Tony Robie coaching at the NCAAs (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
BLACKSBURG -- Coming off of leading the Virginia Tech wrestling program to its second consecutive ACC title and its sixth straight top-10 finish at the NCAA championships, head coach Tony Robie has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him in Blacksburg through 2022-23. The deal includes a one-year rollover option for 2023-24.
Robie took the reins of the program on an interim basis in time for the 2017 postseason before earning the head coaching job just one week after the conclusion of the season. Since then, he has continued the ascension of the program that he helped restore back in 2006 when he first came to Blacksburg.
"This commitment to Coach Robie is extremely important for the continued success of our wrestling program here at Virginia Tech," Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. "Year after year, Coach Robie has produced successful student-athletes on and off the mat while instilling a culture within his program that is in line with our core values as a department. We are very fortunate that he will continue to call Blacksburg home."
"I want to thank Whit Babcock, Chris Helms [senior associate AC], and our entire athletic administration here at Virginia Tech for having the confidence in me to lead this program into the foreseeable future," Robie said. "I truly believe that we have the pieces in place to build on our recent success and create a new standard for the program. With the people and passion currently surrounding the program, I am certain that great things will continue to be accomplished."
This past season, Robie coached seven finalists and four individual champions to the 2018 ACC championship, the fourth in Tech's history. His 14 dual meet victories in his initial campaign ranks second in the ACC record book for the most wins by a first-year head coach behind Wade Schalles' 15 wins with Clemson in 1978. His .824 winning percentage ranks first among rookie head coaches in Tech history and ranks third all time in ACC history for a first-year head coach. Robie's first full season as head coach saw the Hokies place eighth at NCAAs, which featured Jared Haught's run to the finals at 197 pounds to become only the second national finalist in program history. Robie was also named a finalist for the NWCA's National Coach of the Year award.
Over the last six years, with Robie serving as associate head coach and head coach, Virginia Tech is one of only five teams- Oklahoma State, Penn State, Iowa and Cornell being the others - that have produced three or more All-Americans at the NCAA tournament. The 2017 ACC Co-Coach of the Year, Robie helped recruit and coach the athletes that claimed the Hokies' first team trophy with a fourth-place finish at the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Robie's emphasis on coaching his athletes both folkstyle and freestyle wrestling over the last two years has already paid dividends on the international stage. Volunteer assistant coach Ty Walz won a bronze medal at the 2017 U23 World Championships and clinched a spot on the United State senior men's freestyle National Team this past summer. He's the first Virginia Tech wrestler to earn a spot on the prestigious squad. Last month, redshirt freshman Mekhi Lewis became the Hokies' first gold medalist after winning the 74 kg title at the Junior World Championships in Slovakia.
The Hokies will open the 2018-19 season at the Hokie Open, held Nov. 4 at the Berglund Center in Roanoke. Tech will also be the host of the 2019 ACC Championships at Cassell Coliseum on March 9.