Rewind to Week 2, and Virginia Tech was seemingly standing on top of the proverbial football world. A 14-point win over then-No. 8 Ohio State in Columbus had some thinking that Tech could contend for its first division title since 2011 and, perhaps, challenge Florida State for ACC supremacy.
Two straight defeats and losses in five of the next seven curbed such silliness. An embarrassing 6-3 loss to Wake Forest in double overtime dropped Tech to 5-6 on the season and renewed the conversation that Frank Beamer, in his 28th season, had seen the game pass him by. While the Hokies bounced back to qualify for a bowl game for the 22nd consecutive season, and then bounced Cincinnati in the Military Bowl, the talk persisted that his time was up. Or, at least, should be up.
Based on the words coming from VT athletic director Whit Babcock, though, Beamer’s not going anywhere.
In a statement posted to the school’s official website Saturday morning titled “Babcock and Beamer have higher expectations,” the athletic director acknowledged that “Coach Beamer and I both realize that this season was not up to the overall standards we expect… or that our fan base expects.” However, after meeting with the coach extensively Nov. 30 — prior to Beamer’s minor surgical procedure — and again in the week after the bowl game, “I support the plan that Coach Beamer has in place moving forward,” Babcock added.
Below is the AD’s statement, in its entirety.
“The Military Bowl win was a good, positive step for our program and should provide strong momentum for recruiting and as we look forward to spring ball. Coach Beamer and I both realize that this season was not up to the overall standards we expect, however, or that our fan base expects. I support the plan that Coach Beamer has in place moving forward. After 22 seasons without a losing record, as the active NCAA FBS wins leader, and winning 15 out of 16 against our in-state rival, he has earned the opportunity to elevate our program back to where we all want it to be: competing for ACC Championships.
“Coach Beamer is an educator who does it the right way,” Babcock added. “We have a very solid core of returning lettermen, we suffered a rash of injuries at key positions; those guys will be back next season, too. Our enhanced recruiting efforts will and must continue. Our student-athletes graduate at high levels and Coach Beamer represents this university, our community and this profession with class.
“Coach and I met extensively on Sunday, Nov. 30 and again this week after the bowl game. Our time together included a productive, candid, and constructive conversation regarding the state of our program, opportunities for improvement, and the direction we need to take. Again, we both have higher expectations. Coach Beamer, his staff, and our players are committed and focused on the success of this football program, as we all are. Coach Beamer told me ‘we have competed for championships before and we have what it takes to get back to that level.’ I appreciate his drive and determination to get us there. We share the same goal. We both understand the significance and importance of a successful, national brand for Virginia Tech Football.
“Before we turn the page to next year, however, it should also be noted that we are very proud of our 13 seniors who have played their final games as Hokies. I want to congratulate and thank them. They persevered to help maintain ‘the streaks.’ The bowl game provided a quality student-athlete experience for our players, our alumni and fans, who showed up in full force, and the extra practice ‘reps’ proved valuable for our team which played 21 freshmen and redshirt freshmen this season.
“The Hokie Nation is very special and we are fortunate to have the best fans in the country”, Babcock added. “We appreciate their loyal and generous support this season. They helped us win in the fourth quarter against UVa and took over the stadium at the Military Bowl. We will need them again. We need all Hokies pulling in the same direction and supporting our team and coaching staff. It will be a rewarding ride. Together, we will get back to championship-level football.”