Frank Beamer

Last updated

Frank Beamer
Frank Beamer September 2016.jpg
Beamer in 2016
Biographical details
Born (1946-10-18) October 18, 1946 (age 73)
Mount Airy, North Carolina
Playing career
1966–1968 Virginia Tech
Position(s) Cornerback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1972 Maryland (GA)
1973–1976 The Citadel (DL)
1977–1978The Citadel (DC)
1979–1980 Murray State (DC)
1981–1986Murray State
1987–2015 Virginia Tech
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2016–present Virginia Tech (special assistant to the AD) [1]
Head coaching record
Overall280–143–4
Bowls11–12
Tournaments0–1 (NCAA D-I-AA playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
1 OVC (1986)
3 Big East (1995, 1996, 1999)
4 ACC (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010)
5 ACC Coastal Division (2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011)
Awards
AFCA Coach of the Year (1999)
Associated Press Coach of the Year (1999)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (1999)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1999)
George Munger Award (1999)
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (1999)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award (1999)
Joseph V. Paterno Coach of the Year Award (2010) [2]
3x Big East Coach of the Year (1995, 1996, 1999)
2x ACC Coach of the Year (2004, 2005)

Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award (2019)

College Football 150's Top 25 Coaches in Bowl History (2019)

Contents

College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2018

Franklin Mitchell Beamer (born October 18, 1946) is a retired American college football coach, most notably for the Virginia Tech Hokies, and former college football player. [3] Beamer was a cornerback for Virginia Tech from 1966 to 1968. His coaching experience began in 1972, and from 1981 to 1986 Beamer served as the head football coach at Murray State University. He then went on to become the head football coach at Virginia Tech from 1987 until his final game in 2015. He was one of the longest tenured active coaches in NCAA Division I FBS and, at the time of his retirement, was the winningest active coach at that level. Upon retiring, Beamer accepted a position as special assistant to the Virginia Tech athletic director, where he focuses on athletic development and advancement. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018. [4]

Early life and playing career

Sign in Fancy Gap, Virginia Fancygap.jpg
Sign in Fancy Gap, Virginia

Beamer was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, [5] and grew up on a farm in Fancy Gap, Virginia.

Beamer is a direct descendant of the notorious Allen clan of Carroll County, Virginia. In 1912, during a court trial, his great-uncle, Floyd Allen, fired rounds in a spasm of violence. The courtroom shooting left five people dead, including the judge, a prosecutor, and the county sheriff. [6]

In 1953, at the age of seven, Beamer suffered a life altering accident. After using a push broom to keep a pile of burning trash in place, he returned it to its place in the garage, unaware that it was smoldering. A spark ignited a nearby can of gasoline, which exploded in front of him. His 11-year-old brother, Barnett saved him by rolling him around on the ground. He was left with burns on his shoulders, chest, and the right side of his neck. Over the next several years, Beamer underwent dozens of skin graft procedures, leaving him with permanent scarring. [7]

Beamer attended high school in Hillsville, Virginia, and earned 11 varsity letters in three different sports: football, basketball, and baseball. In 1966, he attended Virginia Tech and played football. He was a starting cornerback for 3 years, playing in the 1966 and 1968 Liberty Bowls. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1969 and attended Radford University for graduate school, while serving as an assistant football coach at Radford High School.

Coaching career

Early coaching positions

Beamer began as an assistant at Radford High School from 1969 through 1971. His college coaching experience began in 1972, when he became a graduate assistant for the University of Maryland, College Park. After one season, he became an assistant coach at The Citadel under Bobby Ross. He spent seven seasons at The Citadel, the last two as the defensive coordinator.

Murray State

Beamer was hired as the defensive coordinator at Murray State University in 1979 under head coach, Mike Gottfried. In 1981, after two seasons as defensive coordinator, he was promoted to head coach. In his six years as head coach, Beamer compiled a record of 42–23–2 (.642). He hired former Murray State defensive back, Bud Foster as a graduate assistant in 1981. Foster later joined Beamer's coaching staff at Virginia Tech in 1987.

Virginia Tech

Early years (1987–1992)

Beamer during the 1987 football season Frank Beamer 1987.jpg
Beamer during the 1987 football season

On December 22, 1986, Beamer was hired as the head coach at Virginia Tech, replacing Bill Dooley, the winningest coach in school history to date. However, Dooley had been forced to resign due to numerous NCAA violations. Beamer signed a four-year contract worth $80,000 annually, hired by Virginia Tech's new athletic director, Dale Baughman, also replacing Dooley in that capacity. Beamer took over a Virginia Tech football program that had reached six bowl games to that point (three under Dooley).

As a result of the violations uncovered under Dooley's watch, the Hokies were limited to 85 total scholarships in 1988 and 1989, and 17 initial scholarships in 1989. The sanctions hampered the Hokies, and Beamer went a combined 5–17 in 1987 and 1988. Beamer's record in his first six seasons was 24-40-2, a win percentage of .385. After the team went 2–8–1 in 1992, athletic director Dave Braine believed in Beamer and thought he deserved more time. It proved to be a wise decision; the Hokies would not suffer another losing season under Beamer's watch. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] At his hall of fame induction, Beamer said he would have been unlikely to survive his early years had he been coaching in the 2010s. [13]

Big East (1993–2003)

In 1993, the Hokies would go 9-3 and won the Independence Bowl; at the time, it was only the fourth time in school history that the Hokies had won as many as nine games in a season. The Hokies would go on to a combined record of 75–21 from 1993 to 2000. This included the Hokies' first major-bowl appearances in school history, after the 1995, 1996 and 1999 seasons. The peak year in this stretch was 1999, when the Hokies went 11–0 in the regular season earning a spot to the 2000 Sugar Bowl to play Florida State for the BCS National Championship. Behind the play of quarterback Michael Vick, Virginia Tech led Florida State 29–28 early in the fourth quarter, but lost 46–29. The Hokies finished third in the AP Poll and second in the Coaches' Poll–the highest final rankings in school history, and the highest for a Division I team from the Commonwealth.

ACC (2004–2015)

Beamer takes the field with the 2007 Virginia Tech Hokies football team Frank Beamer takes the field.jpg
Beamer takes the field with the 2007 Virginia Tech Hokies football team

Virginia Tech continued its bowl eligibility streak into the new millennium and won the 2004 ACC Championship in its first season in the league. Over the course of the next seven seasons, from 2005 to 2011, Virginia Tech won at least 10 games every season. The Hokies were the only team in the country to do so. Beamer's record from 1993 to 2011 was 185–58 for a winning percentage of .761. This was the 4th highest win percentage in the country over this period. [14] Although Virginia Tech went just 28–23 from 2012 to 2015, the Hokies still finished each season with a winning record and a bowl bid.

On November 1, 2015, Beamer announced his retirement from coaching, effective at the end of the 2015 season. He was carried off the field after beating Virginia in the final regular season game to become bowl eligible. [15] Beamer's last game was a 55–52 win over Tulsa in the Independence Bowl on December 26. Memphis' Justin Fuente replaced Beamer as the head football coach at Virginia Tech at the end of the 2015 season. [16]

Beamer takes the field with his team for the final time in the 2015 Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, on December 26, 2015. 2015 Independence Bowl.jpg
Beamer takes the field with his team for the final time in the 2015 Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, on December 26, 2015.

Coaching records and awards

Beamer amassed an overall record of 238–121–2 (.663) in his 29 years at the school. His teams went to postseason play after every season from 1993 until his retirement in 2015. The Hokies' consecutive bowl appearances streak–the longest in the nation at the time– has continued under his successor, Justin Fuente. [17] At the time of his retirement, Beamer owned all of the Hokies' 11-win seasons in school history, as well as all of the seasons in which the Hokies won 10 games on the field. Bill Dooley's last team, in 1986, finished with nine wins on the field, but was awarded a tenth win by forfeit. [18]

Beamer's teams won three Big East championships and four ACC titles. Beamer won many awards over his career. He was named the Big East Coach of the Year three times, in 1995, 1996, and 1999. He also was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005.


Bowl Games and Results

Beamer led the Virginia Tech Hokies to 23 consecutive Bowl games beginning in his 7th Season in 1993 until he retired in 2015. It was the 2nd longest active consecutive bowl streak in the country at the time of his retirement. [19]

Bowl Games as Head Coach of Virginia Tech: 1993-2015
#SeasonBowl GameStadiumLocationOpponentResultRecord
11993 Independence Bowl Independence Stadium Shreveport, LA Indiana HoosiersWin 45-201-0
21994 Gator Bowl Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Gainesville, FL Tennessee Volunteers Loss 45–231-1
31995 Sugar Bowl Louisiana Superdome New Orleans, LA Texas Longhorns Win 28–102-1
41996 Orange Bowl Pro Player Stadium Miami Gardens, FL Nebraska Cornhuskers Loss 41–212-2
51997 Gator Bowl Alltel Stadium Jacksonville, FL North Carolina Tar Heels Loss 42-32-3
61998 Music City Bowl Vanderbilt Stadium Nashville, TN Alabama Crimson Tide Win 38–73-3
71999 Sugar Bowl Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA Florida State Seminoles Loss 46–293-4
82000 Gator Bowl Alltel StadiumJacksonville, FL Clemson Tigers Win 41–204-4
92001 Gator Bowl Alltel StadiumJacksonville, FL Florida State Seminoles Loss 30–174-5
102002 San Francisco Bowl Pacific Bell Park San Francisco, CA Air Force Falcons Win 20–135-5
112003 Insight Bowl Bank One Ballpark Phoenix, AZ California Golden Bears Loss 52–495-6
122004 Sugar Bowl Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA Auburn Tigers Loss 16-135-7
132005 Gator Bowl Alltel StadiumJacksonville, FL Louisville Cardinals Win 35–246-7
142006 Chick-fil-A Bowl Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA Georgia Bulldogs Loss 31–246-8
152007 Orange Bowl Pro Player StadiumMiami Gardens, FL Kansas Jayhawks Loss 24–216-9
162008 Orange Bowl Pro Player StadiumMiami Gardens, FL Cincinnati Bearcats Win 20–77-9
172009 Chick-fil-A Bowl Georgia DomeAtlanta, GA Tennessee Volunteers Win 37–148-9
182010 Orange Bowl Pro Player StadiumMiami Gardens, FL Stanford Cardinal Loss 40–128-10
192011 Sugar Bowl Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, LA Michigan Wolverines Loss 23–208-11
202012 Russell Athletic Bowl Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium Orlando, FL Rutgers Scarlet Knights Win 13–109-11
212013 Sun Bowl Sun Bowl Stadium El Paso, TX UCLA Bruins Loss 42–129-12
222014 Military Bowl * Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Annapolis, MD Cincinnati Bearcats Win 33–1710-12
232015 Independence Bowl Independence StadiumShreveport, LA Tulsa Golden Hurricane Win 55–5211-12

* Assistant Head Coach, Shane Beamer was the acting Head Coach for the 2014 Military Bowl.

Retirement and post-coaching career

On November 1, 2015, after 29 seasons as head coach of Virginia Tech, Beamer announced his retirement from coaching, effective at the end of the 2015 season. During his tenure, he coached the Hokies to 23 consecutive bowl games, including a national championship appearance, along with seven conference championship titles. [20] At the time of his retirement, he was the winningest active coach in Division I FBS with 280 career victories. [21] and is the sixth winningest coach in history at the Division I FBS level. [22]

Special assistant to the Virginia Tech athletic director

In late 2015, shortly after announcing his retirement at the end of the season, Beamer signed an eight-year contract with Virginia Tech, serving as a special assistant to Whit Babcock, director of athletics at Virginia Tech, focusing on athletic development and advancement. [23]

College Football Playoff Committee

On January 17, 2017, Beamer was appointed to the College Football Playoff Committee. Beamer joined the 13-member panel, which was formed when the College Football Playoff was implemented in 2013. It is a 3-year appointment and he was the 14th person to be named to the committee. The members meet each of the final six weeks of the regular season to create a weekly poll of the top 25 teams in the country. The panel determines the top four college football teams for the playoff games to decide the national champion. [24]

Legacy

Beamer in 2006 Frank Beamer.jpg
Beamer in 2006

Hall of Fame Inductions

Hall of FameYear
Virginia Tech Hall of Fame [25] 1997
Murray State Hall of Fame [26] 2004
Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame [27] 2016
Virginia Sports Hall of Fame [28] 2017
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame [28] 2017
Sun Bowl Legend [28] 2017
College Football Hall of Fame [28] 2018
Orange Bowl Hall of Fame [29] 2018

Honors and tributes

"Beamerball"

During Beamer's tenure at Virginia Tech, putting points on the scoreboard has become a full team effort with the offensive, defensive and special teams units. Often when the team scores one or more non-offensive touchdowns, the style of play is described as "Beamerball". Since Beamer's first season in 1987, a player at every position on the defensive unit has scored at least one touchdown, and 35 different players have scored touchdowns on Virginia Tech's special teams. [30]


Beamer Way

On August 6, 2015, Virginia Tech renamed Spring Road to 'Beamer Way' in honor of Beamer. Located on the west side of Lane Stadium, it is the primary access route to the campus sports facilities. The Virginia Tech Athletics Department also changed its mailing address to '25 Beamer Way' to commemorate his jersey number as a player at the school. [31]


#25 Beamer Jersey

Before the beginning of the 2016 football season, new coach Justin Fuente and his staff collaborated on ideas of how to honor Beamer during the season. On August 29, 2016, the team announced that as an homage to Beamer's transcendent contributions and dedication to special teams, one deserving special teams player would be chosen to wear the number 25 jersey for each game of the 2016 season, earning the title "Special Teams Player of the Week". Beamer wore the number 25 when he played at Virginia Tech as a cornerback from 1966 to 1968. The honorary jersey became so popular with the players, fans and coaches that the team continued the tradition beyond the 2016 season. [32] [33]


Frank Beamer Day

February 4, 2016 was declared "Frank Beamer Day" in the Commonwealth of Virginia by Governor Terry McAuliffe. In a ceremony on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol in front of a crowd of Virginia Tech students, faculty, and alumni— including his wife, Cheryl Beamer, government affairs directors, Paul Rice and Harvey Creasey III, and university president, Timothy Sands— Governor McAuliffe presented Beamer with a framed certificate to honor his achievements as the head coach of the Virginia Tech football program. [34]

Beamer-Lawson Indoor Practice Facility

On October 6, 2018, Virginia Tech renamed its indoor practice facility to the "Beamer-Lawson Indoor Practice Facility". The building, constructed in 2016 was renamed for Beamer and the family of John Lawson, a former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and longtime donor


Frank Beamer Statue

On October 6, 2018, a permanent bronze statue, honoring Beamer's legendary coaching career at Virginia Tech, was unveiled on Moody Plaza outside the Southwest entrance to Lane Stadium, on Virginia Tech's Campus. [35]


Other honors

Personal life

Beamer married Cheryl (née Oakley) on April 1, 1972. The two met on a blind date, arranged by Cheryl's sister Sheila, while Beamer was a senior at Virginia Tech. [43] They have two children, Shane and Casey, and five grandchildren. His son, Shane played football at Virginia Tech as a long snapper, and was a member of the 1999 team that played for the national championship. After assistant coaching stops at four different universities, Shane was hired by Virginia Tech in 2011 as the running backs coach and associate head coach. [44] Shane left Virginia Tech upon his father's retirement in 2015 and currently serves as the tight ends and H-backs coach at the University of Oklahoma. [45]

In 2006, Beamer and his wife Cheryl published the children's book Yea, It's a Hokie Game Day! under Virginia publisher Mascot Books, Inc. [46]

After the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, Beamer was a powerful voice in the Blacksburg community, stating that the most important thing that the Virginia Tech and surrounding community could do was to disallow the act of violence to define the university. Beamer is quoted as saying, “We can’t let one person destroy what goes on here every day, the caring, the thoughtfulness. We can’t let one person destroy that.” [47]

Head coaching record

YearTeamOverallConferenceStandingBowl/playoffsCoaches#AP°
Murray State Racers (Ohio Valley Conference)(1981–1986)
1981 Murray State8–35–3T–2nd9
1982 Murray State4–72–5T–5th
1983 Murray State7–44–34th
1984 Murray State9–25–2T–2nd13
1985 Murray State7–3–15–2T–2nd17
1986 Murray State7–4–16–1T–1stL NCAA Division I–AA First Round 18
Murray State:42–23–227–16AP rankings from NCAA Division I–AA Poll
Virginia Tech Hokies (NCAA Division I-A Independent)(1987–1990)
1987 Virginia Tech 2–9
1988 Virginia Tech 3–8
1989 Virginia Tech 6–4–1
1990 Virginia Tech 6–5
Virginia Tech Hokies (Big East Conference)(1991–2003)
1991 Virginia Tech 5–61–0
1992 Virginia Tech 2–8–11–4
1993 Virginia Tech 9–34–34thW Independence 2022
1994 Virginia Tech 8–45–22ndL Gator 24
1995 Virginia Tech 10–26–1T–1stW Sugar 910
1996 Virginia Tech 10–26–1T–1stL Orange 1213
1997 Virginia Tech 7–55–22ndL Gator
1998 Virginia Tech 9–35–2T–2ndW Music City 1923
1999 Virginia Tech 11–17–01stL Sugar 32
2000 Virginia Tech 11–16–12ndW Gator 66
2001 Virginia Tech 8–44–3T–3rdL Gator 1818
2002 Virginia Tech 10–43–4T–4thW San Francisco 1418
2003 Virginia Tech 8–54–34thL Insight
Virginia Tech Hokies (Atlantic Coast Conference)(2004–2015)
2004 Virginia Tech 10–37–11stL Sugar 1010
2005 Virginia Tech 11–27–11st (Coastal)W Gator 77
2006 Virginia Tech 10–36–22nd (Coastal)L Chick-fil-A 1819
2007 Virginia Tech 11–37–11st (Coastal)L Orange 99
2008 Virginia Tech 10–45–3T–1st (Coastal)W Orange 1415
2009 Virginia Tech 10–36–22nd (Coastal)W Chick-fil-A 1010
2010 Virginia Tech 11–38–01st (Coastal)L Orange 1516
2011 Virginia Tech 11–37–11st (Coastal)L Sugar 1721
2012 Virginia Tech 7–64–44th (Coastal)W Russell Athletic
2013 Virginia Tech 8–55–3T–2nd (Coastal)L Sun
2014 Virginia Tech 7–63–5T–5th (Coastal)W Military
2015 Virginia Tech 7–64–4T–4th (Coastal)W Independence
Virginia Tech:238–121–2126–53‡ The Big East did not begin full round-robin play until 1993
Total:280–143–4
      National championship        Conference title        Conference division title or championship game berth

See also

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