The Virginia Tech Hokies are the athletic teams officially representing Virginia Tech in college sports. The Hokies participate in the NCAAs Division I Atlantic Coast Conference in 19 varsity sports. Virginia Techs mens sports are football, basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and wrestling. Virginia Techs womens sports are basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and volleyball. Although Virginia Tech is still seeking its first national title in a varsity sport, it has won a national championship in bass fishing, as well as individual track and field events.
Virginia Techs sports teams are called the "Hokies". The word "hokie" originated in the "Old Hokie" spirit yell created in 1896 by O.M. Stull for a contest which was held to select a new spirit yell when the colleges name was changed from Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute and the original spirit yell, which referred to the old name, was no longer usable. Stulls yell won, and he received the $5 award.
Later, the phrase "Team! Team! Team!" was added at the end, and an "e" was added to "Hoki."
Stull later said that he made up the word as an attention-grabber. Though he may not have known it, "Hokie" (in its various forms) has been around at least since 1842. According to Johann Norstedt, now a retired Virginia Tech English professor, "[Hokie was] a word that people used to express feeling, approval, excitement, surprise. Hokie, then, is a word like hooray, or yeah, or rah." Whatever its original meaning, the word in the popular cheer did, as Stull wanted, grab attention and has been a part of Virginia Tech tradition ever since.
The official university school colors - Chicago Maroon and Burnt Orange - also were introduced in 1896. The colors were chosen by a committee because they made a "unique combination" not worn elsewhere at the time.
The team mascot is the HokieBird, a turkey-like creature. The teams were originally known as the "Fighting Gobblers," and the turkey motif was retained despite the name change.
The stylized VT (the abbreviation for Virginia Tech) is used primarily by the athletic department as a symbol for Virginia Tech athletic teams. The "athletic VT" symbol is trademarked by the university and appears frequently on licensed merchandise.
During the early years of the university, a rivalry developed between the Virginia Military Institute and Virginia Tech, then called VPI. This rivalry developed into the original "Military Classic of the South," which was an annual football game between VMI and VPI on Thanksgiving Day in Roanoke, Virginia. This rivalry continued until 1970 when Techs football program became too large and too competitive for VMI. Today, Techs major athletic rivalries include the Virginia Cavaliers (see Virginia-Virginia Tech rivalry), the West Virginia Mountaineers (the series is in indefinite hiatus since the 2005 season when the last scheduled game was played), and the Miami Hurricanes.
Virginia Techs fight song, Tech Triumph, was written in 1919 and remains in use today. Tech Triumph is played at sporting events by both the Virginia Tech band, The Marching Virginians, and the Corps of Cadets band, the Highty Tighties. The Old Hokie spirit yell, in use since 1896, is familiar to all Tech fans.
Virginia Techs football traditions and the schools fans are the subject of a 2007 full length documentary called Hokie Nation which features a mix of interviews with coaches, players and fans as well as a look at Hokie football history and the direction of the program.
Tech teams participate in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which the school joined in 2003 after a tumultuous trek through five different conferences in the previous decade, most recently leaving the Big East in the controversial ACC expansion.
In 1921, Virginia Tech joined the Southern Intercollegiate Conference (now Southern Conference), which contained 19 schools by 1922, all current members of the ACC or Southeastern Conference (SEC). In 1932, thirteen schools left the then-gigantic Southern Conference to form the SEC and in 1953, seven more teams left to form the ACC.
Frank Moseley, Virginia Techs director of athletics and football coach, believed that the new Southern Conference was a lower tier of competition and sought membership in the ACC, but was turned down. In 1965, Tech left the Southern Conference to become independent. In 1977, Virginia Tech once again sought admission to the ACC and was once again rejected.
In 1978, Virginia Tech joined the Metro Conference, winning the conference mens basketball championship in their first year.
In 1991, Virginia Tech was invited to join the Big East Conference for football only.
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