By Marty Gordon
Virginia Tech picked up two national championships this past week in the form of a club sport. The school’s Club men’s gymnastics and cross country teams brought home the titles. This is the eighth time VT has had a club team win the national championship in some sport.
Gardner-Webb grabs Wisconsin coach
Gardner-Webb University has announced that Scott Merritt has been named head women’s basketball coach.
Merritt comes to Gardner-Webb from the University of Wisconsin, where he has served as Associate Head Coach since 2021.
This past season, Merritt helped the Badgers to their highest Big Ten win total since 2010-11 and the program’s highest Big Ten finish in 11 seasons. A late-season win over 12th-ranked Michigan gave Wisconsin a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament.
“I am thrilled to be the new Head Coach at a faith-based University that’s so rich in tradition,” said Merritt. “The vision and leadership of Dr. Downs and Dr. Goodrich, coupled by the support of the campus and surrounding community are what make this such an exciting opportunity. I cannot wait to get to work!”
Merritt was an assistant coach at Illinois during the 2020-2021 season and spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Marquette University.
Longwood extends men’s coach
Longwood Director of Athletics Tim Hall announced Wednesday a 10-year contract extension to Griff Aldrich’s contract that will lengthen his tenure as head coach of the Lancer men’s basketball program through the end of the 2034 season.
This past season, Aldrich, a 1996 Hampden-Sydney graduate and Tidewater native, led Longwood to a second-straight 20-win campaign. It marked the first time the men’s basketball program posted back-to-back 20-win seasons at any level.
In addition, the team’s 27 conference wins over the past two seasons are the most in the Big South. During that run, Longwood swept both the Big South regular season and tournament titles in the 2021-22 season. The Lancers were a No. 14 seed in the program’s first NCAA Tournament Division I level. Longwood became only the second Big South team to garner a 14-seed or better in the history of the league. They finished second in the regular season this past year.
High Point new coach
High Point University President Nido R. Qubein announced the hiring of Alan Huss as the new men’s basketball head coach. Huss spent the last six seasons at his alma mater Creighton University under the leadership of head coach Greg McDermott.
In 2019-2020, Creighton won its first Big East regular season title after being picked seventh in the preseason. Huss was a vital part of Creighton’s No. 7 nationally-ranked 2021-2022 recruiting class, which was the same season the Bluejays advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1974. During the 2022-23 season, Huss helped guide the Bluejays to their first Elite Eight appearance since 1941 after a third-place finish in the Big East Conference.
VaSID coach of year for track
Virginia Tech director of track & field and cross country Dave Cianelli earned Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Men’s Indoor Coach of the Year honors on Friday, as 14 Hokies earned all-state honors on the men’s team. Cianelli coached the men’s team to their third consecutive conference championship.
Cole Beck, Kennedy Harrison, and Antonio Lopez Segura led the men’s team receiving two first team all-state accolades. Beck placed second in the 60m and third in 200m competing at the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships. He earned two USTFCCCA All-American honors competing at the indoor national championships.
Tech QB to portal
Taij Bullock has been way down the QB depth chart at Virginia Tech, and after this past month’s Spring Game, he has decided to enter the transfer portal. He was highly-touted coming out of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey where he was considered one of the nation’s top 20 dual-threat QBs.
Hall to HOF
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame recently inducted a new class, and it includes former Virginia Tech and Redskin defensive back Deangelo Hall.
He was an All-American defensive back for Virginia Tech in the early 2000s. Chosen by Atlanta in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft, he played 14 NFL seasons with the Falcons, Raiders and Washington, earning three Pro Bowl selections.