Frank Beamer

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Frank Beamer
Frank Beamer September 2016.jpg
Beamer in 2016
Biographical details
Born (1946-10-18) October 18, 1946 (age 72)
Mount Airy, North Carolina
Playing career
1966–1968Virginia Tech
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1972Maryland (GA)
1973–1976The Citadel (DL)
1977–1978The Citadel (DC)
1979–1980Murray State (DC)
1981–1986Murray State
1987–2015Virginia Tech
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2016–presentVirginia Tech (special assistant to the AD)[1]
Head coaching record
Tournaments0–1 (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)
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. 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[edit]

Fancy Gap, VA "Frank Beamer Country"

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, Frank 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. Frank 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[edit]

Early coaching positions[edit]

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[edit]

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, Frank was promoted to head coach. In his six years as head coach, Beamer compiled a record of 42–23–2 (.642). Frank 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[edit]

Early Years (1987-1993)[edit]

Beamer during the 1987 football season

On December 22, 1986, Frank 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).[8]

As punishment for Dooley's violations, 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, which proved to be a wise decision.[9][9][10]

Big East (1993-2003)[edit]

The Hokies had a combined record of 75-21 from 1993-2000. The peak year in this stretch was 1999, when the Hokies went 11-0 in the regular season earning a spot to the Sugar Bowl to play Florida State for the national championship. Behind the amazing play of quarterback, Michael Vick. Virginia Tech led FSU 29-28 in the 4th quarter, but lost 46-29.[8]

ACC (2004-2015)[edit]

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 7 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

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.

Coaching records and awards[edit]

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.[14] At the time of his retirement, Beamer owned all but one of the Hokies' 10-win seasons and all of their 11-win seasons. (Coach Bill Dooley's had finished with nine wins on the field, but was awarded a 10th win by forfeit in his final season.) [15]

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.[8]

Beamer led Virginia Tech to 23 straight bowl games from 1993-2015, which was recognized by the NCAA as the longest active bowl streak in the country at the time of his retirement. As of 2018, the streak has continued to 26 straight under new head coach, Justin Fuente.

Personal life[edit]

Beamer in 2006

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 and H-Backs Coach at the University of Oklahoma.[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.” [20]

Career record as a head coach[edit]

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[needs update?] ‡ 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


Retirement and Post-Coaching career[edit]

On November 1, 2015, After twenty-nine seasons as head coach of Virginia Tech, legendary coach Frank 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.[22] At the time of his retirement, he was the winningest active coach in Division I FBS with 280 career victories.[23] and is the sixth winningest coach in history at the Division I FBS level.[24]

Special Assistant to the Virginia Tech Athletic Director[edit]

In late 2015, shortly after announcing his retirement at the end of the season, Beamer signed an 8-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.[25]

College Football Playoff Committee[edit]

On January 17, 2017 Frank Beamer was appointed to the College Football Playoff Committee. Frank joined the 13-member panel, which was formed when the College Football Playoff was implemented in 2013. It is a 3-year appointment and Frank was the 14th person to be named to the committee. The panel's sole purpose is to determine the top four college football teams to play in the designated bowl games to decide the national champion. 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. Teams ranked one through four in the final poll are the teams that play for the national championship.[26]


Hall of Fame inductions[edit]

Hall of Fame Year
Virginia Tech Hall of Fame [27] 1997
Murray State Hall of Fame [28] 2004
Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame [29] 2016
Virginia Sports Hall of Fame [30] 2017
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame [30] 2017
Sun Bowl Legend [30] 2017
College Football Hall of Fame [30] 2018
Orange Bowl Hall of Fame[31] 2018

Honors and tributes[edit]


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.[32]

#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 Frank'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". Frank Beamer wore the number 25 when he played at Virginia Tech as a cornerback from 1966-1968. The honorary jersey became so popular with the players, fans and coaches that the team continued the tradition beyond the 2016 season.[33][34]

Beamer Way

On August 6, 2015 Virginia Tech renamed Spring Road to 'Beamer Way' in honor of Frank 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.[35]

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.[36]

Other honors

  • On July 29, 2016, Frank was honorarily initiated into the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at the chapter's 54th Grand Chapter in Norfolk, Virginia.[37]
  • On February 1, 2017, Frank Beamer accepted an invitation from Virginia Tech Men's Basketball Coach, Buzz Williams to be an honorary assistant basketball coach and travel with the team for a game at the University of Virginia.[38]
  • On September 3, 2017, Beamer served as an honorary captain for the Virginia Tech football team for the season opener against West Virginia played at FedEx Field in Landover, MD.[39]
  • On January 25, 2018, the Virginia House of Delegates issued a joint resolution (2018- No.158) commending Hall of Fame Coach, Frank Beamer on his many lifelong accomplishments.[40]

See also[edit]


  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". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. 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. ^ a b c
  9. ^ a b 981-3125, Mark Berman "Frank Beamer, Dave Braine recall early struggles".
  10. ^ "Maisel: Frank Beamer had the benefit of time at Virginia Tech".
  11. ^ "I-A Winning Percentage 2012-2015".
  12. ^ ACC Digital Network (November 21, 2015). "Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer Carried Off After Final Home Game" – via YouTube.
  13. ^ "Virginia Tech officially names Justin Fuente head football coach". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "Current Consecutive Bowl Appearances". Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  15. ^ "Colleges Temple To Forfeit 6 Games In `86 Because Of Palmer".
  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. ^ "Coach Shane Beamer University of Oklahoma". University of Oklahoma. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "Yea, It's a Hokie Game Day!: Cheryl Beamer, Frank Beamer: 9781932888447: Books". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  20. ^ Lazenby, Roland (April 18, 2007). "Beamer: "We're Not Going To Take It"". Planet Blacksburg. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  21. ^ [1] 2009 OVC Football Media Guide
  22. ^ "Hokies coach Beamer to retire at end of season". 2015-11-01. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  23. ^ David Teel (December 25, 2015). "Beamer's poignant, dramatic farewell tour with Hokies ends Saturday". Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  24. ^ Joe Mahoney (December 31, 2015). "Top 10 RTD Sports Stories of 2015". Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  25. ^ Berkowitz, Steve. "Under contract, Frank Beamer can have role at Va. Tech, at $250K a year". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  26. ^ "Beamer, Howard And Smith Named To College Football Playoff Selection Committee". January 17, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  27. ^ "Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame". January 8, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  28. ^ "Murray State Hall of Fame - Frank Beamer". October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  29. ^ "Beamer Inducted Into OVC Hall of Fame". June 3, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  30. ^ a b c d "Frank Beamer selected to College Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2018". January 8, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  31. ^ "Beamer to be inducted into Orange Bowl Hall of Fame". Virginia Tech Athletics. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  32. ^ "2011 VT Football Game Notes"
  33. ^ "Virginia Tech to honor Frank Beamer with No. 25 jersey". August 29, 2016. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  34. ^ "Special Teams Player of Week to Wear Beamer's No. 25 Jersey for Hokies". Virginia Tech. August 29, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  35. ^ Hincker, Larry (August 6, 2015). "Spring Road renamed 'Beamer Way'". Virginia Tech. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  36. ^ "Virginia Tech football: Thursday is 'Frank Beamer Day' in Virginia |". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  37. ^ "Alpha Sigma Pi Grand Chapter Workbook - July, 2016" (PDF). Alpha Sigma Phi’s 54th Grand Chapter. 54: 7 of 76. 2016.
  38. ^ Beamer Out of His Element, accessed February 3, 2017
  39. ^ "Beamer to serve as honorary captain for VT-WVU game". 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  40. ^ "HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 158". January 25, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018.

External links[edit]