Today is August 6, 2019, which means we are officially just 25 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled a walk-on-turned-All-American in Cody Grimm. Today, we are going to do things a little bit different because, well, it is a special number.
We are going to profile two former Hokies who wore No. 25. First off, we look back at a former defensive back named Frank Beamer.
Beamer arrived in Blacksburg back in 1966. A cornerback from nearby Carroll County in Fancy Gap, Va., Beamer would start three years on some pretty good defensive units and played in both the 1966 and 1968 Liberty Bowl games.
But, as we all know, the former No. 25 was famous for much more than his solid playing career at Virginia Tech.
After Beamer graduated from Virginia Tech, he attended Radford University for graduate school. During that time, he worked as an assistant for Radford High School. In 1972, Beamer got his first coaching job in college, working as a graduate assistant for Maryland. From there, where he worked with Bobby Ross, he would follow Ross to Citadel for his first full-time work as a collegiate coach. It was Ross’ first head-coaching gig and he named Beamer defensive line coach. Beamer would coach the defensive line for four seasons before taking over as defensive coordinator for two seasons.
From there, he would go to Murray State where he would begin as defensive coordinator for two years. In 1981, he was named head coach of the Racers. In six years as head coach, Beamer finished with a record of 42-23-2 and had five winning seasons during his six years.
December 22, 1986 was the day everything changed for Virginia Tech football. That’s the day Beamer was hired. He took over a program that was punished for former coach Bill Dooley’s NCAA violations and his first several seasons were a struggle. In 1992, the Hokies were 2-8-1 and Beamer was firmly on the hot seat.
Then, in 1993 the current bowl streak began as the Hokies finished 9-3 and won the Independence Bowl. Beamer never had a losing record again. He had 13 10-win seasons, 23 bowl appearances, three Big East titles, four ACC titles, five ACC Coastal Division winning teams and an appearance in the national championship game.
Beamer won too many coach of the year awards to mention. He won several ACC and Big East Coach of the Year awards. He won several national coach of the year awards, too, most notably AP Coach of the Year in 1999.
He was credited with Beamerball. A national phenomenon created when Beamer’s team would score numerous non-offensive touchdowns. Beamer, whose specialty was special teams, found ways for his teams to block kicks, punts and return several punts and kicks for touchdowns. During his time at Virginia Tech, 35 different players scored a special-teams’ touchdown. As we discussed with Bud Foster last week, numerous defensive players also scored touchdowns.
Beamer retired after the 2015 season and has remained a constant presence around Blacksburg. Of course, there is also ’25 Beamer Way,’ the mailing address to the athletic department. Beamer’s No. 25 was retired by the Hokies and in a way of honoring him, new head coach Justin Fuente picked a different player to wear the No. 25 jersey each week.
Beamer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 and a statute of Beamer was erected outside of Lane Stadium just last year.
Frank Beamer is Blacksburg and Virginia Tech. We appreciate you, Coach!