Frank Beamer

Frank Beamer

Beamer at age 59
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1946-10-18) October 18, 1946
Mount Airy, North Carolina
Alma mater Virginia Tech
Playing career
1966–1968 Virginia Tech
Position(s) Cornerback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1972 Maryland (GA)
1973–1976 The Citadel (DL)
1977–1978 The Citadel (DC)
1979–1980 Murray State (DC)
1981–1986 Murray State
1987–2015 Virginia Tech
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2016–present Virginia Tech (special assistant to the AD)[1]
Head coaching record
Overall 280–143–4
Bowls 10–12
Tournaments 0–1 (NCAA D-I-AA playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
1 OVC (1986)
3 Big East (1995–1996, 1999)
4 ACC (2004, 2007–2008, 2010)
5 ACC Coastal Division (2005, 2007–2008, 2010–2011)
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)

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. Beamer remains at Virginia Tech in the position of special assistant to the athletic director, where he focuses on athletic development and advancement.[4]

Early life and playing career

Beamer was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina,[5] grew up on a farm in Fancy Gap, Virginia, went to high school in Hillsville, Virginia, and earned 11 varsity letters in high school as a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. He then attended Virginia Tech and was a starting cornerback for 3 years on the football team, 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.

Beamer is a direct descendant of the Allen clan of Carroll County, Virginia; his great-uncle, Floyd Allen, fired rounds at the county courthouse in a spasm of violence in 1912 that left five people dead, including the judge, a prosecutor, and the county sheriff.[6]

In 1954, when Beamer was seven years old, he used a push broom to help keep a pile of burning trash in place. When the job was done he returned the broom to the garage not knowing that its bristles were still 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, but Frank was left with burns on his shoulders, chest, and the right side of his neck. He underwent dozens of skin graft procedures that left him with permanent scarring.[7]

Coaching career

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. He moved on to become the defensive coordinator at Murray State University in 1979 under Mike Gottfried. After two seasons, he was promoted to head coach and compiled a record of 42–23–2 (.642) in six years. On December 22, 1986, Beamer was hired as the head coach at Virginia Tech. Beamer was to replace Bill Dooley, whose nine-year tenure was the most successful in terms of total wins and winning percentage in school history. However, he had been forced to resign due to numerous NCAA violations. Beamer signed a four-year contract worth $80,000 annually. Virginia Tech's new athletic director, Dale Baughman, who was hired to replace Dooley in that capacity, received criticism for hiring Beamer. "Some people have questioned this decision because he is not a big name," Baughman said at the time. "But it's a sound decision, and I'm standing by it."[8]

Beamer took over a Virginia Tech football program that had reached only six bowl games to that point, three of which were under Dooley. He spent his first few seasons laboring under scholarship reductions imposed by the NCAA due to violations under Dooley; the Hokies were limited to 85 total scholarships in 1988 and 1989, and 17 initial scholarships in 1989. Beamer has since built the Hokies into a perennially ranked team. In 29 years at the helm of VT, his overall record was 238–121–2 (.663). His teams went to postseason play after every season from 1993 until his retirement in 2015; the 23 consecutive bowl-appearance streak was the longest in the nation as of 2015.[9] He owns all but one of the Hokies' 10-win seasons, and all of their 11-win seasons.

During Beamer's tenure at Virginia Tech, the program evolved from independent status to a member of the Big East Conference to a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. His teams won three Big East championships and four ACC titles. Beamer was named the Big East Coach of the Year three times, in 1995, 1996, and 1999.

In 1999, Beamer led Virginia Tech to arguably the greatest season in school history. The Hokies, helmed by freshman quarterback Michael Vick, went undefeated in the regular season and appeared in the Sugar Bowl, where they lost a bid for the national championship to Florida State. Despite the national title game loss, Beamer won several coach of the year awards. Beamer was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 2004, his first year competing in the conference. He repeated as ACC Coach of the Year in 2005 while leading his team to the ACC Coastal Division title and an appearance in the inaugural ACC Championship Game. His team was also given the Fall Sportsmanship Award in its inaugural season in the ACC.[10]

On November 1, 2015, Beamer announced his retirement from coaching at the end of the 2015 season which concluded with a 55-52 win over Tulsa in the Independence Bowl on December 26. At the time of his retirement, he was the winningest active coach in Division I FBS with 280 career victories.[11] and is the sixth winningest coach in history at the Division I FBS level.[12] Memphis' Justin Fuente replaced Beamer as the head football coach at Virginia Tech.[13]

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.[14]

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


Beamer takes the field with the 2007 Virginia Tech Hokies football team

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.[15]

Personal life

Fancy Gap, Virginia, Beamer's hometown, shows its pride in Beamer

Frank Beamer married his wife Cheryl (née Oakley) on April 1, 1972. The two met on a blind date, arranged by Cheryl's sister Sheila, while Frank Beamer was a senior at Virginia Tech.[16] 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.[17] Shane left Virginia Tech upon Frank's retirement in 2015 and currently serves as the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Georgia.[18]

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.[19]

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.”

Career Record as a Head Coach

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Murray State Racers (Ohio Valley Conference) (1981–1986)
1981 Murray State 8–3 5–3 T–2nd 9
1982 Murray State 4–7 2–5 T–5th
1983 Murray State 7–4 4–3 4th
1984 Murray State 9–2 5–2 T–2nd 13
1985 Murray State 7–3–1 5–2 T–2nd 17
1986 Murray State 7–4–1 6–1 T–1st L NCAA Division I–AA First Round 18
Murray State: 42–23–2 27–16 AP 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 5–6 1–0
1992 Virginia Tech 2–8–1 1–4
1993 Virginia Tech 9–3 4–3 4th W Independence 20 22
1994 Virginia Tech 8–4 5–2 2nd L Gator 24
1995 Virginia Tech 10–2 6–1 T–1st W Sugar 9 10
1996 Virginia Tech 10–2 6–1 T–1st L Orange 12 13
1997 Virginia Tech 7–5 5–2 2nd L Gator
1998 Virginia Tech 9–3 5–2 T–2nd W Music City 19 23
1999 Virginia Tech 11–1 7–0 1st L Sugar 3 2
2000 Virginia Tech 11–1 6–1 2nd W Gator 6 6
2001 Virginia Tech 8–4 4–3 T–3rd L Gator 18 18
2002 Virginia Tech 10–4 3–4 T–4th W San Francisco 14 18
2003 Virginia Tech 8–5 4–3 4th L Insight
Virginia Tech Hokies (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2004–2015)
2004 Virginia Tech 10–3 7–1 1st L Sugar 10 10
2005 Virginia Tech 11–2 7–1 1st (Coastal) W Gator 7 7
2006 Virginia Tech 10–3 6–2 2nd (Coastal) L Chick-fil-A 18 19
2007 Virginia Tech 11–3 7–1 1st (Coastal) L Orange 9 9
2008 Virginia Tech 10–4 5–3 T–1st (Coastal) W Orange 14 15
2009 Virginia Tech 10–3 6–2 2nd (Coastal) W Chick-fil-A 10 10
2010 Virginia Tech 11–3 8–0 1st (Coastal) L Orange 15 16
2011 Virginia Tech 11–3 7–1 1st (Coastal) L Sugar 17 21
2012 Virginia Tech 7–6 4–4 4th (Coastal) W Russell Athletic
2013 Virginia Tech 8–5 5–3 T–2nd (Coastal) L Sun
2014 Virginia Tech 7–6 3–5 T–5th (Coastal) W Military
2015 Virginia Tech 7–6 4–4 T–4th (Coastal) W Independence
Virginia Tech: 238–121–2 124–52 ‡ The Big East did not begin full round–robin play until 1993
Total: 280–143–4
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, BCS, or CFP / New Years' Six bowl.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.



Beamer Way : On August 6, 2015 Virginia Tech announced plans to name a street in honor of Frank Beamer. The street (formerly named Spring Road) is the primary access route to the campus sports facilities, running along the west side of Lane Stadium. It is now known as to "Beamer Way". The Virginia Tech Athletics Department also changed its mailing address to 25 Beamer Way in honor of Frank's number as a player at the school.[21]

On July 29, 2016, Frank was initiated into Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity at the chapter's 54th Grand Chapter in Norfolk, Virginia.

On August 29, 2016, new Head coach, Justin Fuente announced that in honor of coach Beamer and his dedication to Special teams, one deserving player would be chosen to wear Frank's number 25 in each game of the 2016 season, earning the title "Special Teams Player of the Week".[22]

See also


  1. "Under contract, Frank Beamer can have role at Va. Tech, at $250K a year". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  2. "Coach Frank Beamer reflects on his place amongst all-time greats". Washington Post. December 20, 2010.
  3. "Frank Beamer: Head Football Coach". Hokie Sports. Virginia Tech. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  4. "College football coaches salaries in NCAA FBS - Frank Beamer". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  5. "Frank Beamer: Head Football Coach". Hokie Sports. Virginia Tech. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  6. "Tempered Steel: How Frank Beamer Got That Way -". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  7. "The building of the Coach - Roanoke Times: Frank Beamer". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  8. Smith, Tim. "Beamer realizes dream to coach Virginia Tech," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. December 24, 1986. Page D3.
  9. "Current Consecutive Bowl Appearances". Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  10. "Football :: Frank Beamer". Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  11. David Teel (December 25, 2015). "Beamer's poignant, dramatic farewell tour with Hokies ends Saturday". Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  12. Joe Mahoney (December 31, 2015). "Top 10 RTD Sports Stories of 2015". Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  13. "Virginia Tech officially names Justin Fuente head football coach". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  14. "Virginia Tech football: Thursday is 'Frank Beamer Day' in Virginia |". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  15. "2011 VT Football Game Notes"
  16. "Cheryl Beamer's decades as a coach's wife drawing to a close - Roanoke Times: Frank Beamer". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  17. "Shane Beamer named to Hokies' football staff". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  18. "Beamer ball is coming to Georgia". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  19. "Yea, It's a Hokie Game Day!: Cheryl Beamer, Frank Beamer: 9781932888447: Books". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  20. 2009 OVC Football Media Guide
  21. Hincker, Larry (August 6, 2015). "Spring Road renamed 'Beamer Way'". Virginia Tech. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  22. "Special Teams Player of Week to Wear Beamer's No. 25 Jersey for Hokies". Virginia Tech. August 29, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
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