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The emotionally charged annual matchup was discontinued after the 2005 season when fan conduct and safety became concerns.
Associated Press | File 2005
Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick (5) scrambles from the West Virginia defense in Morgantown, W.Va., in 2005, the last time these two teams met on the gridiron.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
BLACKSBURG -- Dust off the Black Diamond Trophy. It's about to be in play again.
Virginia Tech and West Virginia announced Wednesday that they'll renew their football series in 2021 and 2022, rekindling a once-intense matchup that hasn't been played since 2005.
The former Big East foes will play in Morgantown, W.Va., on Sept. 18, 2021, and in Blacksburg on Sept. 24, 2022.
"To have such a rival game at close proximity, it makes all the sense in the world of playing that," Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver said.
West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer announced the pairing at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where the PGA Tour is playing its tournament this week.
"It's two great universities that have had some great competition," Beamer told the Register-Herald in Beckley, W.Va. "We've always had great respect for them, and I think they feel the same way about us. Where we're located, it's the right thing to do. We'll take fans to Morgantown, and they'll bring fans to Blacksburg."
West Virginia leads the all-time series 28-22-1, although Virginia Tech won games in 2004 and '05 before the series was discontinued.
Part of that had to do with both schools going their separate ways with regards to conference affiliation - the Hokies had joined the ACC by then; the Mountaineers stayed in the Big East until leaving for the Big 12 last year - but part of it had to do with fan behavior.
Weaver acknowledged that the emotionally charged series needed to cool down for a while. Hokies fans issued numerous complaints about unruly fans and safety, particularly about games in Morgantown.
On the field, the 2005 game is best remembered for Hokies quarterback Marcus Vick flipping off the West Virginia fans afterward, not the 34 -17 final score.
"I think enough time has passed from when we decided not to do it," Weaver said.
The first game of the series will take place 16 years after the last time the teams met.
Weaver and Luck first broached the topic of renewing the series about two and a half years ago. They accelerated those talks two months ago, leading to Wednesday's announcement.
In addition to being a geographic fit, Weaver is taking into consideration strength of schedule, something that will be a big factor in the upcoming College Football Playoff selection process.
Tech has at least one BCS-level foe lined up each season through 2022, with the exception of 2018 and '19, although Notre Dame will be on the schedule in one of those years.
In other news:
-- Weaver had no update on suspended running back Michael Holmes' status and plans to speak with Beamer about it next week once both are back in town.
Holmes, who was suspended indefinitely under university policy after his April arrest on a malicious wounding charge, a felony, was found guilty of a reduced charge of assault and battery in June, potentially clearing the way for his reinstatement to the team.
-- Weaver confirmed that longtime Virginia Tech personnel Billy Hite and Jim Cavanaugh are being reassigned within the athletic department and will no longer be part of the football staff.
Hite coached running backs at Virginia Tech from 1978-2010 and Cavanaugh strong safeties and outside linebackers from 1996-2010 before both were moved into personnel roles in a staff shake-up before the 2011 season.
Hite served as assistant to the head coach and team adviser the past two seasons, while Cavanaugh was director of recruiting and high school relations.
Weaver said their jobs within the athletic department should be finalized early next week and didn't want to comment specifically
until then. He said their positions within the football program will probably not be replaced.
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