For a number of years, I have been telling anybody who was interested that my dad is a member of the Virginia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame. Today, I discovered–through a good friend’s research–that is not true.
Dad had quite an accomplished four years at Tech, but he was not a varsity football player.
Seems there was a guy named George Smith who was a star player at Tech while Dad was there and Outland Award Winner George Smith looked a whole lot like my dad from the photos I’ve seen. Both were large (dad was 6-feet tall, 185 pounds), blond, square-faced, square-jawed and handsome dudes. I guess I could have done the same research my friend Susan did, but I suspect I wanted to believe what I believed and felt threatened to look into it. So “journalism” of me.
In any case, there is nothing less to be proud of about Dad’s time at Tech. He was an excellent student in business administration, a leader in the corps (Tech was all-military at the time), a busy intermural athlete (and a baseball and football freshman team player), sports editor of the student newspaper, a popular student and an accomplished young man from Johnson City, where he was the first in his family to graduate college.
Dad actually wanted to go to the University of Tennessee, but his father, George Washington Smith, who had a second-grade education but was a wildly successful building contractor, had a friend with a son at Tech and told Dad, “It’s VPI or nowhere, son.” So VPI it was.