"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

VIRGINIA TECH COACH FRANK BEAMER RETIRES AND LEAVES A BIG HOLE IN THE HEART OF THE HOKIE NATION

Although Virginia Tech's football team hasn't performed at the high level it did for many years, one thing didn't change. That was the class and integrity of its head coach, Frank Beamer. He came to his alma mater in 1987 amidst recruiting violations by his predecessor, coach and athletic director Bill Dooley. Despite a 10 - 1 - 1 record and Peach Bowl victory following the 1986 season, the Hokies ended up on probation and a rebuilding process ensued. It took some time for Beamer to find success, but then athletic director Dave Braine demonstrated the patience that is unusual in big time sports these days by granting him another coaching season following a dismal 2 - 8 - 1 record against a brutal schedule in 1992. However, the following season the Hokies went 9 -2 and defeated Indiana in the Independence Bowl and they've been in a bowl game every season since.

It's difficult for non-Hokies to truly understand what Frank Beamer has meant to Virginia Tech. Before Beamer, even with the brief success of Bill Dooley, the Hokies were football independents with little or no national presence. The University of Virginia, with its public Ivy designation and ACC membership overshadowed our great institution. Enter Beamer ball, an aggressive, exciting style of play that resulted in three Big East titles in a conference that included the University of Miami. By 2004, Tech had joined UVA in the ACC, a goal that dated back to my days in Blacksburg from 1975 - 1980 and the Hokies proceeded to win the conference championship in its first season in the league. Three titles later, Tech has the most since they've entered the league. That's tied with Florida State and more than Clemson (1) and Miami (0), long time nemeses of the Hokies.

The most enduring memory of the Beamer era for Hokie fans will forever be the 2000 BCS championship game, where Tech had a 29 - 28 lead with 14 minutes remaining. Despite an electric performance from freshman Michael Vick, they couldn't contain Seminole wide receiver Peter Warrick, gave up 18 unanswered points and FSU was able to win its second national title under legendary coach Bobby Bowden.

In short, Frank Beamer, as an alumnus, sought to restore glory to his alma mater and did it with grace, integrity, enthusiasm and class. I know the last few seasons have been sub-par in terms of results, but I've been watching sports for a long time and there are those rare coaches and athletes that deserve to go out on their own terms, even in this big money, win at all cost era. Frank Beamer is one of those few. His classiest act of all might just be bowing out a little before he was ready, but he recognized that it was time. He gets three games to say goodbye and try to go out with his bowl string intact. It doesn't much matter, though. His legacy among Hokie fans, his peers and his opponents is long since intact. I just want to say "Thank you Frank Beamer."

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords. The third installment, "Offsetting Penalties" is due out in the fall.