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Athletics Miscellany

Colors: The original team colors, black and cadet gray, were adopted in 1892. They were replaced in 1896 with Chicago maroon and burnt orange, which were first worn in a game with Roanoke College in October that year. The old colors were discarded because they looked like a prison uniform when worn in stripes. The new colors were selected by a committee, headed by Professor E. E. Sheib, after the committee found that no other college in the country used that particular combination.

Conferences: Virginia Tech was a charter member of the now defunct Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Association, formed in February 1895, along with Randolph-Macon, Richmond College (now the University of Richmond), Roanoke College, and the College of William and Mary. Tech was also a charter member of the Southern Intercollegiate Conference (now called Southern Conference), becoming a member in May 1921. The university withdrew from the conference to become an independent on April 19, 1965. In 1978 Tech joined the Metro 7 Conference in all sports but football and remained in the conference until 1995. That year Tech was one of five new schools admitted to the Atlantic 10 Conference during a conference reorganization. Tech joined the Big East Conference in football in February 1991 but remained in the Atlantic 10 in other sports. In 1999 the university announced that it would become a member of the Big East in all sports except wrestling, which is not a conference sport, in July 2000. In 2003 the university received an invitation to join the Atlantic Coast Conference for all sports, which it accepted. The new conference affiliation became effective on July 1, 2004.

Fight Song and Yell: The university's foremost fight song, Tech Triumph, was composed in 1919 by W. P “Pete” Maddux, class of 1920, and Mattie Eppes (Boggs). It is the only song officially adopted by the student body. The foremost yell for more than a century, the “Old Hokie,” was composed in 1896 by O. M. Stull, class of 1896, in a student-body contest. Stull later said he made up the word “hoki” (his spelling) to fit his cheer. As students and other supporters of Virginia Tech delivered the cheer over the years, they became known as “Hokies” (the “e” had been added by 1903).

HighTechs: A jazz dance group of women students that replaced The Techniques, who were not sponsored by the university, in 1984. The group begins performing at football and basketball games in 1984. Pam Turner employed as professional choreographer.

Monograms and Numerals: A Monogram Club was organized in 1913, and a system of awarding monograms to eligible varsity athletes was adopted in 1914-15. Caps with “VPI” monograms were worn by any member of the corps until February 1907, when classes pledged to quit wearing them. At that time, athletes were permitted to wear a “VP” on their caps, which was changed to the current “VT” in 1958. Class numerals, instead of monograms, were authorized for freshmen athletes in October 1926.

Nicknames and Mascots: The “Fighting Gobblers” and “Hokie” nicknames and turkey mascot are discussed fully under Student Body Miscellany. A costumed Gobbler mascot appeared as early as 1936, but not continuously. The current HokieBird can be traced to the costumed Gobbler mascot that was introduced in the fall 1962.

Season Tickets: The first season tickets, admitting holders to all home games and some in Roanoke, were issued in 1908.

Sportsmanship: Virginia Tech was named the ACC Sportsmanship School of the Year in 2008 for the 2007-8 academic year. Tech was the sportsmanship winner in five sports.

Student Aid and Hokie Club: The first full athletic scholarships were offered in 1925. A Student Aid Fund to raise money for athletic scholarships was established in January 1946. The Student Aid Association was chartered in 1950 with the sole purpose of providing athletic scholarships. The Hokie Club was chartered in 1962 as part of the Student Aid Association.

World Records: Irene Spieker, a senior, bettered the world indoor pole vault record of 7 ft. 6 1/4 inches with a vault of 8 ft. 1/4 inches during the Mason Dixon Games in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 11-12, 1977. At the time Spieker, the premier runner for Virginia Tech, held school records for the indoor and outdoor mile, 1,500 meters, and 3,000 meters.

Dave Weiss, who competed in the Virginia Tech Weight Club, set world records in the 123-pound weight class in 1996 and for lifting 552 pounds at the 132-pound class two years later. Both records still stand.