Virginia Tech Senior Associate Athletic Director Tom Gabbard to retire – VT

BLACKSBURG – Tom Gabbard will conclude 24 years of distinguished service to Virginia Tech Athletics at the conclusion of the 2021 football season. Gabbard has overseen a dramatic transformation of Athletics facilities during his tenure, leaving a lasting impact on not only the physical footprint of Tech Athletics, but on the many Hokies’ coaches, teams and student-athletes that he has diligently served for nearly a quarter century.
Gabbard has worked with current Tech athletics director Whit Babcock as senior associate athletics director for facilities and operations since 2014. Gabbard originally came to Blacksburg in 1998 to join the late Jim Weaver, who served as Virginia Tech’s athletics director from September 1997 until 2013. Weaver and Gabbard had collaborated at UNLV in the early 1990s during Weaver’s tenure as athletics director for the Rebels. Gabbard began his time at Tech as associate athletics director for internal affairs and has held a variety of leadership roles during his career with the Hokies.
“Tom Gabbard will be missed as a key member of our executive team,” Babcock said. “His loyalty, integrity and work ethic are tremendous. His impact on this campus, the community and our facilities will make a lasting impact for generations of Hokies. I am extremely grateful for my eight years working alongside him following his many years under Jim Weaver. He has made me a better AD and a better person. He is a first-class individual, a true Hokie and an amazing friend. He plans on staying in the Blacksburg community, and I’m looking forward to him assisting us in a part-time role in the future when we need to lean on his experience and expertise. I am so excited for he and Nancy and his well-deserved retirement.”
The list of multi-million dollar facilities projects that Gabbard has played a pivotal role in helping transform from vision to reality are too numerous to mention. The $21.1 million Beamer-Lawson Indoor Practice Facility, the nearly $20 million Student-Athlete Performance Center and the $20 million English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park baseball facility are three of the most prominent recent projects that Gabbard has overseen on behalf of Tech Athletics.
Gabbard also served as the Athletics liaison in the design of the $105.5 million residence hall in the Creativity and Innovation District that opened to 176 Tech student-athletes and other highly-recruited students on the Virginia Tech campus in 2021. In total, the facility provides living space for 596 Tech students, along with a wide variety of academic, social, research and collaboration spaces. During his tenure in Blacksburg, virtually all of Tech’s competition and practice facilities have benefitted from new construction projects or major restorations under Gabbard’s watch such as the Hahn Hurst Basketball Practice Facility and the transformation of Rector Fieldhouse. More projects, like a completely reimagined and renovated Cassell Coliseum, are in the works.
“I can’t begin to thank Jim Weaver enough for extending me the opportunity to come to Virginia Tech and for Whit Babcock giving me the chance to continuing working at a place and in a community that I love so much,” Gabbard said. “There have been so many wonderful people that have made my time at Tech so memorable it would be impossible to name them all. It’s simply been a privilege to work with so many talented individuals and to witness so many coaches, student-athletes and teams represent the Hokies so well over the years. I’ll always be a Hokie and I’ll forever be indebted for the countless friendships and memories that my family has made because of our association with Tech Athletics.”
In addition to his role overseeing athletics facilities, as well as their managers and game operations staff, Gabbard served as longtime sport administrator for numerous Tech programs. During his time with the Hokies, he served in a sport administrator role for men’s basketball, as well as both the men’s and women’s tennis programs. In addition to having sport oversight for men’s golf, he was intimately involved with the inception of Tech’s women’s golf program, which has flourished under his administrative guidance.
Here are what some of the coaches who have worked with Gabbard over the years have said about his contributions to their programs.
“I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work with Tom during my three years at Virginia Tech. He’s a consummate professional and has helped our athletics department immensely during his time here. On behalf of our entire men’s basketball program, we wish Tom the best in retirement.”
Mike Young – Men’s Basketball Head Coach 
“Thank you, Tom, for all the help and support as we grew our women’s golf program. As a coach, I can’t thank him enough for all the trust he had in me. He was always there to lend a hand when needed. In addition, he always recognized our players as a student and athlete and appreciated how well they represented Hokie Nation. We will miss him very much!”
Carol Robertson – Women’s Golf Head Coach 
“I was very happy for Tom when he told me about his upcoming retirement. As our sport supervisor for so many years, Tom has been such an integral part of our golf program and the success we have had. From his interaction with our staff and players to helping us improve our facilities, he has always been so supportive of our program.”  
Brian Sharp – Men’s Golf Head Coach 
“The positive influence that Tom Gabbard has made on me and our entire women’s tennis program is hard to put into words. Tom has been an incredible mentor to each one of us and has always been there to support and guide both on and off the tennis court.  He has always been a great role model to our staff and student-athletes of what a Hokie is – caring, trustworthy, loyal and hard-working.” 
Terry Ann Zawacki-Holdren – Women’s Tennis Head Coach 
“Tom has been one of the best college administrators in the country. He’s extremely hard-working, diligent, organized, and knows how to get things done. He’s been instrumental in the growth Virginia Tech has made, and I’ve been fortunate to have had him as my administrator for all these years!”
Jim Thompson – Men’s Tennis Head Coach
“Tom Gabbard has long personified the Virginia Tech spirit of service. If you’ve enjoyed a memorable game at Lane Stadium or Cassell Coliseum over the past two decades, you should thank Tom and his staff. While so many teams, fans and student-athletes have benefitted from facilities that have been built or renovated on Tom’s watch, to me it’s all the little things that Tom did behind the scenes for so many years that define who he is. He was always willing to lend a hand to get the job done, and Tom did that job so well for 24 years. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his dedicated service to Virginia Tech.” 
Frank Beamer – Former Virginia Tech Football Head Coach 
“It’s impossible to express in words what Tom and his family have meant to me over the years. He feels like part of my family and I feel like part of his. Yes, we’ve worked with each other longer than I care to admit. And yes, Tom has been a mentor, a friend and so much more than a boss or a co-worker. He’s just a genuine, loyal, hard-working man who cares about doing it the right way and treating people the right way. That’s the best way I can put it. All I know is that I’m grateful he came to Virginia Tech and that we enjoyed so many good times together.”
Cara Walters – Virginia Tech Associate Athletics Director, Operations
“Tom Gabbard has been such a fixture at Virginia Tech over the years. I know he’ll still be at Tech home games and events, but I’ll definitely miss his camaraderie that we’ve enjoyed on men’s basketball road trips and at the Tech tennis courts for so many seasons. Tom’s legacy in Blacksburg goes far beyond facilities and first-class events. He personifies the Hokie spirit in so many ways, and no matter who you were, he always treated you with class and respect.”   
Mike Burnop – Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Famer & Radio Broadcaster
“Our time in Blacksburg were some of the most memorable our family has ever had, and a large part of why we remember it so fondly, is because of the people. At the top of that list of people, would be Tom Gabbard … “Mr. G, thank you for all of your energy to help build the basketball program and the sincerity in which you went about it each day. I am grateful for the way you taught me, without even knowing. You inspired me to improve. I hold you in the highest regard possible and have the utmost respect for who you are.”
Buzz Williams – Former Virginia Tech and current Texas A&M Men’s Basketball Head Coach
Recognized for his team’s ability to coordinate championship events, Gabbard and his staff oversaw the 2004 Men’s NCAA Golf Championship at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. He also directed the 2011 NCAA Golf East Regional held at the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech. In addition, Gabbard coordinated two NCAA tennis regionals held at Tech, as well as multiple ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Gabbard came to Blacksburg after serving six years in athletics administration at UNLV. He was instrumental in several major facilities projects at UNLV, including the construction of the Lied Athletic Complex, Wilson Baseball Stadium, Fertitta Tennis Complex and the Redd Basketball Offices. Gabbard came into athletics because of his experience with building construction. He had a 20-year real estate career in Florida before UNLV. 
He is a 1968 graduate of the University of Florida, with a bachelor of science in business administration. Gabbard is a Vietnam veteran (1970-71) who achieved the rank of first lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s artillery branch.

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