Frank Beamer Leaves an Extraordinary Legacy


I make an effort to be as unbiased as possible on this site as we attempt to cover all school’s equally. We probably fail sometimes, but we try to do things in a way that reflects well on our site and the SportWar Network.

It’s the kind of intention that Frank Beamer embodies on a daily basis. Full disclosure, I’m a Tech graduate so prepare for yet another poetic waxing on a highly respected man.

Like so many people, I have my fair share of Frank Beamer stories beginning when I was a kid. In my interactions with him, he’s always been warm and genuine even when he didn’t have to be. I can recall one time in college when my friends and I were making the return trip from a game against North Carolina. We saw coach Beamer when we stopped to get gas somewhere in Chapel Hill — we later learned he was driving to visit his ailing mother who later passed away and who Frank named his Herma’s Readers Foundation after.

We shouted congratulations on the win and he thanked us. He asked if we were headed back to Blacksburg and when we said yes, he told us to be careful. On a different occasion, this time as a student journalist, my colleague Neal and I were at practice and Neal was filming during a period that wasn’t for outside consumption. Beamer noticed, came over, and asked what outfit we were with. Neal told him and Frank said, “Oh yeah, I remember you,” then politely asked him not to film that stuff. I shudder to think what someone like Jim Harbaugh would have done.

There are so many stories about Beamer’s kindness and generosity, and the best part about them is that they’re all true. There’s not a bone in the man’s body that has a negative intention, and he could have easily behaved in the boorish, maniacal manner that many successful coaches do. But that wouldn’t be the right way to do things, and coach is nothing if not devout about doing things the right way.

That’s why ‘Beamer Way’, the street outside Lane Stadium that was renamed this fall is so fitting. There’s a humble elegance about the way he’s carried himself and represented his university. He’s a rarity for his manner as much as for his longevity, something we likely won’t see again in the modern era of inflated salaries and monumental expectations.

It’s not just football either. After the April 16th shootings on campus, Frank shed tears with all of us but then went on national television and told the world what being a Hokie means. He led students, faculty and the community with the same quiet reassurance he’s utilized for so long on sidelines all across the country.

He should have an enormous bronze statue outside Lane Stadium, but something tells me he wouldn’t allow it, unless Cheryl Beamer convinced him to do it.

The only time I can even somewhat say that Beamer was cocky was at his initial press conference when he was hired in December of 1986. The entire athletic department was on probation and the football program was under heavy sanctions from the Bill Dooley era. But Beamer came out and talked about competing for the national championship.

Fans who already didn’t know him then really wondered, “Is this guy crazy?”

He wasn’t. Not in the slightest. And he wasn’t arrogant either. He was a man with an impressive vision and the drive to match. He was given just enough time to do it right and make things work, and work they did.

When asked at his retirement press conference how he’d like to be remembered, Beamer had a fitting description of himself.

“He is who he is. Honest, caring, respectful,” he said.

“I know the biggest part of this business is relationships and caring about people. It can’t be fake, it has be to real…” he went on to say.

It was coach. It was.

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