taylor, David Wilson, etc.), but I have enjoyed men like Sam Rogers even more for their grit and enthusiasm.

This week the class of 1969 will be having its 50th reunion. I will be there with classmates I have not seen since graduation. We will be hosting the UNC Tarheels for this game. I hope we are courteous to their fans but not kind to their team. I hope to hear Skipper roar many, many times and be able to go hoarse singing Tech Triumph loudly as we come away with a big victory. Let's go ...

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Comments

Hokies!!

Thanks for the post. Awesome story. I hope you have a great time!

A win will help. ;>)

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

Oh, boy what a game, what a win!

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

Great writeup! Enjoy every second of it my man!

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

I hope to make it to the TKP pre (or more likely, post) game Lot 18 (?) party for the first time on this trip. looking forward to shaking hands with some of you guys.

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

Congrats on your impending induction into the Old Guard.

What's your best "Back in the Old Corps" story?

Click here to destroy wall.

Breakfast at Shultz Dining Hal where the scrambled eggs were nick-named "yellow death" and were rumored to be laced with saltpeter which was thought to reduce the hormonal urges of young cadets. (The Corps was all male at the time.)

Making a rare phone call to my parents from the old wooden phone booth in the hallway. They were still in Germany and it took over nine dollars in quarters for a three minute call. At some point, they asked me how was life in the dorm. I responded that some of the upperclassmen were "being a pill." That was overheard by one of the juniors or seniors who thought it was pretty funny.

Retrieving an old Army footlocker from the post office in Schultz from my family and carrying it on my back while squaring corners as I made my way back to the dorm.

There was very little you could do as a "rat" to counter the hazing from the upperclassmen, but at some point I had had my fill. I got up during the night and filled two buckets with water and some cleaning solution and poured it under the door of the room of a pair of the worst offenders. The next morning there were some unhappy sophomores and short spike of harassment but it taper off after that.

Not quite in the same category of old Corps stories, but they used to fire Skipper inside the stadium after the team scored. I think Sipper was over close to where the VT locker entrance is now. It added more POP (pun intended) to celebratory salute after the score and may have caused an opposing player to soil themselves on occasion. I understand they had to move Skipper outside the stadium for safety reasons after someone got hurt, but I still miss seeing Skipper on the field.

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

It was explained to us that Skipper was restationed due to concerns over damaging the new Jumbotron since my rat year was the year the South End Zone was completed. No idea if that was true, but the Corps Rumor Mill is the oldest Institution at VT except the Corps itself.

Click here to destroy wall.

They fire the cannon inside the stadium at the beginning of some games

Recruit Prosim

Best case I saw of Skipper likely influencing a game was against GT in 2008, I believe. At the end of the game, we were only up by three but GT had the ball. They make the final snap and it looks like they might be able to get to the end zone. Well, the Skipper crew (being outside the stadium) sees the clock hit 0:00 with a VT lead, so they fired the cannon, while the play is still going on. About that time, the GT player falls down - game over, VT wins.

We won the game and the freshman "Rats" were given extra privileges, as was (is?) the custom.

Or the enjoyable opposite, my very first home game was JMU 2010, 30 of us got to spend that evening hand cleaning and waxing the floor on the 4th floor of Monteith and reapplying the tape marks.

My freshman year, someone decided it would be a good idea to use brasso instead of GooGone to remove the old tape. We shared the third floor of Monteith with civilian freshman girls. They were non-plussed. Also I'm pretty sure the air was flammable.

Good thing Monteith was made of cinder block and asbestos.

Click here to destroy wall.

Rasche Hall did have a fire just before finals during spring '99. From what I recall, it started in the company room after a bucket of rags self ignited after a rifle cleaning session.

Class of '69, Nice

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Much respect to you, sir. Highty Tighty Class of 93 here. When I was a student, we were an independent my first 2 years, and only the south endzone had make-shift stands and a light bright -esque scoreboard. We didn't play VMI then, but we still yelled the "VMI song" at games, there was no enter sandman. Beamer was starting to build his program during my time and you could see he was bringing in better athletes. Campus is much different today than even in my day. My son is class of 2019, civilian, but a proud alum. I'm glad he got to see the "big time VT" as a student. Welcome Home.

Fellow class of 69 alum here. Wish I could make it to Bburg this weekend; but life is too busy at this time. Like you, I have little to no memory of Frank Beamer's playing days. The only db, I really remember from those days is Frank Loria. It was clear from watching the defense that Jerry Claiborn required every player except Loria to be on the ground at the end of every play. It was kind of funny watching guys look for someone to dive into at the end of each play. I was not in the Corps; but I did see every football and men's BBall game while I was there. It was a long, cold walk in the winter to Cassel from the upper quad.

Have a great time at the game and the tailgate. Let's go. Hokies!

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

It was an incredible weekend. I went with low expectations because I have never felt I was a very social and I have not kept in touch with anyone from my class. Nonetheless, I did make contact with a few folks I knew but also meet some new people and had a fabulous time, Come to our 55th reunion in 5 years; I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

I was on the Class of 2016 Ring Design Committee and the Class of 1969 is often called the "Virginia Tech Power Class" with Coach Frank Beamer, Charles Steger (14th University President 2000-2014), Tom Tillar (VP for Alumni Relations 1995-2015) etc. all being from the class. Video: Virginia Tech Class of 1969 members awarded for decades of service.

Welcome back home this weekend! I recommend checking out the official 2019 Homecoming Tailgate at the Holtzman Alumni Center if you're not already planning to do so. It's always a great event.

My daughter was on Ring Dance Committee that year. Lots of good times still at VT through the old traditions.

I did go to the tailgate at the Alumni Center. The food was very good and the booth / demo set ups were also interesting. All-in-all well worth the visit

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

Hope Fuente makes the time to meet with the '69 team

s/

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Thanks for stopping by Lot 18. It was a pleasure to meet you. It's always nice to put a face to a name.

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

Likewise. I look forward to connecting again with my Key Play family some time in the future.

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

You're welcome to come by anytime.

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

Originally in the class of '72 (finally made it official in '75), I was a Highty Tighty for the first year and a half of my matriculation, flunked out, did a couple of years with our Uncle, then finished up as a civilian. The rat year was my undoing, frankly, and being in the band made things even worse because at the time in my short sighted, immature and naive experience, I was more afraid of those upperclassmen than I was of going to Vietnam. I know, right?
Anyway, I've told the story before, but my sophomore semester before flunking out, the rats got sick and tired of one of our classmates because of his rigid and oppressive habit of messing with the rats. They abducted him in the middle of the night, painted him blue (yep, lead based paint) and then threw him in the duck pond. I was pretty much a rat daddy at that point, knowing I was likely gone, and the guy was a true jerk to those rats, but none of them figured out that lead poisoning was actually dangerous. Ahhhh, the good ole days.
Frank Beamer was a Senior my rat year and I remember going to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl and us getting stomped by Alabama (I think) in the rain.
Also, in those days, if you joined the corps of cadets at the beginning of the year, you couldn't get out of the corps until the end of the year. While it kept a lot of rats from jumping ship to the civilian ranks, it also had the effect of forcing some of us who really weren't that suited for that life from getting out before the grades forced us out. I'd have never joined the corps were it not for the band, and I wouldn't have joined even then if I'd have known what rat life would be like. Squaring corners, scrubbing stuff with our toothbrushes, sweat parties, squaring meals and repeating stupid freshman information wasn't helpful with academics. Why in the world I came back for my one corps sophomore semester I'll never know for sure, but I think it felt like I'd been through the worst. Either way, I was pretty much destined to fail because of my poor freshman grades.
Fast forward almost 50 years, I was contacted by one of my old HT classmates as he sought to update our original class's contact info and as a result, was able to reconnect with one of my old classmates who flunked out with me. We hung out for a while afterward, but hadn't seen each other in 38 years. It was the highlight of our beach vacation when we met him and his wife for breakfast. Yes, we've all gotten old, but it was so much fun that I am considering trying a little harder to also reconnect with others from the day.
Thanks for starting the discussion and really happy you got to see that game and your old mates.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

If I'm mathifying this right, VTCC-69 was a senior your rat year.

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

Your calculations would be correct. 'Twould be likely I'd recognize his name, and likely his face. While the sophomores were the ones who messed with the rats the most, we interacted with all year groups, and senior leadership was front and center. He would be less likely to remember me. I was a french horn player forced to play drums freshman year for marching. Sophomore semester I played an E flat alto baritone for marching. We had some pretty cool seniors, as I recall.
Just for gits and shiggles, any HTs from those years remember Marlin Leatherman? (Stupid question, right?) I can still hear him yelling ''POST!!!" in a Brodie stairwell once when I didn't flatten out quickly enough. His booming voice rings 50 years later.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I remember Marlin Leatherman but more because he was a prominent figure in the HT. I was just at the reunion this past weekend and one of the things that was distributed was a list of class members who had passed away. I am sorry to report that Marlin's name was on the list. There was at least one member of the HT that was there this weekend, but I am unsure about posting his name on this site.

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

No, we don't need names. He was a tough XO and we were all scared spitless by his presence, but I am so sorry to hear of his passing. Leatherman, SIR! is how he'll always be remembered in my memory. He was about 6'-7" tall with a deep booming voice and he was definitely hard to miss on the upper quad. He had a girlfriend who was probably 6-4 or 6-5 and they made for an imposing couple.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays