On Sunday Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer became the latest coach to announce his decision to retire from his position as head coach of the Hokies. Unlike other coaches to announce in-season retirements, Beamer will see things through to the end of the season before ultimately stepping away from the game. At Virginia Tech, no coach made the Hokies more nationally prominent than Beamer, but as is so often the case in this sport, it was a struggle to keep them there.
“I have always said that ‘I want what is best for Virginia Tech,’” Beamer said in a released statement. “Because of my love and passion for this great university, this program and our tremendous fans, I have decided after 29 years that it’s time. Today, I informed Dr. Timothy Sands and Whit Babcock of my decision to retire at the conclusion of the 2015 season.”
Beamer was brought on as the head coach of the Virginia Tech program in 1987, where he succeeded Bill Dooley. Virginia Tech had some success in a season now and then — Virginia Tech won its first bowl game in program history in 1986 when it claimed victory in the Peach Bowl in Dooley’s final game as head coach before moving to Wake Forest (my how the times have changed) — but Beamer got to work on putting together a program that needed to build an established identity and mold a plan for more long-term and sustained success. It took a few years to get things moving in that direction, but a move to the new Big East football conference with Beamer at the helm would yield years of success that included 22 straight bowl trips, including an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game (the 2000 Sugar Bowl vs. Florida State), three Big East titles, four ACC titles and five ACC Coastal Division championships.
As much success as Virginia Tech has had under Beamer’s leadership, the trophy case remained vacant of a national title, a goal that was not at all unrealistic for a nice stretch of time. The last few years have seen the Hokies begin to trend downward. In a division always seemingly up for grabs, Virginia Tech has struggled to take advantage of the opportunity to win the ACC Coastal while seeing win totals top out at eight games each of the past three seasons. Virginia Tech is currently 4-5 this fall.
It may have only been a matter of time for Beamer to decide the time was right to move on, but he will get to end the season and have a mini retirement tour, which is well deserved for one of the good men in college football for the better part of the past three decades.