From the sidelines
By Marty Gordon
Virginia Tech’s softball players have no reason to hide their faces after falling in the Super Regionals to Florida this past week. The Hokies delivered on a great season and ignited softball fever among lots of young girls throughout Southwest Virginia.
Standing-room-only crowds packed the Blacksburg softball field, but it was the team’s behavior after many of those games that singled them out. They took time to sign autographs and take photographs with their fans.
Thank you for all the memories you created.
For the second straight season, pitcher Keely Rochard was named a First-Team All-American, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced Wednesday evening. Emma Ritter earned a spot as a Third Team All-American, the first time in school history the Hokies have had two All-Americans in one season.
Rochard ended her senior season with a 26-4 record and a 1.89 ERA. She pitched 204 innings, striking out 328 batters, which currently ranks her third in all of Division I. Her six saves also rank her first in the ACC and fifth nationally. The right-hander finished the season with a .174 batting average against.
At the conclusion of her five-year career, Rochard is first in school history with a .802 winning percentage. She accumulated 1,120 strikeouts, ranking her second in school history as just the second Hokie ever to reach the 1,000-strikeout milestone. She recorded 97 wins during her time in a Hokie uniform with a .170 batting average against.
Ritter was one of the Hokies’ top hitters all season. She ended her season with a .400 average over 165 at bats with a .661 slugging percentage and a .474 on-base percentage. She tied for the team lead with four triples and added 11 doubles and eight home runs with 40 RBI.
Striking out only six times all season, Ritter was ranked first in the ACC and 12th nationally as the toughest to strike out. She also accounted for 23 of Tech’s stolen bases, which ranked her third in the ACC. Her .400 batting average was good for second in the ACC. In the outfield, Ritter had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 45 putouts.
Congratulations to Hokie men’s basketball coach Mike Young, who was hired at VT on April 7, 2019, and has compiled a record at Tech of 54-36.
The Fork Union Military Academy Sports Hall of Fame has announced four honorees in the Class of 2022 to be celebrated during this year’s Sports Hall of Fame Weekend in Zions Crossroads, Virginia. Making up this year’s class is 1991 graduate Braxton Davenport, 1990 graduate Tyronne Drakeford, 1967 graduate Micky Sullivan, and 1982 graduate Mike Young.
Young has established himself as one of the top men’s basketball coaches at the collegiate level. He arrived in Fork Union in 1981 to play for legendary coach Fletcher Arritt, who is one of Young’s mentors to this day.
After graduating from FUMA, Young played for coach Bob Johnson at Emory & Henry College. He was a four-year letterman and a team captain his junior and senior seasons. He credits Johnson with having a major influence on his playing and coaching career. He graduated from Emory & Henry in 1986.
After short stints as an assistant coach at Emory & Henry, Radford University, and Wofford University, Young was named head coach of the Wofford Terriers in 2002. In 17 seasons at Wofford, Young compiled a 299-244 (.551) record and earned Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors four times (2010, 2014, 2015, and 2019).
Under his guidance, the Terriers registered an impressive list of non-conference wins, including Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, NC State, Purdue, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Xavier, and Wake Forest. Arguably the most compelling non-conference victory of Young’s tenure at Wofford came on Dec. 20, 2017, when the Terriers faced then-No. 5 North Carolina at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill and registered a 79-75 victory over head coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels.
The 2019 Sporting News Coach of the Year, Young built the Terriers into one of the Southern Conference’s preeminent programs and a perennial NCAA Tournament participant. He guided Wofford to five NCAA Tournament berths over 10 seasons and five Southern Conference championships. In addition to the on-court success of his teams, 100 percent of Young’s student-athletes at Wofford who completed their eligibility graduated.
In 2018-19, Young’s final season at Wofford, the Terriers posted a 30-5 overall record that included a perfect 18-0 mark in Southern Conference play. The team registered a convincing 84-68 win over Seton Hall in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
Following his outstanding Wofford career, Young came home to Tech to take the reins of the men’s basketball team. He has made the NCAA Tournament seven of the last 12 seasons and was the fastest Virginia Tech coach to make the Big Dance. In his second season with the Hokies, Young led Tech to a 15-7 record, including 9-4 in the ACC to finish third overall and was named ACC Coach of the Year. \
A year later, Young led the Hokies to their first-ever ACC Tournament Championship as a No.-7 seed, beating top-seeded Duke, 82-67, in his third season in 2022.
In the summer of 2015, Young was inducted into the Emory & Henry College Sports Hall of Fame and the Radford High School Hall of Fame.