If you lined up 30 men, you could easily pick out father-son Frank-Shane Beamer by the wide, brown eyes, similar face structure and friendly countenances. They both smile easily and maintain an approachable personality. They both take their coffee black and coach football, though one as Head Coach and the other as Associate Head Coach. They both stand tall as role models on and off the field.
“I grew up around football. I saw the good, fun sides of coaching the game and some of the challenging, bad stuff,” states Shane. At Blacksburg High School (class of 1995), David Crist, long-time and current football coach, told the younger Beamer to choose a college he would enjoy attending even if there was no football. “Good advice,” Shane says, and after looking around, he selected Virginia Tech.
Several years ago, there was an article in Forbes Magazine about five men with highly successful businesses. Each one was able to provide a college education to a son and followed that with “Go get an entry level job somewhere, and work your way up. Don’t even dream of applying in the family business for five years.” Of course, I have no way of knowing if that was Shane’s experience, and VT isn’t a family business, but similarities are striking, and I do know this: He worked in the trenches as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech and the University of Tennessee for a total of four years, followed by three seasons at Mississippi State. A few more at South Carolina. All the while working his way through a variety of coaching positions. Honing his skills before bringing them back to his alma mater in 2011.
“We are both competitive, and we love golf,” Shane relates. “But if we eat out, dad will probably order prime rib while I get steak. Dad prefers hot dogs. I like hamburgers. I read more than he does – got that from my mom. U.S. history books and anything to do with football coaching. If there’s a coach book out there, I’ve read it.”
Frank Beamer and Shane Beamer both spend a lot of time with people — possible recruits in 16- and 17-year-olds. “Recruiting is the life blood of any football program,” Shane states. They work with and counsel 18- and 19-year-olds and young men into their early 20s. “Winning is always a kick,” Frank Beamer has said, “but watching young folks develop, mature and become better people is one of the greatest rewards of my job.”
The Beamers deal with university administrators, media people, donors (of all denominations, some big, some little, all worthy), other coaches, announcers, referees, opponents, and more. In addition to coaching, it’s a PR job to the max, and if there’s one thing Shane Beamer works on developing and hopes he has inherited, it’s his father’s level-headedness. “He’s calm in the storm of any game.”
Shane is a bit taller than Frank, but height is of no consequence when Shane expresses how much he looks up to his father. Virginia Tech is richly blessed with two Beamers who will say in unison: Go Hokies!
By Joanne M. Anderson
Photos courtesy of Virginia Tech