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Virginia Tech Head Coach Kenny Brooks Leaves for Kentucky

Kenny Brooks 2 VT OSU 2023 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

It's the end of an era in Blacksburg as Virginia Tech Women's Basketball head coach Kenny Brooks will become the next head coach at Kentucky, as Virginia Tech announced this morning.

Brooks leaves Virginia Tech after eight highly successful seasons in Blacksburg during which he led the Hokies to their first Final Four (2023), first ACC regular season title (2024), first ACC Tournament title (2023), and four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances which is the longest consecutive streak in men's or women's basketball history at VT and would be five if not for COVID.

He accumulated a record of 180-82 during his eight seasons at VT including 76-60 in conference play. He had seven seasons of 20+ wins, tied for the most in program history with Bonnie Henrickson, with Brooks doing so in a much tougher ACC.

Virginia Tech Athletic Director Whit Babcock made the following statement on Brooks' departure.

“We hired Kenny in 2016 with the intent of revitalizing our women’s basketball program,” Virginia Tech director of athletics Whit Babcock said. “Needless to say, Kenny, his staff and student-athletes created a culture of excellence on and off the court. He was an incredible mentor to the young women in our women’s basketball program and a terrific representative of our department and university. We wish Kenny and his family well in this next chapter of his career.

“I remain confident in the trajectory of our women’s basketball program and when combined with our resources, specifically NIL, that the future of our women’s basketball program is bright.”

Babcock will also address the media regarding the Brooks' departure sometime Wednesday.

There's no denying the magnitude of this loss for the Hokies. Brooks was undoubtedly one of the best coaches in any sport that Virginia Tech has ever had leading the Hokies to new heights that didn't seem possible previously.

Beyond that, the popularity of women's basketball exploded under Brooks' leadership with women's ACC games consistently having more fans actually in attendance than ACC games on the men's side.

However, Kentucky clearly appears to have more money and resources to give Brooks along with the completion of an arena renovation of Memorial Coliseum that likely increased the Wildcats' efforts to land a big time coach like Brooks.

The fact that Whit Babcock specifically commented on Virginia Tech's NIL offerings seems to make clear an indirect recognition by Babcock of the basketball industry view that VT is greatly lagging behind in NIL for their basketball programs. Whether that is fully true and if Babcock and Triumph NIL have grand plans to fix those issues rather than just being focused on football remains to be seen.

Looking ahead, Chattanooga head coach Shawn Poppie seemed like the clear top replacement candidate, but that seems very unlikely after news broke last night that Poppie had accepted the Clemson job.

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