T. Marshall Hahn was the President of Virginia Tech then. He was an incredible man and maybe one of the best college president leaders of his time.
I played baseball and lived in Miles Hall for two years with the other Virginia Tech athletes. (When I say I played baseball, that is giving me too much credit, I played as a freshman and “practiced” to play as a sophomore.)
I knew even as a nothing baseball player down the hall that both of those guys were the real deal and would become great coaches. As an aside, I also knew that my friend, Johnny Oates would become a big league player and manager and he did both.
Both Frank Loria and Frank Beamer would become college football coaches. Frank Loria’s life would be cut short in the Marshall football team plane crash. Frank Beamer would become the Virginia Tech head coach in 1987.
He didn’t start out very well. But Virginia Tech believed in him and he became a legend and the active coach with the most victories.
Frank Beamer announced his retirement on Monday and gave a press conference. While I’m sure there comes a time to “move on” and hire a younger coach, I was teary eyed listening to Frank and watching this about him.
Virginia Tech alums and fans became so accustomed to 10 win seasons with major bowl appearances that when we didn’t do as well the last four seasons, many wanted Frank to retire. He did, but you could tell he was very sad.
I could feel his pain as I watched.
So many have come forward and shared wonderful stories about Frank Beamer. I want to share just one that I read on Facebook. Please click here and read it because it shows what kind of person Frank Beamer is.
I’m writing a novel. If you know about writing you likely know about a character’s “arc.” In my novel, my protagonist Gina comes to realize she has focused all her attention on what she has achieved, rather than focusing on what kind of person she has become.
Frank Beamer has achieved so very much. He put Virginia Tech on the map, created Beamer Ball and played for a national championship with an underdog team.
But for those Virginia Tech grads who know more than the wins and losses, we will always treasure the man, the unassuming guy from Fancy Gap, Virginia, who was the real deal and showed everyone respect. That is true character.
We love you Frank. Thanks for being the guy any parent would want a son to play for.