So much of hiring the right college football coach comes down to “fit”.
There’s no concrete definition of what that means, but you know exactly what I mean when I write that. Bostonian Brian Kelly is an awful fit at LSU, but the Tigers’ athletic department hired him anyway. Shane Beamer was a great fit at South Carolina, and the Gamecocks looked competent for the first time in years this season.
In sports, fit matters. It matters more so in college athletics, which is why it was critical for Whit Babcock to find someone who fit in Blacksburg. Not just anybody can be a head football coach at Virginia Tech.
We just finished learning that lesson in earnest.
Enter Brent Pry, who in the span of just a few days seems to have confirmed that he is the right fit at Virginia Tech.
When discussing his coaches’ recruiting approach last week with the media, Pry made an off-the-cuff comment that turned a lot of heads.
“I told the staff this morning, unless there’s some reason for us to get west of the Mississippi, we’re not doing it,” Pry said. “I don’t want to see that you’re traveling to Texas or you’re traveling to Nebraska or you’re traveling to California unless there’s some type of relation to Virginia Tech or the state of Virginia. A family member went to Tech, whatever the case is. Maybe used to live in Virginia, used to live in the footprint. Best friend’s on the roster. If there’s not a reason, we’re just not going to throw darts across the Mississippi.”
Well, I’ll be damned.
Pry understand the unique footprint that Virginia Tech has. It makes sense to recruit the Commonwealth, the DMV, parts of the Mid-Atlantic and parts of the South. But out west? No, not really.
It’s a stark contrast from the former coaching staff and certainly an approach that feels more thought-out.
But if you need more evidence as to a fit between coach and school, consider how Pry spent his afternoon today. After a Sunday snowstorm that hit Blacksburg, he was participating in the yearly Cadets vs. Students snowball fight on the Drillfield on Virginia Tech’s campus. It was a sight for sore eyes.
It was cold, snow covered the ground and Pry still decided to go spend his time with a bunch of strangers and get snowballs pelted at him.
He gets it.
Pry understands that when it comes to Virginia Tech, the people want you to be one of them. They don’t want a coach who feels a part of an elite class or a coach that doesn’t feel at home in Blacksburg. No, Virginia Tech fans want a coach that appears to be and is a Hokie.
I have no clue if Pry will be successful in Blacksburg. I sure hope he is. But one thing I can say with confidence is this — Brent Pry will be a Hokie, win or lose.
Which ensures he’ll be a great fit in Blacksburg.