Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer: The most underrated coach in college football


A model of consistency, Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer could very well be the best head coach not brought up in such conversation. 

The Virginia Tech Hokies could be the luckiest football team in the country. Roaming the sidelines is head coach Frank Beamer, one of the best head coaches you can find at the college level. For 28 seasons and counting we have found coach Beamer leading his Hokies onto the field and in each of those seasons he has had his legend grow and to this day it has no visible limit.

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Unfortunately, with all of his accomplishments he is still rarely considered one of the best and gets shoved under the rugs and it’s an injustice to an illustrious legend in Blacksburg, Virginia.

When you think of the greatest coaches in the history of college football, you likely think of the Tom Osborne, Bobby Bowden, Bo Schembechler, Joe Paterno, Bear Bryant and Woody Hayes, among others. And when Beamer decided to call it a career and retire, he should be remembered in similar fashion.

Beamer, heading into 2015, has registered 273 career victories, the most of any active coach and comes in sixth overall. His main goal when he took over Virginia Tech in 1987 was to have the Hokies reach a consistent level of excellence and with a 231-115-2 record (67 percent win percentage), he has accomplished that goal.

He played for a BCS National Championship Game with star quarterback Michael Vick in 2000 and after entering the ACC in 2004, Beamer was tasked with adapting to a new conference. In that year, the Hokies were picked to finish sixth in the league and instead won the ACC title and headed to a BCS bowl.

From that season on Virginia Tech was in BCS discussions as they went 32-8 the next three seasons, winning division and conference titles along the way. In the following three seasons the program amassed two 11-win seasons and rarely found themselves on the outside looking in working their way into 22 straight bowl appearances, the longest in the nation.

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Beamer attributes much of the success he has had to overall stability within the program, which includes defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who could have left Virginia Tech and been a head coach long ago. Having that strong foundation makes it incredibly intriguing to prospective players looking to find a home to produce and move on to the next level. He has coached 93 players who were drafted into the NFL, including No. 1 pick Vick, Kevin Jones, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Flowers, Corey Fuller, Kyle Fuller and DeAngelo Hall. Despite his success at grooming players to be professional athletes, Beamer takes greater pride in grooming them into better people.

If you have ever heard the phrase “Beamerball” and wondered the origin, the answer to that is in Lane Stadium thanks to the fine attention placed on scoring in all three phases of the game. If points aren’t placed on the board in each, there is a certain level of disappointment from the coaching staff. Beamer’s teams at Virginia Tech have blocked 134 kicks and have 327 interceptions.

Breaking it down further, every position on the defense has produced a touchdown, and 39 different players have scored touchdowns on special teams. Totaling 139 touchdowns and 122 coming in the last 271 games. Astonishing if you ask me.

Some notable accomplishments Beamer include:

  •  41 victories against the AP Top 25
  • 100 percent graduation rate of seniors since 2012
  • 4 ACC titles in 12 seasons – no team has more over that span
  • 13 seasons of 10+ victories
  • Sugar and Orange Bowl victories
  • Won an ACC championship in first year
  • Played in five ACC championship games
  • 1999 National Coach of the Year

The legend of Beamer goes beyond the football field. He is an avid believer in humanitarian efforts and in 2004 was presented the Humanitarian Award by the National Conference for Community and Justice for his contributions to fostering justice, equity, and community in the Roanoke Valley. Being a better person takes precedence before becoming a better player. A true testament to a players coach who expects excellence on and off the field.

As he approaches 69 years of age, he is still one of the most flamboyant coaches on any sideline. Using his love for the game and the atmosphere to drive his enthusiasm every Saturday. Known as a coaching treasure, you would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive coach that is more well-respected than Beamer, and with retirement near, make sure you appreciate him while he’s still patrolling the sideline.

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