Top 50 Hokies Spotlight: Bill Roth
If Frank Beamer is the father of all things sacred at Virginia Tech, then Bill Roth is the legendary "fun uncle."
In 1988, Roth was a young and spry college graduate out of Syracuse's Newhouse School when Virginia Tech offered him $18,000 and an apartment to become the Voice of the Hokies. What started out as a pretty sweet gig for a 22 year-old fresh out of school turned into a 27-year legacy of capturing unforgettable moments on air alongside color analyst Mike Burnop. Roth and Burnop narrated every step of the Hokies' rise to fame over the years. They covered everything from Orange Bowls to March Madness; from Rose Bowls to Sugar Bowls. Most notably, Roth was the voice chronicling each game of Michael Vick's 1999 season where the Hokies played in the National Championship. To this day, Hokie fans across the world still exclaim Roth's famous calls such as "Touchdown, Tech!" and "Tyrod did it, Mikey!" or "Give it to me Roscoe, Give it to me!"
The National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association awarded Roth as Virginia's Sportscaster of the Year a record 11 times. In 2013, Roth was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. One year later, Roth was inducted into Syracuse University's WAER Hall of Fame and joined the ranks alongside fellow WAER studs Sean McDonough, Mike Tirico, and Bob Costas.
In 2016, Roth joined ESPN's college football broadcasting team.
Nowadays, Roth brings life into Virginia Tech classrooms just as he brought life to Virginia Tech Athletics on the airwaves. Upon his return to the East coast after a year-long stint as UCLA's play-by-play voice, he established the Sports Media Analytics (SMA) program at VT. Roth is now known for transforming passionate students into cream-of-the-crop professional sports journalists and broadcasters. Thanks to Bill, Virginia Tech is the only school in the state with a stand-alone sports media major.
The best part about it? The students have completely bought into it and have a blast with it. In a world full of silent classrooms and boring lectures, Bill Roth brings the opposite. No games to attend at 11 a.m. on a Monday morning in Blacksburg? No problem. Roth will whip out the PS4, Madden '19, and a projector, simply turn on autoplay and crank up the volume to 100. This way, students can call games in an atmosphere that feels as if they were in a media booth beneath the Saturday night lights.
And on a personal note: Bill is so much more than just a play-by-play broadcaster or a professor. He has been a mentor to so many students who have felt lost or had no idea where to start in the daunting world of sports media, myself included. There are not many professors out there that will sit at PKs and casually chat with students about life or encourage students to shoot them a text at any time for advice. Without Bill's guidance (and brutal honesty at times), I know for a FACT I wouldn't be where I am today. All of the former, current, and incoming SMA students are so lucky to have a mentor like Bill to look up to and rely on. Cheers to him!