Jim Weaver, who has shepherded Virginia Tech through two conference realignments and overseen vast facilities improvements in 16 years as the school’s athletic director, is stepping down.
"Once in a while, we’re not able to live out our goals and objectives, and this is one of them," Weaver, 68, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.
He said he made the decision about four weeks ago and informed senior staff Monday.
Weaver, who revealed in 2008 that he is battling Parkinson’s disease, has had four back surgeries in recent years, along with a hip replacement, and is due to have both hips replaced in the near future. The surgeries are largely a result of the toll of Parkinson’s on his body, he said.
"I’m not leaving at all in defeat," he said. "I feel like it’s the best thing for me and my family."
Weaver arrived in September 1997, when the Hokies played football in the Big East and all other sports in the Atlantic 10. By 1999, the Big East invited the Hokies to become an all-sports member. Five years later, they moved again, joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004.
Under Weaver’s watch, the Hokies have expanded Lane Stadium to its current capacity of 65,632, added luxury suites, and built a new football complex that was completed in 2010. The three-story building has a locker room on the bottom floor, a lounge for the football team on the second and wrestling facility on the third floor. The space vacated by the football program was then renovated to improve the facilities of the school’s Olympic sports programs.
Virginia Tech also built a $20 million basketball practice facility that opened in 2009, complete with coaches offices and practice gyms for both the men’s and women’s teams, weight rooms and locker rooms, and this year added a new video board at Lane Stadium that is among the largest in the United States.
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said in a statement posted on the university website that Weaver "has significantly expanded the program’s size and quality winning in competition and in the classroom."
Steger said the school is in good shape financially and added: "I regret to see him leave this role. However, this is a demanding job. Jim’s health precludes him from maintaining the same commitment and devotion he has shown since arriving here in 1997."
Weaver, whose contract went through Dec. 31, 2015, said he intends to serve on the search committee. The school announced that Sharon McClockey, senior associate athletic director, will hold the position on an interim basis beginning Jan. 1, just as she did before Weaver was hired 16 years ago.