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Sons of Saturday and the Virginia Tech Spring Game Weekend – It was a Ton of Fun!

By Rich Luttenberger | April 21
VT spring game Gaughran
(Photo by Bob Gaughran)

Spring game weekend is arguably the best weekend of the year in Blacksburg. Unlike a regular fall football visit, a Virginia Tech spring football game weekend trip includes a full agenda of engaging events for fans and alumni, and the actual game is only one small part of the fun.

The Sons of Saturday was a significant part of several outstanding events for Hokie Nation, while the Monogram Club, the university itself, and several other groups contributed to the fun-packed “Hokie Hi” weekend.  There were plenty of options to enjoy being a Hokie, as fans, alumni, and former Tech athletes made their way “home” for the three days.

For Those to Come Golf Outing

The Sons of Saturday was one of several significant sponsors of Friday morning’s For Those to Come golf tournament, hosted by the Virginia Tech Monogram Club.  This was the third year of the event and first at the beautiful Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech in Radford.

Finn Foursome with cup Devin Wilson
Former Virginia Tech Athletes and their guests played at the third annual For Those To Come golf tournament during spring game weekend (Photo by Devin Wilson)

As a Monogram Club event, the tournament consisted of mostly former athletes and their guests as they competed in a golf scramble.  Sean Glennon, Davon Morgan, Ike Charleton, Bruce Taylor, Chad Beasley, and Cody Journell were some of the former Tech football players among the 100 or so participants.

To add to the enjoyment of playing in the scramble with friends and former athletes, the Monogram Club sent the Commonwealth Cup out with Devin Wilson, a former two-sport athlete and current Director of Student-Athlete Alumni Engagement at Virginia Tech.  What Hokie fan wouldn’t relish the opportunity to take a few photos with that cup?

Finn Selfie with Devin and Cup
Golfers were able to enjoy a few photos with the Commonwealth Cup (Photo by Pat Finn)

Sons of Saturday co-founder and podcast co-host Pat Finn played in the tournament, and despite the weather, he enjoyed the event, particularly the new venue.  “I always feel naturally charged up when I get to play the River Course,” he said.  “It’s a challenging course with wind, water, and postage stamp greens.” 

Despite the wind and the inherent course difficulty, it is an absolutely gorgeous setting, and the For Those to Come golf outing enjoyed another successful year.

Edmunds Family Reunion Reception

Early Friday evening, the Monogram Club and the Edmunds family hosted the Reunion Reception in the Sanghani Players Lounge for Monogram Club members and their families.   This year’s reunion was sort of a “who’s who” of Tech football, as numerous big-name football alum and former coaches were on hand with the other Virginia Tech athletes of the Monogram Club.

Former Tech safety Davon Morgan played an integral part in planning the events for the players.  In an interview with former lineman Dwight Vick, he shared his vision for the weekend.  “I wanted to create an environment where all the alumni had an itinerary, a place to be,” he said.  “Bringing everybody together full circle, seeing everybody enjoy themselves, it means everything.”

Claiborne kids Monogram club
Among the football alumni were several men who played for head coach Jerry Claiborne, including Frank Beamer (Photo by Christian Wilson/Peoproductions)

“Feedback was super positive,” admitted Devin Wilson, who enjoyed watching all the former student-athletes reconnect.  The room was packed and spirits were high.

Billy Ray Mitchell, co-founder and co-host of the Sons of Saturday Podcast, was also an interview subject of Vick.  Mitchell reflected on the positivity of the night: “It’s a special event that I haven’t seen replicated anywhere else.”

The crowded gathering is just further emphasis that Hokies will always view Blacksburg as home.

Spring Jam

The Friday night fun continued at the Sons of Saturday’s third annual Spring Jam at McClain’s at First and Main. Many of the football alumni and coaches who were at the Edmunds reception were also at the Spring Jam, giving fans and guests the opportunity to interact in a casual setting.

The Spring Jam was originally created in conjunction with the start of Head Coach Brent Pry’s tenure in Blacksburg.  That is when spring game weekend morphed into what it is now – a weekend of events where alumni are encouraged to return and reconnect.  And so the Spring Jam was born.  According to Pat Finn, “We really wanted to amplify the opportunity for people to have somewhere to go and a place to be Friday night.”

Hite spring Jam chase wingfield 2
Former Tech running backs coach Billy Hite was one of many of the former coaches and athletes to attend the Spring Jam (Photo by Chase Wingfield)

On this night, a lot of people took advantage of that opportunity to gather at McClain’s.

 “This year may have been my favorite Spring Jam,” said Finn.  “It had a lot of familiar faces and a lot of fun people.  It was particularly exciting to meet Kevin Drones (Kyron’s father) and see former players like Tyrod Taylor, Tremaine Edmunds, Silas Dzansi, and Nick Cullen, to name a few.”

If you are in town for next year’s spring football game, make it a priority to be at the Spring Jam!

Cam Phillips BRM Hunter Cattoor Chase Wingfield 2
Former Tech wide receiver Cam Phillips (second from left) and basketball guard Hunter Cattoor (third from right) pose with Billy Ray Mitchell and friends (Photo by Chase Wingfield)

3.2 for 32 Run in Remembrance

A significant event of the weekend is the annual 3.2 for 32 Run in Remembrance. Although it is not a Sons of Saturday event, it is the most poignant experience for any Hokie in Blacksburg for the weekend. 

A record crowd of approximately 18,000 showed up for this race, which is technically not a race.  It is not a timed event; rather, all participants are welcome, from serious runners to casual walkers.  It is a great way for Hokie Nation to come together to remember the 32 victims of the 2007 tragedy.

This year’s race started in front of Patton Hall.  At 9 am the white balloon arch was raised for a 32 second moment of silence. It was a powerful scene as 18000 people immediately went silent. 

When the next balloon arch went up, the first runners took off, followed by waves of runners, joggers, and walkers.  The course took them around campus, with the highlight coming about halfway through when the participants entered the tunnel to Lane Stadium. 

The “Let’s Go…Ho-kies” cheers in the tunnel were deafening, and the opportunity to touch the Hokie Stone and run into Lane Stadium is bucket-list material for any Hokie.  After emerging from the tunnel, everyone was then greeted with high-fives from a line players that ended with JC Price.

The race ended near the starting line, with much festivity to celebrate the day.  For those fortunate to finish the race early enough, they were greeted by Coach Pry and a few of the upperclassmen, putting a special cap on an otherwise amazing event.  If you have never participated in the 3.2 for 32 Run in Remembrance, be sure to sign up for one in the near future – it is one of those events that every Virginia Tech student, staff member, or alum should experience.

The Spring Game Pregame Show

For the second straight year, members of the Sons of Saturday joined with other Hokie media personalities to broadcast a live pregame show.  This year’s event was at TOTS (Top of the Stairs, formerly known as the Balcony to many) and was also streamed live on YouTube.

The Pregame Show was the brainchild of the Two Deep Podcast host Pete Bertheaud.   “I wanted to do an in-person panel that brought together the ‘independent’ Hokies media members during spring game weekend,” he said.  “We obviously preview the spring game and break down the roster, but we also have a lot of fun.”

“Ultimately, the camaraderie among the guys and the community aspect of the show is what I love most about the event,” Bertheaud shared.  “Instead of tearing each other down in a crowded and competitive podcast space, we support each other and embrace the fact that we all have the same goal - to build up and promote Hokies athletics through our various platforms.”

If you missed the show, you can watch a condensed highlight video here.

Panel at TOTS boundary corner
L-R: Brian Seigla of Boundary Corner podcast, Dan Pultz of Tales from the Terrordome podcast, Sam Jessee of both Sons of Saturday and Two Deep Podcast, Pat Finn of Sons of Saturday, and Pete Bertheaud of Two-Deep Podcast. (Photo by the Boundary Corner Podcast)

The Actual Spring Football Game

Of course, Saturday afternoon is for the spring football game, the event for which the weekend is named.  It is one more opportunity for fans to gather, tailgate, and watch their beloved football team play.

While the crowd was decent (estimates generally fall between 25,000 and 30,000), the spring game vibe is so much different than it is for a regular home game.  Everything is so much more relaxed, from gate entry to seating to the actual rules of the game.  Yet fans get to see the Hokies play football, and in this particular year, that brings a lot of excitement.

With several starters sitting out or seeing limited action, the game provided a glimpse of the future, as so many underclassmen and newcomers received plenty of opportunities on the field. 

It was also nice to see so many football alumni in attendance.  Over one hundred former Tech players came back home for the game, and reports claimed that there were about a hundred and fifty recruits on hand as well.

Fans were also treated to an in-game experience that is typical of a regular season game.  In addition to the usual fan involvement, there were on-field interviews with wrestling national champion Caleb Henson and new women’s basketball coach Megan Duffy.

So even though the spring game resembles a scrimmage more than a game, it was another noteworthy event for fans in a weekend chock full of opportunities for engagement.

Make the Virginia Tech Spring Game Weekend a Priority!

When Brent Pry took over as head coach, the spring game weekend took a turn for the better. The actual game has been held on the same weekend as the Run in Remembrance each year under Pry, and it has become a fun-filled three-day series of events.

The Sons of Saturday and the Monogram Club have helped build spring game weekend into what it is now – one of the best weekends of the year on campus.  Mitchell noted that it is a cumulative effect of Hokie Nation coming together that makes it a special weekend.

“The Spring Jam has been such a fun experience for us,” he said, “but overall, all the events from the Monogram Club golf event and reception to the 3.2 for 32 run to the actual game, it’s an incredible weekend where so many contribute to make it great.”

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, spring game weekend is the best weekend at Virginia Tech.” 

— Pat Finn

Wilson noted how the rising excitement surrounding the football team and the effects of a few years of laying the foundation are what made this spring game weekend so successful.  He summed it up beautifully when he said, “The momentum is rolling.” 

It certainly is.  Like a freight train.  Next stop, Nashville!  We will see you all in the Music City for the Sons of Saturday Takeover!

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Born in the Bronx but otherwise raised in northern New Jersey, my Hokie life began in the fall of 1989. I walked on to the baseball team and spent a year and a half as a redshirt catcher. After my stint with the baseball team ended, I finished my time at Tech on the ice hockey team, playing Hokie hockey as a club sport. Despite this pursuit of other sporting interests, my passion became Tech football, and I have been a die hard fan ever since.

When I’m not obsessing over Hokie sports, I enjoy running, traveling, and fostering dogs. And of course, spending time with my wife and three kids. My “real job” is as a high school English teacher, where I have worked for over a quarter of a century (and everyone in the building knows where Mr. Lutt went to school). My daughter is now a Hokie - as if I needed another reason to make the long drive to Blacksburg!

I started my sports writing journey with Gridiron Heroics, covering Virginia Tech football and some college sports news. But I’m excited to join the Sons of Saturday now and I look forward to adding content through my story-telling abilities.

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