2. Tony Bennett

Bennett has earned ACC coach of the year honors four times and national coach of the year honors twice since his reign as the Virginia men’s basketball coach began in the 2009-10 season. He led UVa to the program’s first NCAA title in April. UVa has won at least 29 games in five of the last six seasons. Virginia swept the ACC regular-season and tournament titles in both 2014 and 2018.

3. Luke Hancock

The Hidden Valley High School graduate began his college basketball career at George Mason, and hit the winning 3-pointer in the Patriots’ 2011 NCAA Tournament win over Villanova. After transferring to Louisville, he helped the Cardinals win the 2013 NCAA title and became the first backup to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. He also shined in the 2014 NCAAs, helping Louisville make the Sweet 16. He is now an analyst for the ACC Network.

4. Whit Babcock

Babcock has put his imprint on Virginia Tech since coming aboard in 2014 as the Hokies’ athletic director. He began the revival of the men’s basketball program by hiring Buzz Williams as coach. He replaced Williams this year with Mike Young after Williams exited. He also hired football coach Justin Fuente, wrestling coach Tony Robie, women’s basketball coach Kenny Brooks and softball coach Pete D’Amour, among others. He also worked to boost the athletic department financially.

5. Jailyn Ford

The two-time Timesland softball pitcher of the year led Bath County High School to state titles in 2011 and 2012 with her arm and bat. She was again a two-way threat at JMU, earning All-America honors and helping the Dukes make the NCAA Super Regionals. She was named the MVP of the National Pro Fastpitch championship series this year after helping the USSSA Pride win its second straight title.

6. J.J. Redick

The Cave Spring graduate has spent the entire decade in the NBA, moving from Orlando to Milwaukee to the Los Angeles Clippers to Philadelphia to New Orleans. He averaged 15.8 points in his four seasons with the Clippers and averaged 17.6 points in his two years with the 76ers. He led the NBA in 3-point field-goal percentage (47.5%) in the 2015-16 regular season. He has made at least 200 3-pointers in four of the last five seasons.

7. Troy Daniels

The William Fleming graduate made 251 3-pointers in his VCU career. He played for three NCAA tournament teams, including the Rams’ 2011 Final Four team. Rising up from the NBA Development League, Daniels made his NBA debut in 2014 with Houston. He then played for Minnesota, Charlotte, Memphis and Phoenix before joining the Los Angeles Lakers this year.

8. Matt Hagan

The Christiansburg driver and Auburn High School graduate won the NHRA Funny Car series titles in 2011 and 2014. He also twice finished second and twice finished third in the points standings this decade. Hagan, who won the 2016 U.S. Nationals, was named the NHRA Funny Car driver of the decade by Autoweek.

9. Lanto Griffin

The Blacksburg High School graduate turned pro after concluding his VCU golf career in 2010. He earned his PGA Tour card for the 2017-18 season and played in 28 PGA events, but he was unable to keep his card and had to go back to a lower-tier tour. After earning his PGA Tour card for the 2019-20 season, he won the Houston Open in October for his first PGA Tour win.

10. Brian O’Connor

The UVa baseball coach steered the Cavaliers to their first NCAA title in 2015, earning national coach of the year honors. It was UVa’s third College World Series appearance of the decade. He led UVa to more than 400 wins during this decade.

11. Frank Beamer

The legendary football coach’s 29-season reign at Virginia Tech ended with his 2015 retirement. He steered Tech to the ACC title in 2010. He had a winning season in each of his six years as coach this decade, including an 11-win season in 2011. Beamer, a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

12. Mekhi Lewis

As a redshirt freshman, Lewis became Virginia Tech’s first NCAA wrestling champ in March. The eighth-seeded Lewis was named the most outstanding wrestler of the tournament after going 5-0 at 165 pounds, including wins over the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals, the No. 4 seed in the semis and the No. 2 seed in the final. Lewis, who won gold at the 2018 junior world championships, has qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic trials.

13. Amanda Hollandsworth

Hollandsworth was the 2013-14 Timesland female athlete of the year and the Timesland golfer of the year as a Floyd County High School senior, when she also shined in basketball. After winning a state golf title in high school, she helped the Virginia Tech women’s golf team make two NCAA tournament appearances. She took fifth at the 2019 NCAA championships. She turned pro before competing in the U.S. Women’s Open in May.

14. Stephen Magenbauer

Magenbauer’s 15-season reign as the Salem High School football coach ended when he retired in March. His Spartans won three straight state titles from 2015-17 after finishing as runner-up in 2014.

15. Mike Jones

Jones has served as the Radford University men’s basketball coach since the 2011-12 season. He steered the Highlanders to the Big South tournament crown and an NCAA Tournament win in 2018. The team tied for the Big South regular-season title the following season. Jones has led Radford to wins over a number of major-conference foes, including Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Texas.

16. Tarell Basham

Basham helped the Franklin County High School football team win district titles in 2010 and 2011. As an Ohio University senior, he was named the 2016 Mid-American Conference defensive player of the year. Basham was drafted by Indianapolis in the third round in 2017 and now plays for the New York Jets.

17. Andrew Rowsey

The Rockbridge County graduate was named the Timesland boys basketball player of the year in 2011, 2012 and 2013. After earning All-Big South honors at UNC Asheville, he transferred to Marquette. He was named the Big East sixth man of the year in 2017. He broke Marquette single-season marks for points and 3-pointers as a senior. He is now in the NBA G League.

18. Tyrod Taylor

The quarterback was named the ACC football player of the year in 2010, when he led Virginia Tech to the ACC crown. The Baltimore Ravens draft pick has spent the rest of the decade in the NFL. He now plays for the L.A. Chargers.

19. Malcolm Brogdon

The former UVa star was named the ACC men’s basketball player of the year for the 2015-16 season. He was drafted by Milwaukee in 2016 and was named the NBA rookie of the year the following season. He now plays for Indiana.

20. Kristi Castlin & Leah Smith

Both were Olympic medalists in 2016. Castlin, who concluded her Virginia Tech track career in 2010 as a seven-time All-American, won bronze in the 100 hurdles in Rio. Smith won gold and bronze in swimming in Rio. Smith concluded her UVa career in 2017 as a four-time NCAA champ.

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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