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A Letter to Frank Beamer: You’re losing more than football games

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An open letter to Frank Beamer. It's really time Frank. You jumped the shark in January 2012 at the Sugar Bowl. It's time to turn it over to new folks, with new leadership skills, and new directions. The program is in flames, you are losing the students, and the alumni. It's time to consider what has happened, and where this is all going. Just one old Hokie's opinion.

Frank Beamer: Tired, lost, and in need of tee times instead of game plans
Frank Beamer: Tired, lost, and in need of tee times instead of game plans
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Dear Frank,

I'll call you Frank because, well we are fellow alums and Hokies are supposed to be family.  I guess I am that "cousin" that shows up and tells the host that discount expired beer, freezer pizza, and stale bags of off brand potato chips aren't very good party fare.

I am going to be blunt; so blunt that many homers are going to be angry with me.   That's fine there are lots of people in your codependency that have enabled you.  It's time to break that cycle.

Frank, it's time to go.  I mean go NOW.  Not at the end of the season, or in a year when you get to preside over the nonsense called the battle of the racetrack on a field with a crowd where no one can see the game without binoculars and a power ear.  I mean that you need to look deep into your soul, write a letter of apology, and parting;  then proceed to part.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I actually really do want to protect all of the good things that you have done, and all of your great accomplishments, that's why.  Here is how you are rapidly ruining things:

Since the 2011 high water mark of the Sugar Bowl, this program has been on a steady decline.  We have steadily decreased in both win totals and play quality.  Last year there was a significant fall off in season ticket purchases.  Hundreds of unsold seats were being offered by the ticket office on a game by game ticket sale model.  I sat in Section 35 there were at least 10 seat spots that remained empty the entire season around me.  This season's sell out was a phantom of the economy of the Ohio State Secondary market prices for a single ticket exceeding the price of a season package.  My guess is the Tertiary markets and the "Ticket Market" along Washington Street are going to be rich with seat choices, and poor gruel for the "marketeers".

You are losing the student body.   Not only are you losing the general student enthusiasm that comes with something fun to do on a Saturday in the Fall; you are losing their specific emotional investment in the team.  The campus was quiet for the ECU away game.  The weather was bad, yes, but the expected big crowd for Family weekend at Lane Stadium for the Jumbo Tron presentation of the game was pretty tiny.  I was there, most folks were there for the overpriced food, and the "neatness" of the experience, but by the half they were leaving.  There wasn't even a campus promotional to highlight the event.  Later that evening at the fancy chef Food Tasting at Lavery Hall, the students working the event just shrugged.. "Oh, well - figured we'd lose."  was one quote.  Then I received a shock, "Who cares? We aren't going to win much anyway."  Did you hear that one?  "WHO CARES...?" was the question.  And the "Leaving at Halftime" show was a mass event last season for home games.  These reactions should not be happening, not in a healthy program.

You are beginning to lose the alumni.  No, they don't have power crazy money.  They have lots of debts, bills, and house payments.  They pay tuition, board, rent, books, etc.  What they cannot find is the spare cash to cough up a consistent ticket purchase; and they certainly cannot afford to purchase favors from the Hokie Club.  Eventually the shine will come off the Beamer reputation.   Beamer Way might go back to being the street that it always was instead of tearing down a statue in an act of disgrace and shame like your friend Joe Paterno.   I suppose that's sauce for both goose and gander.

Your teams aren't winning because you haven't recruited the best talent.  You do not play the semi-pro recruiting game that many of the other power elite schools play; and therefore the team is not likely to rise much farther.  You are just not able to make the step up to consistent Top-20 status.  We don't have the player talent and depth.  We don't have the innovative offensive coaching that will attract better quality offensive players.  We need better, more complete defensive player recruiting.  Throwing 2-star and 3-star "Athletes" at nearly every position besides lineman is not working.   There also seems to be a real conditioning issue somewhere because our injury rates to lower bodies are atrocious.  There is just a fundamental programmatic shortfall in so many places a 69 year old man IS NOT going to fix them.

Frank, you have too much power.  You wield near dictatorial sway (benign or not) over the football program, and even its business conduct.  The kind of power that you have is dangerous to the program's long term on field performance health and the strategic business health of the operation.   There are rumors in the wind about single vetoes of moves to the SEC.  Well, a truly winning coach is going to leap at the chance to make the move to that conference; but not a marginal coach with his personal ego substituting for long term program goals.   If this rumor is actually true; then you held your program hostage to your own needs, and that's a serious warning sign.  If the rumor isn't true, then its presence and persistence is almost as equally telling.  The old aphorism that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, is in operation here.  Where are you on that scale?  I have an idea, but you really need to look in the mirror and figure it out.  Look at Bobby B's press clippings.  Study Mack B's end of tenure history with Texas, and where that program stands right now.  Please, for the sake of all Hokies, don't end up like either of them and heaven forefend, not Joe Paterno.

Frank, turn the program over Bud Foster and the assistants to finish out the season.  After the ECU debacle, it is difficult to see any reasonably good outcome anyway; and your full attention should be with helping Whit Babcock find the absolute best replacement to take this program to the next level and have you retire in the good graces of the fans, alumni, and players.

Coach, your legacy is aflame.  It is no longer smoldering, it is actively being consumed.  Please put out the fire by stepping down and making way for a new Hokie Football Program.

Regards,

The Mighty Fahvaag