Virginia Tech AD Says Thanks for Support Following Tragedy

Plans in the works for fall memorial

May 9, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver expressed thanks Wednesday for the overwhelming support the university received after 32 people were killed by a gunman on campus last month.

"My presence here today is on behalf of our president at Virginia Tech, Charles Steger, the faculty and staff and students of our great university," Weaver said at a news conference held by the National Football Foundation to announce the players and coaches elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

"We have received an outpouring of condolences and care and concern and sympathy and love, the extent to which I doubt has ever been felt by a university community."

Weaver said the students, faculty and staff of Virginia Tech are "trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy" since the tragedy on April 16.

"You just never seem to get away from it. Day in and day out, you learn something new, you hear something else, and it just pulls on your heart."

Plans to memorialize the victims of the shootings at Virginia Tech sporting events, including the opening home football game against East Carolina on Sept. 1, are in the works but nothing has been set, Weaver said.

"We in the athletics department are not out in front of anything in the memorialization process. We've tried to be a good university partner," he said. "The point is we will do what the university suggests. There have been a lot of suggestions to retire the No. 32 in all of our athletic venues, well one of the other sides to that is it doesn't recognize the 28 to 30 people that were injured."

Weaver said a memorialization committee will decide what should be done.

"When that happens we will react accordingly," he said.

After the shootings, the university canceled a softball game, a baseball game and the spring football game, but the rest of the spring sports schedule was played.



Several colleges used their spring football games to show support for Virginia Tech. Virginia, Ohio State and Kentucky wore Virginia Tech stickers on their helmets. At Penn State, thousands of orange and maroon T-shirts were handed out to fans attending the spring game and the cheerleaders also wore the Hokies' colors.

"The outpouring from the football community has been unbelievable," said Weaver, a Penn State alum.

At Virginia Tech's commencement Saturday, the victims of the shooting will be awarded degrees posthumously.

"It's been a tough 23 days," Weaver said. "There's a sense of community at Tech and it was shown to the world. Virginia Tech will always represent togetherness strength, and resiliency, and it is with that sense of unity that our university is moving forward.