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Top 50 Hokies Spotlight: Duff Holbrook

By Ed Williams | August 17
Duff Holbrook

Wild Turkey Rocket Netting (Via OutdoorLife)

Herman “Duff” Holbrook is the definition of a Hokie. From the Tidewater region of Virginia to the lowlands of South Carolina, Duff did more for the animal that inspired our beloved mascot than anyone in US wildlife history.

After growing up along the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, Duff pursued his love for the outdoors at Virginia Tech earning a degree in Wildlife Management and Forestry. He later earned degrees from the University of Michigan.

Following his time at Virginia Tech, Duff put his career in wildlife on hold to serve during World War II. Duff served as a B-24 navigator with the Army Air Corps 376th bomb group in Italy. By the time the war was over, Duff flew in 14 combat missions.

Upon returning stateside, Duff took a job with the Georgia Fish and Game Department. He later moved on to the South Carolina Wildlife Department, to work on a project to restore the states wild turkey population.

Duff implemented a cannon-net technique in order to safely capture and relocate wild turkeys throughout the state, and later the region. By taking turkeys from the few areas they were thriving and relocating them throughout the state, the population was able to grow and expand in a matter of a few years. Wild turkeys can now be found in every county in South Carolina, and much of the population throughout the continent is due to the work of Mr. Holbrook.

Duff Holbrook passed away in 2015 at the age of 92, but his work with wild “Hokies” will have an impact for generations.

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After 3 years in Blacksburg, I graduated from Virginia Tech in the spring of 2019. Before transferring to VT, I played 1 year of lacrosse at another southwest VA school, Ferrum College. While I loved the D3 life, transferring to Virginia Tech was the best decision I've ever made. I loved every second of my 3 years and I wish it lasted longer.

You'll have a hard time finding a bigger VT Hoops fan than me. Watching the 2019 men’s basketball team make a run to the sweet 16 is by far my favorite VT sports memory, and I’m excited to watch Coach Mike Young get this program back to that level on a consistent basis.

Besides Virginia Tech athletics, I am a huge D.C. sports fan. The Nationals winning the 2019 World Series is my single favorite sports memory, and quite honestly will be very hard to beat. Hopefully a Virginia Tech football or basketball National Championship will give the Nats a run for their money in the near future.

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