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Frank Beamer: From Hillsville High School to the College Football Hall-of-Fame

Frank Beamer: "Honest, Caring and Respectful!"

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

This moment had been around the corner, but as a Hokie I hoped that corner was a little further away. Frank Beamer's retirement was not a surprise to many, but knowing that it was coming this year or next did not make it any easier. For 29 years Frank Beamer has built the Virginia Tech football program from a lowly Independent to National Title Contender. His legacy as a coach will always remain, but coach was just his title. He is and will continue to be a father figure to many young men who are not his own children. For Frank it has always been about the players and building strong relationships with them and that is why he is a legend in my eyes. "It is not about the wins, but how you respond to the loses" said Frank and that is something all of us should internalize.

Michael Vick, spoke with ESPNU about Frank Beamer's retirement earlier today. In reference to the first time he met Frank Beamer, Michael said, "My first memory of Coach Beamer was him coming to my house when I was in high school. He came to downtown Newport News, in the heart of the place that I lived that was stricken with poverty. He had his suit on and was with one of his assistant coaches, Jim Cavenaugh. What impressed me the most was that nothing around him came to surprise him, it was like he had been there before. He was strictly there to recruit me to come to Virginia Tech and I just remember him sitting on my coach, the smile he had on his face, the enthusiasm and him really impressing my mom with his delivery. That was special because he made her smile and made me believe that he wanted me in that moment and for him to take his time to come down there was really a special moment."

Besides being a father figure to so many Frank Beamer is a also a damn fine educator. In a world where cheating in sports is evident at every turn there is a small town in the hills of Virginia that thinks about things differently. Blacksburg and the Virginia Tech program were put on the map by Frank Beamer and he did it the "right way". By "right" I mean with integrity , but for that to happen he said he had to surround himself with good people on and off the field. Sure there were players who made mistakes or broke the law, but those things happened outside of the program, however, they were handled with class. Beamer is and will always be a coach and part of being a coach is being an educator.

The future Hall-of-Fame coach has given his life to Virginia Tech, but even at his most fragile moment he still felt like he owed us, the fans, something. Frank wanted to win a National Championship for Virginia Tech, for Hokie Nation, but that did not happen. However, I think he did more than that; he gave us life. Frank Beamer built Lane Stadium into a premier college football venue, put Blacksburg on the map, provide us with heart-warming and gut-wrenching moments on the field, but also gave us hope on April 16, 2007. Even in tragedy we had Frank and his boys. It was about remembering, but also about embracing hope. This hope echoed throughout his life. He has provided hope to so many players, coaches, fans and opponents. Frank, I wish you well and thank you for a life of service to Virginia Tech. I aspire to be half the leader, father and coach you are and will encourage others to do so as well.

Go Hokies!