Features and Web Editor
Future hall of famer Frank Beamer concluded his legendary college football coaching career on Dec. 26 after leading the Virginia Tech Hokies to a win over Tulsa in the Independence Bowl. Coach Beamer is greatly respected and admired by many: fellow coaches, athletes, and fans.
His first collegiate head coaching position was at Murray State; he held that position for six years, and in 1987 he went back to where it all began: his alma mater Virginia Tech.
Starting in 1966, Beamer was a part of the Virginia Tech football team and played cornerback until the conclusion of the 1968 season. He has held the position of head coach for the past twenty-nine seasons. Under Beamer’s leadership the Virginia Tech football team has won a total of seven conference championships*, three in the Big East (1995, 1996, 1999) and four in the Atlantic Coast Conference (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010), two ACC Coastal division titles (2005, 2011), and of course one National Championship appearance in 1999. Before ending his tenure at Virginia Tech, Beamer was the winningest active head coach in Division I FBS, and he has lead Virginia Tech to twenty-three consecutive bowl games, holding the all-time NCAA record for consecutive bowl game appearances. Beamer also won over ten coaching awards in his time at Virginia Tech. Through the time of his tenure, over ninety of his players have continued on at the next level, including Antonio Freeman, Michael Vick, DeAngelo Hall, Duane Brown, Brandon Flowers, Kam Chancellor, Tyrod Taylor, and the Fuller brothers: Vincent, Corey, Kyle, and Kendall, who is predicted to be a first or second round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
In 1987 many things were different about college football. For instance in this day and age, Beamer would have been fired in his first couple years at VT for failing to deliver; the Hokies had a losing record of 40-24-2 his first six seasons. But enduring that rough patch paid off big time, going from being an independent Division I FBS team onto the Big East in 1991 and later into the ACC in 2004. Football as a whole has benefitted from Coach Beamer’s famous “Beamerball”, which can be summed up as hard hits, blocked kicks, punt returns, and overall special teams. Prior to his tenure, football was focused on offense and defense with few paying attention to what were then considered to be ‘transition plays’. In the time Beamer was coaching in Blacksburg, thirty-five different players have scored touchdowns on special teams, and a player at every position on the defensive unit has scored at least one touchdown.
Coach Beamer made Virginia Tech football, putting Blacksburg on the map. He was not only a coach to many young men but a friend and mentor to his players. Coach Beamer got a grand farewell at the last home game in Lane Stadium/Worsham Field, before finishing with a career record of 280–143–4. Happy retirement, Frank; we will neVer forgeT!