Oral History: Former VT Football Coach Frank Beamer

Oct 9, 2019

An oral history project at Virginia Tech offers glimpses into the lives of people here; some we may not have heard of, and others we certainly have.  Today it’s Frank Beamer, yes that Frank Beamer who coached and played Virginia Tech football and became an icon in this town and beyond. 

Frank Beamer, former Virginia Tech Football Coach, Player,now special assistant to the Virginia Tech athletic director

“There’s two times it’s hard to be a head football coach: when you’re really young, because until you’ve been a coach and had some experience, people are reluctant to take a young guy and make him a coach. And then, when you get older.”

Frank Beamer graduated from Tech, class of 69, where he played cornerback and later coached the Hokies for almost 3 decades  

“I can’t ever remember a guy saying, “I’m not coming to Virginia Tech because I’m not sure you’ll be there.” But I knew every coach that was recruiting against us was telling those recruits, “Look, you got to be careful because Beamer’s getting on up in age and he’s going to be retiring here pretty soon. And whoever you start out with, you want to finish with, and you don’t have a guarantee on that.” 

The idea that players might be staying away, and that, that might hurt the team, in some way, played into Coach Beamer’s decision to retire in 2015.  

“I’ve always been a guy that wants best for Virginia Tech. At that point in time, with people using my age against us in recruiting, it was time to get someone else in here and get some new excitement going. So, I knew it was that time, so that’s what we did”. 

Frank Beamer was one of the longest active coaches in his division, and the winningest. He was inducted into the college football hall of fame last year. 

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