Virginia Tech was around long before Frank Beamer became their head football coach. Unless the planet earth comes crashing down in the next few years, the Virginia Tech Hokies will be around long after Frank Beamer is gone.
Growing up in the area, Beamer went to school and graduated from Virginia Tech. He wasn’t exactly NFL material, but he was, on the other hand, quality coaching material.
Beamer coached as an assistant at several colleges before landing the head coaching job at Murray State. As head coach at Murray State, he posted at 42-23-2 record which was good enough to get him noticed by his favorite school.
When the Virginia Tech Hokies’ job came open in 1987 the powers that be decided on hiring Beamer, which was a dream come true for young Frank Beamer.
The administration at Virginia Tech and it’s fans had their doubts with Frank Beamer in those early years.
In the 1987 season, the Hokies struggled and sputtered out to a 2-9 record. That was followed by a 3-8 final record, and then it got a little better with a 6-4-1 and a 6-5 record in 1989 and 1990, respectively.
Had Beamer and his Hokie’s arrived? Not so much, as they slumped to 5-6 in 1991 and 2-8-1 in 1992.
There are few schools today that would not have fired Frank Beamer by this time. But, for some reason, the Hokies decided to stick with Beamer and they would be richly rewarded.
Frank Beamer put Virginia Tech on the college football map. I really wish the football coach firing programs of today would take a look at Beamer and his success at Virginia Tech before making moves.
It took Frank Beamer 7 years to establish a program in Blacksburg.
But, establish it he did with a 9-3 record in 1993. After that season the Hokies finished with 10 wins, or more, 13 times. In 1999, Beamer, Michael Vick and the Hokies played Florida State for the National Title and they lost. But, it’s an honor in itself to even be on the same field with a Florida State back in their Dynasty years.
From 2004 through the 2011 season, the Hokies won at least 10 games every season.
That all came crashing down in 2012 when the Hokies finished up 7-6. 2013 was not that much better with an 8-5 finish and then 7-6 last season. This year, Frank Beamer announced he would be retiring at the end of the season because he wanted to do what’s best for Virginia Tech. My hat is off to a man like Frank Beamer who is willing to step down and do what’s right for a school that he loves instead of dragging it out for years thinking of only self. Forgive me Penn State fans as I am not just talking about coaches like Joe Paterno. Beamer did what was best for his school and his players stepped up.
The Hokies were sitting at 3-5 after 8 games, but finished strong by winning 3 out of 4 of their last game which could have been even better if not for having a really good North Carolina team on the
schedule. With a 6-6 record, the Hokies qualified for one more bowl game under Frank Beamer.
Getting ahead of the game, the Hokies were able to hire one of the hottest young coaching names in the college football world today in Justin Fuente.
Fuente grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and played briefly for the Sooners before transferring to Murray State which also happens to be the place where Frank Beamer got his first head coaching job.
Fuente also played briefly in Arena Football before getting into coaching.
He was an assistant coach at Illinois State and TCU before landing the head coaching job at Memphis.
The Memphis Tigers were a disaster when he took over before the 2012 season. They suffered through two miserable seasons under previous head coach, Larry Porter. In 2010, the Tigers prowled out to an amazingly horrible 1-11 season, before improving to 2-10 in 2011 and Porter was gone.
Memphis elected to go with TCU Offensive Coordinator, Justin Fuente.
Like all programs, it took some time to go from three wins in two seasons to a successful program. His first year in Memphis in 2012, the Tigers went 4-8. Not that impressive like some fans would hope out of a miracle worker, but those fans are delusional.
I am sure the faithful fans of Memphis were having second thoughts about Justin Fuente in 2013 when the Tigers stumbled along and finished up worse than the year before at 3-9.
But, the 2014 season was when Fuente saw the emergence of Paxton Lynch and his Tigers surged out to a very impressive 10-3 record. They did get beat badly in their fourth game by Ole Miss and they were 3-3 before winning 7 games in a row including a Bowl victory over BYU.
This season, Fuente coached the Tigers to a 9-3 season and was just hired by Virginia Tech to take over for the retiring Frank Beamer.
As already written, Frank Beamer put Virginia Tech on the college football map. With all of the job openings this season, Justin Fuente was one of the more popular names floating around in connection with all of them.
Without the earlier successes of Beamer and his Beamer Ball, there’s no way that the Hokies would have had a shot at maybe the hottest name in coaching circles right now. They beat out such name programs like Miami, South Carolina and maybe a few others for the services of one of the biggest young names available. Beamer made Virginia Tech something of a name brand.
Virginia Tech fans can definitely thank Frank Beamer for Justin Fuente.