Branner Retires as Athletic Communications Director

Wade Branner waving, with text

Wade Branner ’83 retired in June after 39 years working in VMI athletics and 30 years serving as associate athletic director for communications at the Institute.

Wade Branner ’83, who has served as VMI associate athletic director for communications since 1992, announced his retirement from the post effective June 30, 2022.

Branner will continue to serve as the “Voice of the Keydets” calling play-by-play football and basketball games for ESPN+ broadcasts and the VMI Sports Radio Network.

“It’s been a rewarding 39-year run in the department—one that I will always cherish,” said Branner. “To be able to serve my alma mater and its athletics program has been truly gratifying and I look forward to continuing to broadcast games to the VMI community in the coming years.”

A 1983 VMI graduate, Branner interned under Mike Strickler ’71, then sports information director, shortly after graduation before becoming the school’s first full-time assistant SID in 1984. In 1986, he began play-by-play broadcast duties for Keydet football and basketball games.

Branner was promoted to sports information director in 1992 and named assistant athletic director for communications in 2001, while serving as the primary football and basketball contact. His work has involved game operations, media relations, marketing, and broadcast services including producing the Institute’s sports radio network and video streaming programming. He helped develop and guide strategies to promote the VMI athletic department, which grew from 12 to 18 NCAA sponsored sports and transitioned from print to digital platforms for its communications outreach. Branner also led media services support for several Southern Conference and Big South Conference championships held in Lexington as well as the NCAA Rifle championships.

In 2012, Branner received the Institute’s Distinguished Service Award and was also presented the VMI Achievement Award.

Branner has served on the VMI Sports Hall of Fame committee and emceed the event on multiple occasions. He is a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (COSIDA) and Virginia Sports Information Directors Association (VASID); served as a past vice president of the Southern Conference Sports Media Association; and participated in select Institute committees.

“Wade Branner is synonymous with VMI athletics,” said Jim Miller, VMI athletic director. “His commitment and contributions to the Institute are immeasurable.”

Branner is the longest active serving employee of the VMI athletic department and worked under five athletic directors and two interim directors during his time in athletic communications.

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