Virginia Tech hires Babcock as AD

Virginia Tech has hired Whit Babcock as its new athletic director, the school announced Friday.

Babcock, who has served as Cincinnati athletic director since 2011, has deep ties to the state. He was born and raised in Virginia, and played baseball at James Madison. He replaces Jim Weaver, who stepped down for health reasons.

"I would like to also thank the University of Cincinnati community which has been so wonderful to me and my family. I certainly owe a debt of gratitude to the students, staff, coaches, and administration there," Babcock said in a statement. "However, working for Virginia Tech is a unique and special opportunity. ... an opportunity to come home to Virginia and become part of the Hokie family is truly a dream come true. I am anxious to get started in Blacksburg and help build on Virginia Tech's success and upward trajectory."

While at Cincinnati, Babcock spearheaded facilities expansion projects, including the $86 million renovation of historic Nippert Stadium. He also pulled off one of the biggest football coaching hires of the 2012 season when Tommy Tuberville left Texas Tech to coach the Bearcats.

Before arriving at Cincinnati, Babcock served as executive associate athletic director at Missouri, where he oversaw all external relations and development operations in addition to serving as sport administrator men's basketball.

Desiree Reed-Francois will serve as interim athletics director at Cincinnati. She becomes the first Hispanic female athletics director on the FBS level.

Also Friday, the Hokies officially announced they hired former Texas assistant Stacy Searels as their new offensive line coach. Searels replaces Jeff Grimes, who resigned in January to accept a job at LSU. Searels spent the last three seasons with the Longhorns and also has coached at Georgia and LSU.