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Virginia Tech basketball coach wants everyone to know his Hokies are playing Gators, not Jehovah's Witnesses

Mike Young apologizes for 'insensitive remark' during pre-tournament news conference
Virginia Tech Hokies basketball coach Mike Young in February 2021
Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 22:47:22-04

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Virginia Tech basketball coach Mike Young has apologized for his "insensitive remark" about Jehovah's Witnesses while discussing his team's upcoming opponent in the NCAA tournament.

During Tuesday's pre-tournament news conference, Young was asked about the Hokies' first-round matchup against Florida and whether he looks ahead at the bracket or just focuses on one team at a time.

Here's what the Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year had to say:

"We're not playing the Jehovah's Witness all-star team here. We're playing the Gators, man. We're playing the Gators. I do know who our next opponent would be if we were lucky enough to win, but there's not a chance in hell you start thinking about anything, nothing. I will not clip about anything but coach (Mike) White's Gator team, and that's the same for my team. This is it. This is one game and if you play poorly or get outplayed, I'm going to be walking out the hall after talking to you guys via Zoom and there's going to be an NCAA representative telling me, 'Your plane leaves in 45 minutes. Good luck to you. Go get your stuff packed and get out of here.' It may not be that tough, but let's play well and play a good ball game. Let's see what happens."

Hours later, Young issued the following statement through the team:

"Earlier today on the NCAA tournament conference call, I attempted to show my respect for our upcoming opponent, the University of Florida. Regrettably, I didn't articulate that sentiment in an appropriate manner. I apologize for my insensitive remark and am sincerely sorry for anyone I may have offended."

The Hokies, who are the No. 10 seed in the South region, will face seventh-seed Florida at 12:15 p.m. Friday in Indianapolis.