Beamer of light: Virginia Tech coach is class act

11/25/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak

In case you missed it over the weekend, Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer coached his final home game for the Hokies. Metallica whose "Enter Sandman" the Hokies take the field to, recorded a special message for him. ESPN put together a touching tribute. And despite losing to North Carolina in overtime, Beamer's players carried him off the field. All of it for a very deserving coach who coined the term "Beamer Ball" for his emphasis on a complete team effort.
Frank Beamer took over as head coach at Virginia Tech in January of 1987. Now in his 29th season, he has won 235 games and his teams have qualified for a bowl game each of the past 22 seasons. That's quite impressive considering when he took over as head coach, Virginia Tech had only been to 6 bowl games ever prior to Beamer's arrival. Beamer went 5 and 17 his first two seasons in Blacksburg, due in part to scholarship reductions stemming from violations of the previous coaching regime.
But Beamer took Virginia Tech from being an afterthought to becoming a power in both the Big East and then the ACC. Beamer's Hokies were Big East champions 3 times and have been ACC champions 4 times. Beamer was the AP and AFCA Coach of the year in 1999, a year in which he won 5 additional coach of the year awards. His teams have won 10 games on seven occasions and have won 11 games in six seasons. He is the only coach at Virginia Tech to ever win 11 games in a season. He's won 10 bowl games as well. Beamer was the Big East coach of the year 3 times and the ACC coach of the year twice. He was also named Big East coach of the decade after the league celebrated their first 10 years of existence.

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Beamer is most famously associated with the phrase "Beamer Ball". That's considered to be Beamer's approach that putting points on the board is a full team effort. Blocked punts and field goals were staples of Beamer's teams. Special teams and defensive scoring were as important as offensive touchdowns. That emphasis on special teams has led to 35 different players scoring special teams touchdowns during his tenure.
But it wasn't just what Beamer's done on the field that gave him the lore he has at Virginia Tech. It's what he's done off the field as well. Following the shooting massacre at the university in 2007, Beamer met with the parents of the victims and spoke to them. He walked the campus and when he saw students crying in the aftermath, he stopped to talk to them and tell them that Virginia Tech will overcome this. He said that act of violence wouldn't define the university and that one person wouldn't destroy the good that goes on there every day.
In today's world of college football, we see coaches jump from job to job almost yearly. The days of guys like Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, and Frank Beamer, guys who spent their entire careers in one place, are gone. So here's hoping Virginia Tech can win their last game and qualify for that 23rd straight bowl game. And that they win so Frank Beamer can be carried off the field on a winning note. The way a champion on and off the field deserves to be.

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