Brent Pry. Courtesy of Sneakin Deacon.

Head coaching debuts in the same year for Brent Pry at Virginia Tech and Tony Elliott at Virginia are not as unusual as some might believe.

Their predecessors, Justin Fuente at Virginia Tech and Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia, also took over their programs in the same year, 2016.

Much earlier than that, Jimmy Sharpe was named Tech’s head coach in 1974, the same year that Sonny Randle was hired by Virginia. Before that, Tech installed Charlie Coffey as its head coach in 1971, the same year as Don Lawrence at UVa.

Opponent

Pry’s coaching opponent in the Hokies’ opener Friday at 7 p.m. at Old Dominion is Ricky Rahne, who is in his third year with the Monarchs. He previously spent six seasons on the staff at Penn State, where Pry was one of his colleagues. 

Rahne was the quarterbacks coach at Penn State for four years and also served as the offensive coordinator for two years. He was a quarterback at Cornell, where he is in the hall of fame, and later coached at Kansas and Vanderbilt.

Personnel

Old Dominion wide receiver Ali Jennings III, who had 66 receptions for more than 1,000 yards for the Monarchs last year, began his college career at West Virginia. where he spent two seasons before transferring to ODU. He went to high school at Highland Springs in the Richmond area.

Staffing

Another ex-Mountaineer, J.B. Lageman, is new to the staff at VMI, where he will coach the defensive line. Lageman was a defensive lineman at West Virginia and later coached at Concord University and was an assistant at Louisville. 

Recruiting

Maryland has taken a men’s basketball commitment from 6-5 DeShawn Harris Smith from Paul VI in Fairfax, who is rated the No. 89 prospect in the country by rivals. com. The Terps earlier had landed the No. 49 player on that list, Jamie Kaiser Jr. from Burke, Va., by way of the IMG in Bradenton, Fla. 

Big win for ex-Wahoo

Former Virginia tennis standout Danielle Collins had never won a game in the U.S. Open before defeating past champion Naomi Osaka in the second round Tuesday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Collins, making her seventh appearance at the US Open, won NCAA singles championships while at UVa in 2014 and 2016 after beginning her college career at the University of Florida.

Recruiting

Kaveion Keys, a linebacker from Varina High School outside Richmond, has committed to North Carolina over Penn State, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. Keys is rated the No. 9 prospect in the state by Rivals.com. It comes less than a week after the No, 10 prospect on that list, Paul Billups Jr., a linebacker from Chesapeake, committed to the Tar Heels.

Four of the top 11 players on that list are committed to UNC and coach Mack Brown.

Women’s Hoops

Virginia Tech has commitments from three women’s basketball players ranked among the top 100 prospects in the class of 2023 by Hoop Gurlz.

 They are No. 59 Carys Baker from the Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut; No. 60 Mackenzie Nelson, a point guard from St. Luke’s in Connecticut, and No. 75 Samyha Suffren from Mallard Creek, N.C.

UVa has a commitment from Olivia McGhee from IMG Academy. She’s No. 42 on the same list.

Projections

Virginia Tech is 25th and UVa is 44th in preseason men’s basketball rankings for the 2022-23 season, according to 247Sports. Duke is first overall and Pittsburgh is next among ACC schools at No. 23. A concern for Duke is Dariq Whitehead, who has undergone surgery for a fractured right foot in recent days.  

Surfacing

 Karl Kuhn, not retained after two seasons as the baseball coach at Radford, has joined the staff at Charleston Southern, where he will be the pitching coach. He was the pitching coach for the UVa baseball team that won the 2015 College World Series.

The Highlanders’ new baseball coach, Alex Guerra, most recently was an assistant coach at James Madison after earlier serving as a Radford assistant. He earlier had played at Radford after transferring from Greensboro College.

Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington, D.C., through his undergraduate years at the University of Virginia, and 47 years at the Roanoke Times...