|VMI Keydets Football|
|Athletic director||Donny White|
|Head coach||Sparky Woods|
|Home stadium||Alumni Memorial Field|
|Stadium surface||Bermuda grass|
|Conference||Big South Conference|
|Past conferences||Southern Conference|
|Postseason bowl record||0–0|
|Colors||Red and Yellow|
|Fight song||"The Spirit"|
|Mascot||Moe the Kangaroo|
The VMI Keydets football team represents the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. The Keydets compete in the Big South Conference of the NCAA Division I FCS, and are currently coached by Sparky Woods, now in his 4th year. VMI plays their home contests at 10,000-seat Alumni Memorial Field, as they have since 1962.
VMI is biggest rivals against The Citadel, as the two teams have battled 67 times, with Citadel leading the series 35-30-2. The winner of each game receives an award known as the "Silver Shako", which has rested at The Citadel since 2003. The last contest occurred on October 29, 2011, as The Citadel won convincingly 41-14. In addition to The Citadel, VMI has minor rivalries with William & Mary and Richmond. The Tribe and the Keydets first met in 1908, and William & Mary leads that series 52-33-2. VMI's competition with Richmond goes back farther, to just their third year of existence (1893). Richmond has won 41 games to VMI's 40, and the teams have tied five times. Also, the Keydets have played Virginia and Virginia Tech 82 and 79 times, respectively.
- 1 Conference affiliations
- 2 History
- 3 Current coaching staff
- 4 Record vs. Big South opponents
- 5 Championships
- 6 Future schedules
- 7 Head coaches
- 8 Facilities
- 9 Traditions
- 10 Rivalries
- 11 Notable players
- 12 NCAA Records
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
VMI football dates back to 1873 with a one game season, featuring a 4–2 loss to Washington and Lee. No player or coaching records are known from that game. However, the Keydets would not have another intercollegiate team until 1891 under coach Walter Taylor. The Keydets went 3–0–1 with a win and tie against Washington and Lee and by defeating St. John's and Pantops Academy.
VMI had a combined 3 coaches and a total record of 32–10–2 during the 19th century, setting the tone as being one of the state's top football schools.
VMI continued to have success on the field during the early 1900's. Sam Walker became the head coach from 1900–1902, and, after compiling a head coaching record of 11–7–3, was replaced by future College Football Hall of Famer William Roper. Roper was less successful, going 5–6 with the Keydets in only two years.
Nevertheless, VMI continued their winning ways in 1911, under Alpha Brummage. In two years with Brummage, VMI went 14-2, stumbling only to Virginia and St. John's. They were 7–1–2 under Henry Poaque the following year. In 1920, Blandy Clarkson lead VMI to its third ever perfect season at 9–0. VMI had joined the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association at this point in time, and had been a member since 1918.
With the finished construction of Alumni Field in 1921, VMI football no longer needed to play on the Parade Ground situated in front of the barracks. The stadium was placed around the same place it is today, and was completed at a total cost of $69,000. The Keydets went 3–5–1 in the stadium's inaugural year, which included key wins over in-state opponents Roanoke, Hampden–Sydney, and a stunning victory over Virginia.
Blandy Clarkson era
After two years with VMI, the Keydets were 12–5–1 under Clarkson. He led the Institute to a 16–3 record during the years of 1923 and 1924, which was just when VMI joined the Southern Conference. In their first SoCon season, VMI went 6–3–1, good for 13th place in a massive conference of 22. After Clarkson departed from the Institute following the 1926 season, he totaled a record 44–21–2 in seven years, the most wins by any Keydet head coach at the time.
William Raftery era
Following the departure of Clarkson, Worcester, Massachusetts-native William "Bill" Raftery took over head coaching duties of VMI. The Keydets were 6–4 his first season, ranking among the last in the SoCon. Raftery led the team to an 8–2 season in 1929, but it was the last winning season under Raftery's reign, which lasted until 1936. In ten years his record at VMI was 38–55–5.
Allison Hubert era
Allison Hubert took over for his predecessor Raftery in the 1937 season. Nicknamed "Pooley", Hubert was a Mississippi native and a veteran of World War I. After leading Alabama to the 1926 national championship, Hubert coached several sports at Southern Miss in the early 1930's. He went 5–5 in his first season with the Keydets. Hubert's most successful season with VMI was in 1940, where the squad finished 7–2–1, though it was only good enough to get them 7th in the conference. Hubert left with a 43–45–8 record under his belt after ten seasons.
Tom Nugent era
When Arthur Morton left VMI for Mississippi State in 1949, he was 9–8–1 with the Keydets.Tom Nugent took his place that January. Nugent was famous for developing the I formation, though it did not happen until the year after he left VMI. Though the first two years were nothing special, Nugent took the 1951 squad to their first SoCon championship with a 7–3 record. The season included a 34–0 shutout of Richmond, a 29–6 drubbing of Wofford, a 27–21 win over rival Citadel, and a 20–7 win over Virginia Tech in the season finale. Nugent left following the 1952 season.
Alumni Memorial Field and John McKenna era
Possibly the greatest decades in VMI football history were under John McKenna. In his thirteen years with the Keydets, McKenna had a record of 62–60–8, and won four SoCon championships. These occurred in 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1962.
Bob Thalman era
Bob Thalman came to VMI in 1971. Coming from the University of Richmond, he previously coached at Hampden–Syndey. Thalman brought another two SoCon championships to VMI in 1974 and 1977. He departed in 1984 after a miserable 1–9 season.
Eddie Williamson took over the head coaching position for four years, all losing seasons. He was followed by Jim Shuck, Bill Stewart, Ted Cain, and Cal McCombs until 2005. No coach could produce a winning season for the Keydets.
In 2003, VMI joined the Big South Conference after 79 years in the SoCon. VMI still could not get back to its winning ways. They were under the direction McCombs, who would be fired after 2005. Jim Reid would coach for two years, with a 3–19 record. Sparky Woods, the current coach for the Keydets, became the 30th head coach in 2008. Still, VMI has not posted a winning season since 1981.
Current coaching staff
|Sparky Woods||Head Coach|
|Matt Campbell||Offensive Coordinator/Off. Line|
|Jeff Farrington||Defensive Coordinator/DB's|
|Greg Shockley||Running Backs Coach/Recruiting Coord.|
|Eric Brown||Inside LB's|
|Greg Harris||Outside LB's|
|George Handler||Quality Control/Tight Ends|
|Winston October||Wide Receivers Coach|
|Don Woods||Chief of Staff/Defensive Line Coach|
Record vs. Big South opponents
|School||Series||First meeting||Last meeting|
|Charleston Southern||VMI 6–5||2000||2011|
|Coastal Carolina||CCU 2–6||2003||2011|
|Stony Brook||SBU 4–0||2008||2011|
|1949||Tobacco Bowl||Richmond Spiders||W 14–7|
|1952||Tobacco Bowl||Virginia Cavaliers||L 33–14|
|1963||Oyster Bowl||Navy Midshipmen||L 21–12|
|1964||Tobacco Bowl||Virginia Cavaliers||L 20–19|
|1967||Tobacco Bowl||William & Mary||L 33–28|
|1969||Tobacco Bowl||Virginia Cavaliers||L 28–10|
|1974||Tobacco Bowl||Virginia Tech Hokies||W 22–17|
|1975||Tobacco Bowl||Richmond Spiders||L 24–19|
|1976||Tobacco Bowl||Virginia Tech Hokies||L 37–7|
|1976||Oyster Bowl||Virginia Cavaliers||W 13–7|
|1978||Tobacco Bowl||Richmond Spiders||W 23–6|
|1980||Oyster Bowl||Virginia Tech Hokies||L 21–6|
|1981||Oyster Bowl||The Citadel Bulldogs||W 14–0|
|1982||Tobacco Bowl||Richmond Spiders||W 14–0|
|1982||Oyster Bowl||Virginia Tech Hokies||L 14–3|
|1984||Oyster Bowl||Virginia Tech Hokies||L 54–7|
|1987||Oyster Bowl||William & Mary Tribe||L 17–6|
|1988||Oyster Bowl||The Citadel Bulldogs||L 31–20|
|1990||Oyster Bowl||William & Mary Tribe||L 59–47|
|1991||Oyster Bowl||The Citadel Bulldogs||L 14–17|
|1992||Oyster Bowl||Richmond Spiders||L 41–18|
|1993||Oyster Bowl||William & Mary Tribe||L 49–6|
|1994||Oyster Bowl||The Citadel Bulldogs||L 58–14|
|1995||Oyster Bowl||Georgia Southern Eagles||L 31–13|
|1899||1–0||Samuel Boyle, Jr.|
|Sep. 1||@ Delaware State|
|Sep. 22||@ Navy|
|Oct. 13||@ Charleston Southern|
|Oct. 20||Coastal Carolina|
|Oct. 27||@ Gardner-Webb|
|Nov. 3||@ Stony Brook|
|Nov. 10||The Citadel|
|Aug. 31||@ Richmond|
|Sep. 21||@ Virginia|
|Oct. 12||Charleston Southern|
|Oct. 19||@ Coastal Carolina|
|Nov. 2||@ Liberty|
|Nov. 9||@ Presbyterian|
|Nov. 16||@ The Citadel|
|Nov. 23||Stony Brook|
|Sep. 6||@ Bowling Green|
|Nov. 15||The Citadel|
Sparky Woods, the current Keydet head coach, is the 30th all-time. (Note: From 1892-1894, the team had no coach)
|R. N. Groner||1897||1897|
|Earl Abell & Mose Goodman||1918||1918|
|W. C. Raftery||1927||1936|
|Donny White #||1998||1998|
Pound sign (#) denotes interim head coach
Alumni Memorial Field
Alumni Memorial Field at Foster Stadium, located on the VMI post, has been the home of VMI football games since 1962. Completed at a cost of around $250,000, Foster seats 10,000. The stadium went through a major $12 million renovation process in 2006, with new ticket booths, concourses, restrooms, and a new scoreboard and jumbotron. The field's surface is Bermuda Grass. The VMI Lacrosse team also plays about 5 home games here each Spring.
Sprinturf Field serves as the Keydets practice facility, made of artificial grass. It also serves host to 1-2 lacrosse games throughout the season.
- Moe the Kangaroo
VMI chose a kangaroo to represent the school as a mascot in 1947, when two cheerleaders saw one on a magazine cover and thought how "uncommon the animal was as a mascot". Originally the kangaroo was named TD Bound, but later changed to Moe at an unknown time. VMI is one of four colleges with a marsupial mascot. Zippy of Akron is the one other school with a kangaroo mascot.
- 12th Man
Around 20 minutes before VMI home games, the Corps of Cadets march from their barracks down to Foster Stadium while the regimental band plays. VMI uniquely requires every student to attend the football games from start to finish.
- Little John
A replica of a 1750 Howitzer cannon, "Little John" is a corps-owned cannon fires when the Keydets come on to the field, and after every VMI score and quarter end. The one currently in use was designed by Col. Cary S. Tucker. The previous one was retired to the VMI museum after the undefeated 1957 football team finished.
Arguably VMI's biggest rival, The Citadel and the Keydets have played 66 times in a match up known as the Military Classic of the South. The teams first met in 1920, where VMI cruised to a 35–0 shutout win in Lynchburg. The most recent meeting occurred in 2011, when The Citadel prevailed 41–14. The Silver Shako (the trophy awarded to the winner) has rested in Charleston since 2003. The Classic has been set to be played once every year through 2016, with the current contract.
|Tim Maypray||Montreal Alouettes||2010–present|
|Gregory Clifton||Washington Redskins||1993|
|Thomas Haskins||Montreal Alouettes||1997–2002|
|Sam Horner||Redskins, New York Giants||1960–1962|
|Joe Muha||Philadelphia Eagles||1946–1950|
|Ray Reutt||Pittsburgh Steelers||1943|
|Mark Stock||Redskins, Steelers, Indianapolis Colts||1989, 1993, 1996|
|Bobby Thomason||Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers||1949–1957|
Team single game
- Most Rushing Attempts: 90 vs. East Tennessee State, 1990 (FCS record)
- Fewest passing yards allowed: -16 vs. Richmond, 1957 (FBS record)
Individual single season
- Most punts: 101, Jim Bailey, 1969 (FCS record)
- Alumni Memorial Field at Foster Stadium - Home of VMI Keydets Football
- 2010 VMI Football Record Book
- Virginia Military Institute Summary
- The 1921 Bomb
- 1924 Southern Conference Year Summary
- 1927 Southern Conference Year Summary
- VMI Event Calendar 2012
- VMI Event Calendar 2013
- Bowling Green Falcons 2014 Schedule
- VMI Event Calendar 2014
- Sprinturf Field
- VMI Kangaroo
- 12th Man
- Little John