College football moves fast, entitlement is dangerous, and resting on your laurels can be deadly. Having said that, Frank Beamer deserves one more year more than any other coach in college football history.
I don’t believe in man-worship or lionizing leaders, or at least elevating someone above their intrinsic value; but do you know what Virginia Tech Hokies football was like before Beamer became head coach? From 1995 until 2011, Beamer failed to win 10 or more games just four times. How about the Alabama Crimson Tide during that stretch? Or the historically dominant Michigan Wolverines? Or the formerly mighty USC Trojans? All three programs failed to reach this mark nine times from 1995 to 2011.
Even the Wolverines’ most despised rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, posted five seasons of nine wins or less over that era.
Why this popularized achievement bears noxious repeating is that of the other schools I’ve mentioned had a storied history. Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan and USC were already college football royalty. Virginia Tech? Oh yeah, they won the Peach Bowl once.
Beamer helped write the lore of Virginia Tech through the players he coached and recruited, and then personally penned a chapter on Beamerball. His aggressive special teams ransacked the Big East throughout the 90s, and took zero steps back when they joined the ACC in 2004. They weren’t afraid of the Miami Hurricanes, and became the Florida State Seminoles greatest threat to forming a dynasty.
Virginia Tech now attracts big-time running backs, dynamic quarterbacks, and replenishes each haul of blue-chippers perennially with top-25 recruiting classes.
Virginia Tech has been in “decline,” the last three years, managing to go 2-1 in bowl games they qualified for during these “down” years. Apparently, there is no leniency for the injury bug. Lose your top-3 running backs and still become bowl-eligible? That sure sounds like a coach who’s completely lost control.
Beamer is coaching Virginia Tech players who weren’t born when he began coaching Virginia Tech players. His perceived mediocre seasons are a byproduct of his earlier and consistent success. Essentially, Beamer has forged the axe that threatens him. Then again, he totally deserves it — he is the one who created these high expectations in the first place.