Dear Coach Beamer,
Hokie Sports has announced and Twitter and Facebook universes are alive with the news that you are retiring end of the season. Once the emotions and the passions clear away, the new Virginia Tech Football staff will be determined; but for now we all should remember how much this school, our school and this fan base owe to you in gratitude.
When I arrived on campus as a freshman in the late summer of 1977, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Fighting Gobblers were playing in a partially finished Lane Stadium to sparse but loyal crowds and the wins were fewer than our occasional appearance on UHF TV. Our big rival was VMI, and we managed to occasionally pull out a win against power houses like William and Mary.
It took a full decade of struggling and an embarrassing scandal before an unknown 1AA coach from Murray State would be hired into a rebuilding program with new trademarks and a newer attitude about college football. Virginia Tech, long only marginally interested in producing a serious football program had finally decided to build something.
What you did, after fits, starts and the early teething pains of a rebuilding program was build something of national stature, and Virginia state legend. There were Sugar Bowls, Orange Bowls, Big East Conference Championships, Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. There were the players like Vick, Suggs & Jones, Brown, Drukenmiller, Chancellor, Wilson, and Taylor; so many, in fact that the list is just too long to address here and be fair. You also brought us great assistant coaches like Billy Hite, Torrian Gray, and Bud Foster. Not one Hokie of any age will forget the beat of the entrance to "Enter Sandman" when the jumping at Lane Stadium becomes a seismic event recorded in the Geology department. The Key play, "Victory Tag" on first downs, and you coached so many scores the Skipper had to be replaced.
Game Day in Blacksburg was never the same after you took the reins. You even added to the lore of college football. Who has not heard the term Beamerball? It is now a part of college football greatness to go with the Wishbone, Galloping Ghosts, and Four Horsemen. There is little else that can be said other than a gracious thank-you to an amazing coach of rare integrity.
Time changes all things. That is the only constant. Eventually we must all put down what we do and step aside. We must because there are new people with new ideas and new approaches who deserve chances for greatness. We also do it because it is time to take stock, to change perspectives and focus on the things that are near and dear to us. They will not be with us long and savoring them is so very important.
Above all we here at Gobbler Country would like thank you for THIS. None of us would be writing about our love of the Hokies without your success and popularity, Coach Beamer. Every man dreams of coming to a place and getting a chance to make it better. You came home and made us great.
Thank you again Coach Beamer from the bottom of my very Chicago Maroon and Burnt Orange soul.
The Mighty Fahvaag Your Neanderthal Sports Commentator