"When you look at Frank Beamer, what do you see?" I have been asked this question many times over the last few years, but a great number of times two days ago when I was asked to give my opinion on his impending retirement. It's still bugging me because it would be easy to say something like "the coach of our program," or "someone whom I have enjoyed watching on the sideline for so many years." Both of those statements would be very true, but in reality, the truth is so much more and infinitely more complicated than that.
I see where the Hokies were 23 years ago. I see a coach embattled in controversy, not because he was doing the wrong things, but instead because he was getting the wrong results. A team that had some pieces, but not enough. A coach who couldn't figure it out, or at least it seemed that way. Then he did, and we were off.
I see where Tech was in 1996. A team playing with good NFL level talent at quarterback and around the field. A team on the make without serious issues. I see a team ready to be great.
I see Frank Beamer in 1999. I see the pinnacle of Hokie football. I see winning the Big East, with Michael Vick at the helm. A quarterback unlike any that we've seen before or since. The fastest man on the field and the strongest arm that most of us have ever seen. I see a will to win that will not die and an undefeated season that many Hokie fans are most proud of.
I see 2009. I see a TEAM by every definition of the word. I see a passion, excitement, and love for the game that I'm not sure that I have seen before. I see THE team that I am most proud of. I see a team that I can tell my son about and show him what Hokie football really means.
I see 2015. I see a coach again embattled in a storm, who finds a way to be beloved by one and all again. I see someone who is scared of the next chapter of life and I see someone so proud of what they have done. I see a new puzzle and I see excitement for what it will look like when it's all put together. I see hope. I see a man and a sunset. I see OUR coach and I see all that we will miss. I see a Hokie through the tears and the smiles. I see love.
That's what I see what I look at Frank Beamer, football coach for the Virginia Tech Hokies.
What do you see?