Some of you will read the title and think “What’s a Hokie?“, while others of you will be familiar with the nickname of my favorite college football team, Virginia Tech.
Frank Beamer has been the Head Football Coach at Virginia Tech for the past 29 years and you would be hard pressed to find a more beloved coach. Not because of the number of seasons he has coached (29), the number of wins (279 career wins, 237 at VT), and the 23 consecutive bowl appearances. Rather it is because of his character, integrity, and humility. He has been an educator, a source of strength and comfort after the April 16th mass shooting, and a father figure and mentor to the young men that he has coached. Coach Beamer is retiring this year at the age of 69, and the celebrations, accolades, and love have been pouring in.
Coach Beamer’s last home game was a couple weeks ago and thousands of people gathered before the game to greet him as he took his final walk to the stadium. The following photos were my effort, despite the shade, to document an incredible day
Coach Beamer arrived amidst a sea of people (check out the paint on the face of the fan next to him).
While others think the school colors are a strange combination, VT fans believe they are reminiscent of fall.
We’ve not had the best record this year, and we were not expected to win the game. Even still, a sellout crowd, hundreds of former players who returned to celebrate their beloved coach, and tribute videos on the Jumbotron marked the day. We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we sang. It was an incredibly emotional day.
Despite going into overtime, the Hokies did not win. This day, though, was all about Frank. From the second the game ended, all eyes turned to Coach Beamer. Surrounded by photographers, he spoke to the fans.
The team lifted him on their shoulders and carried him from the field while we watched, and cried, and cheered some more.
(yes, I need more zoom)
It took a long time for me and the rest of the fans to exit the stands. I just didn’t want to leave. Once I did leave, though, I wandered around soaking up the sights and sounds.
The road in front of Lane Stadium has been named after Coach Beamer.
Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va
As I walked back to my truck, I saw one last opportunity for a shot. Coach Beamer played football at Virginia Tech long before he became the Head Coach, and in 2002 his number was retired.
If you are still with me here at the end of this long post, know that I am grateful. Frank Beamer means so much to the Hokie Nation.
He’s just a good, good man.
Well, I know nothing about any kind of sports…but I can tell from your fabulous photos, you had a good time! have a great weekend, Johanna
Thank you, Johanna. I love that one who is not a sports fan took the time to view this post. And now, if you hear anything on the news about Virginia Tech, you’ll think of Coach Beamer, and what a great guy he is!
What a wonderful tribute, Laurie! II don’t follow VT football (I follow Michigan State and Southern Cal), but it’s heartwarming to hear a “good” story like this. Beloved indeed! Thanks for sharing the event – your photos really captured the emotions of the day and your love of VT football. I particularly love the ones of the American and Tech flags flying together and of Beemer’s number with the moon in back. Super post!
Stacy, I’m a fan of the Spartans, too!
VT #1, Penn State and Navy #2 (for my father), then Michigan State 🙂
Thank you for “getting” this post 🙂
Go, State! Big 10 champs!!! 🏈🎉😃
All of us should aspire to have such careers. I have to imagine walking away from all of this is tough. I hope he has a rich retirement planned. This career will be hard to fill.
Oh, I think you are right about post retirement. He was tearful during his announcement. How do you leave a lifetime love? Thanks so much for commenting, Noelle.
You certainly conveyed the pulse and emotion of the event. I know how much you love your Hokies 🙂 Looking at his face you can see a good man – it is heartwarming to know someone stays around so long in a sport and stays well respected and of good character and actions isn’t it. Great post Laurie xoxo
You said it perfectly, he has couch character. Thanks Pauline!
What a great tribute, Laurie. I hope he has a long, enjoyable retirement. This was a very emotional post for me–and I’m not even a Hokie!
Lisa, that means so much to me, and says so much about you!
What a beloved man. I’m glad you enjoyed your day and that you could be there to celebrate. I wasn’t raised with football, but Mike loves his Bears and through him I’ve learned a lot.
Great photos to represent the day. I hope fellow fans will find your post.
I’ve thought about sending it to Coach, but I’m sure that there are others who have captured the day better
Please, PLEASE send it to him. He’ll be thrilled. Don’t second guess yourself. Send it today. xox
An excellent tribute that could apply to any inspirational leader. I wish we had a few more
Oh, me too, Dereick. We need more leaders like Coach Beamer
Laurie – I have no been introduced to Frank Beamer. I’m pleased that it was you who made the introduction. If he’s alright with you, he’s alright with me. I can tell you’d have rather been nowhere else on the day you took these photos.
You are so right, Bruce, I would not have missed it for almost anything.
We hear so much that is bad about sports. Coach Beamer is a big ol GOOD!
We need more good guys like your coach.
Your admiration and sadness is clear here, and your photos do the day and the event justice. Thanks for this great tribute to a man I previously knew nothing about. The photo at the top perfectly shows why locals think the colours are synonymous with Autumn. Just think, every year, Mother Nature shows she is a VT fan!! Here’s hoping thank Frank continues to benefit from the warm community he built around him and the school.
Mother Nature IS a VT fan 🙂
Glad you enjoyed “meeting” Coach Beamer!
Oh. Forgive me for not getting it right from the start. 😉
This is such a great tribute to Beamer! I was watching that day and cheering for him and VT–I’ve always thought he was a really good guy. What a hard act he will be for the next coach to follow! Like you, I LOVE college football and love the way the coaches serve as role models for the players.
Kerry, I’m so glad you saw this post. I knew you would totally get it 🙂
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