College football: Ranking Frank Beamer No. 3
We had a good discussion Monday on the Sports Animal about who would rank No. 3 in the current list of college football coaches, behind the obvious top two of Nick Saban and Bob Stoops.
Both Mack Brown and Les Miles drew support, and both are solid candidates, since they have national championships on their resumes. But I voted for Frank Beamer. Here are a few reasons why:
1. He built his own program. Lots of guys do that — Stoops, Brown, even Saban, who took over a Crimson Tide program with just one winning record in its previous four seasons. But Beamer’s building job is different. He took over a program with little tradition. Virginia Tech was not in a slump. Virginia Tech was the Appalachian version of Kansas State. Bad facilities. No tradition. No reason whatsoever to believe. And Beamer turned the Hokies into a national power.
2. Longevity. Beamer has stood the test of time. 2011 will be Beamer’s 25th season coaching Virginia Tech. That’s second in the nation, behind only Joe Paterno. But while Paterno seems somehow immune from modern tendencies, Beamer does not. He was hired in 1987; he’s a contemporary figure who has stayed well ahead of the wolves that can end even the most promising of careers.
3. Success. Beamer has the ACC’s flagship program. I know, everyone wants to anoint Florida State as soon to return to prominence. But Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004. Since then, the Hokies have won four conference titles. No other school has won more than one. Before Virginia Tech’s arrival, Florida State had won 11 of the previous 12 ACC championships.
4. Consistency. Virginia Tech does not have down years. The last time the Hokies failed to post double-digit victories was 2003, when VPI was 8-5. Beamer’s last losing season was 1992. Since then, Virginia Tech has won at least 10 games in 12 of 16 seasons. In the 2000s, V-Tech’s average record is 10-3.
Beamer is a coaching marvel and, at the age of 64, shows no signs of slowing down.
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