BLACKSBURG — Jim Weaver, who presided over Virginia Tech’s move from the Big East to the ACC and the football team’s rise to national contender, oversaw a facilities boom in Blacksburg and routinely kept the Hokies in the black, will step down as the school’s athletic director at the end of December for health reasons.
Weaver, 68, spent more than 15 years in the post, a tenure complicated by his 2004 diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that can cause speech and coordination problems.
His public appearances had been limited in recent weeks, with Weaver pre-taping segments for the Tech Talk Live radio show.
Despite numerous back surgeries in recent years, Weaver had previously stated that he wanted to work through the life of his contract, which didn’t expire until Dec. 31, 2015, when he would be 70 years old
Read more about Weaver’s decision here. We’ll have more on this developing story throughout the day.
UPDATE: Colleague Mark Berman spoke to Weaver about his decision. You can read what he wrote here.
I also just got off the phone with Weaver, who provided pretty much the same details he did to Berman. They include:
– The decision is completely health related. He needs two hip replacements, something he found out in August. Those troubles are exacerbated by his Parkinson’s.
– He made the decision with his family about four weeks ago.
– He said his health problems prevented him from making regular trips to things like conference meetings, other travel that athletic directors need to do. “It wasn’t the best situation, and I felt like the job deserves the best that it can get,” he said.
– Weaver will work through Dec. 31.
– Sharon McCloskey, the Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator, will serve as interim athletic director starting Jan. 1.
– A committee chaired by Dr. Ray Smoot will begin looking for a replacement. Weaver has been asked to be on the committee. Smooth chaired the committee that hired Weaver in 1997.
– Weaver said the indoor football facility, which finally had a site approved, was the first thing he identified Tech needing to have when he was hired. Other projects took priority over the years, but the recent decision to build it on the existing practice fields served as a nice full circle to his career.
– He’ll continue to reside in Blacksburg.
– I asked him what he was most proud of in his time at Virginia Tech: “I’d say the people that we have brought into the program as student athletes, as coaches and as administrators,” he said. “In one word, I’d say the people. Because you have to have the right people to make the facilities work.”
UPDATE, Part II: Football coach Frank Beamer weighed in on Weaver’s retirement:
“It’s a sad day for me. Jim and I have had a wonderful relationship. He’s been a tremendous boss. I think he’s really, really excellent at being an athletic director. He was in the right field. I thought he was really good, and then I think you look at the success of the programs around here, and not just football, but all the sports. … He’s a guy that I think really has meant a lot to Virginia Tech. Really done a great job and made a lot of good decisions and been really good to me. I’m going to miss him, miss his leadership.”
Beamer said he has no interest in the AD job. Asked if he’ll give input to the search committee, he said: “I’ll leave that up to someone else to decide. I certainly have my thoughts, but I’ll express them to the right people.”