LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) Above the now shrouded field, old trophies are on display in the Ferebee Lounge, but it’s been a long time since the glory days of VMI football ... until this year.
“It’s the first time VMI has won four Southern Conference games in 40 years, and it’s the first time we’ve won 5 games in 17 years," said VMI Head Football Coach Scott Wachenheim. "And it’s also the first time in 17 years we’ve won the Silver Shako.”
That's the trophy for the annual grudge match between VMI and The Citadel, now proudly on display in the bookstore. It’s a good symbol for Coach Wachenheim’s success, though he prefers to spread the credit to his staff and players.
He says recruiting has been a key part as well, though it can be difficult to convince high schoolers to embrace VMI’s military lifestyle.
“You get used to people telling you no, and that’s okay," Wachenheim said. "You know, if this isn’t a place that they want, if they don’t want everything that we have to offer, that’s fine. And then you just go find the next young man that’s capable of doing it.”
And he’s been convincing enough that he built a team that brought him the Southern Conference’s Coach of the Year.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by your peers for doing your job well,” Wachenheim said of the award.
But he says he’s not done.
“I think the best is yet to come. I think our young men got a taste of winning," according to the coach. "Like I said, there’s unfinished business for next season for us to take care of. And I think our players will work knowing there is a reward on the football field at the end and they know our efforts are worth it.”
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