Lately, everyone in college football's been getting a statue. This year Alabama continued with tradition and ordered a statue of head coach Nick Saban to alongside the other national title-winning coaches. A couple of weeks ago, Florida unveiled statues of its three Heisman Trophy-winning players. Auburn plans to do the same. Oklahoma has statues of its Heisman winners.
There have been enough unveilings to get the attention of HBO's Bryant Gumble, who thinks Southerners are getting a little statue-mad when it comes to football heroes. Whether Gumble likes it or not, there are going to plenty of more statues being commissioned around college football, especially in the South. When one school starts a trend like this (even if it's just continuing a long-standing tradition), the others are soon to follow.
So, when is Virginia Tech going to put a statue of Frank Beamer in front of Lane Stadium?
Really, the first question that needs to be addressed is whether or not the school should immortalize Beamer in statue form. He hasn't won a national title like Joe Paterno, whose statue sits in front of Beaver Stadium, nor won a Heisman, like Tim Tebow or Billy Sims, who both have statues in front of the stadiums where they thrilled college crowds.
But without Beamer, Virginia Tech's football program would likely be less than irrelevant. There probably be no South End Zone or West Side club seats. Virginia Tech football is tied to Beamer and should find some way to thank him for all he's done for the program. Will that be with a statue? Or will the athletics department find some other way to recognize him, like name the stadium after him like BYU did with LaVell Edwards?
If they choose to build a statue, when's the right time to do it? Some, like Saban or Paterno, have received their statues before retirement. Others, like Lou Holtz, had to wait until after their careers were over before getting a statue. Some, like Eddie Robinson, never got to see theirs.
Personally, I think the Hokies should put a statue of Beamer in front of Lane Stadium and do it after he retires. We owe a lot to Beamer for all he's done for the program as well as the way he's done it. And to me, waiting until after he's done coaching or at his last home game, would be a more appropriate way to say 'thank you.'
Unless, of course, he fills that damned trophy case.