Earlier this week, Frank Beamer announced that he was retiring as the head football coach at Virginia Tech. He has been at VT for 29 years and is the winningest active coach in college football. Under his leadership, VT football has won 4 ACC championships, 3 Big East Championships and been to 4 BCS bowl games.
I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2008 and football was a huge part of my college experience. I can’t tell you how many times I stood in Lane Stadium cheering on our team, jumping up and down to Enter Sandman, shaking my keys for a key play and chanting “stick it in” even after the University banned it.
But I realized in 2007 that VT football was more than all of those things. I was on campus the day of the VT shooting and that event is something that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. I remember feeling emotionally stagnant during that time and wondered how I was going to continue living life normally after something like that.
Then fall came and it was time for our season opener. We played ECU and I remember this video playing on the jumbotron:
There was something about being in that stadium that day with tens of thousands of people who felt the same way I did. There was something about our team showing us that it was okay to move forward with life.
So VT football will never just be about football to me. Frank Beamer was a pillar of strength during that time and I don’t think he will ever know how much he means to so many people. He has never been just a football coach. He is what anyone would envision a leader to be.
After all he has given to Virginia Tech, I have wanted nothing more than for VT to win a national championship under his leadership. But I hope he knows that a National Championship win would not change his legacy at Virginia Tech.