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Virginia Tech’s search for elusive national title

Joe Girard dribbles the ball in front of a Virginia Tech defender
Joe Girard dribbles the ball in front of a Virginia Tech defender

Virginia Tech has one of the most storied athletics programs in the country. Countless professionals have donned the VT, and there have been countless exciting moments with the Hokies over the years. But shockingly, Virginia Tech has never hoisted an NCAA national championship trophy for a team event in the history of the school.

That less-than-desired accolade tags VT with Kansas State as the only two Power-Five programs to have never won a team national championship in their entire history. Various athletes for the Hokies have won individual titles, but no Tech team has landed at the end of a bracket.

“I think people are aware of it,” Bill Roth, the Voice of the Hokies, said. “They’ve been so close so many times, it seems to come up when they’re at a college world series or the wrestling team is making a move, or track and field. I don’t think it dominates the day-to-day or month to month conversation but it does come up when as reached a final four.”

The closest the Hokies ever got to that elusive title was back at the 2000 Sugar Bowl against Florida State. The Hokies held a one-point lead at the end of the third quarter, but the Seminoles dominated the endgame, and scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth. Virginia Tech finished 2nd in that years BCS standings, and it’s never been back to those heights since.

Other programs, like men’s and women’s basketball teams still look to make the round of 32 consistently. In 2019, the men’s side came painfully close to upsetting Duke and advancing to the Elite Eight, but a missed layup by Hokies guard Ahmed Hill with 1.1 seconds remaining pushed the Zion Williamson-led Blue Devils ahead. That was Tech’s first Sweet Sixteen since 1967. VT returned to March Madness in 2021 and 2022, but failed to advance passed the first round on both occasions.

The women’s basketball program has seen a resurgence in the past couple of years too. After not making the NCAA Tourney at all since 2006, the Hokies made it in 2021 and 2022, but never got past the round of 32.

Baseball, softball, golf and wrestling have all had close run-ins with success, but Roth says even that is no sign for a team’s success.

“You know how it goes, you get there and you don’t know,” Roth started. “For example, Florida State has made the College World Series more than any other team – they’ve gone 23 times – and they haven’t won it once! So you don’t know, even if you have the best pitcher or the best team, when you get to the the College World Series, crazy things seem to happen, especially to ACC teams.”

But there could be hope for Hokies fans everywhere, many of the VT teams have improved drastically over the past few years to places they haven’t been before.

The men’s and women’s basketball programs were both ranked this season. While the men fell out of the top-25, the women’s side still hold onto the #13 spot, and was ranked as high as seventh this season.

Just last year the Tech baseball team made its first ever Super Regional, and was one win away from reaching the College World Series.

Despite a rich history without a single national trophy, it seems the best days for the Blacksburg programs are ahead.

“From a fan’s perspective it’s exciting because they’re close,” Roth said. “And if you can win the ACC, in just about every sport, you’ve got a good chance of winning a national championship. And they’ve been ranked in the top-five in a lot of these sports. And they’ll get their national title at some point, I don’t think there’s any question.”