It’s still a little weird imagining anyone other than Frank Beamer leading the Virginia Tech football team. For the last 29 seasons, Beamer and the Hokies were synonymous. Last week, we caught up with the legendary coach to discuss life in retirement, his relationship with new coach Justin Fuente, and his love for pedicures (seriously).
Here is some video of the interview.
Are you missing coaching yet?
Beamer: I feel like the most fortunate person in the world to have stayed at the same place for 29 years. This is a place that I love, a place that has meant so much to me and my family. That relationship has just been fantastic. I’ve been busy, maybe too busy. I’ve done a lot of coaching clinics and run a lot of sports clubs. And of course being around the grandkids. My son Shane has three now, and my daughter has a boy on the way. Between balancing the grandkids and the projects that I have going on, it’s been a busy time. But I do feel extremely important to be in this position.
Did you ever think about leaving Tech?
Beamer: There were a couple offers I was very serious about. But you know, this is a tough place to leave. Every time I think about it, I can look around and see that I was part of building all these wonderful facilities. All of these other places, I didn’t have anything to do with that. I saw it grow, getting bigger and better.
How much did you know about Justin Fuente before he was hired?
Beamer: I didn’t know a lot. I knew the name. I knew he had some quick success at Memphis. I wasn’t really associated with him other than the fact that he went to Murray State, and I coached at Murray State. I said, well, this guy has a chance to be okay. Since I’ve gotten to know him, and my wife has gotten to know his wife, I think they (VT Athletic Department) did a great job in who they hired. He’s solid, and just the right kind of guy for Virginia Tech. They made a great hire.
I never underestimated winning. It’s hard to win on Saturday…
— Frank Beamer
Now that you’re friends with Coach Fuente, if you see a play that might not be working on the field during the season, it your place to say something?
Beamer: I’ve worked really hard to stay out of it. With a new guy coming in, the last thing I want to do is have him looking over his shoulder. He put together a great staff. He knows what he’s doing. He’s going to do just fine.
This year’s team was a roster that you built. If you had to be an ESPN analyst and give a preseason outlook of this year’s team, what would you say?
Beamer: I think they have some great leadership. That senior class coming up are not only great players, but outstanding guys. Developing that kind of chemistry is a great place to start. A lot of it depends on the schedule, and when guys get hurt or if the other team has guys that are hurt. But I think they have a chance to have a good season.
Wide receiver Isaiah Ford has been getting a lot of national attention. How good is he?
Beamer: Oh, I think he is really good. I’ve been saying it since I recruited him. Part of the deal was we were going to let him play basketball too. I had a chance to see him on the court before the field. There are a lot of guys that want to come in and play two sports. He was one guy that I actually thought had the chance to do that. He realized that his real future was in football, and I think he has a great future. Everything is good about Isaiah.
Talk about the in-state rivalry. Do you really hate UVA?
Beamer: I thought it was great for the state. You have two great universities in the same state and in order to really want to beat someone, you’ve got to have respect for them and want to beat them. Your fan base wants to beat them and have bragging rights. That was always a big game. We made it a big game. I was proud the last few years that we’ve been able to win that game, and keep our alumni fan base happy for a little while at least.
You love to golf. Who is a coach or player that is a really good golfer?
Beamer: Steve Spurrier is a good golfer. He grinds at it. They took us on these Nike trips and we would play golf in the mornings with coaches from across the country. There are a lot of good golfers out there.
People were shocked to see you 'dabbing' in the locker room last year. Are you a big dancer?
Beamer: I had no clue what I was doing. We had a lot of fun. I think one of the greatest moments is in the locker room after a game where you just won. To share that with your coaches and players just having some fun. I never underestimated winning. It’s hard to win on Saturday, Things have gotten a lot more (difficult) even. I appreciated every win and I was going to enjoy every win.
There have been photos surfacing of you getting pedicures. Is that a regular thing for you?
Beamer: It is. I like clean nails. I get strange looks sometimes when I walk in. I think times are changing, I think you’ll see more and more people do that in years to come. It used to be you would never hear of a man getting a massage. But it’s a way to relieve tension and stress. I fully expect more men to be getting pedicures in the near future.
If you had to pick your most special game while coaching at Virginia Tech, what would it be?
Beamer: I’d probably say the national championship. It wares at you, because we really had a team that was good enough to win that game. I took some chances, went for it on fourth down, did a couple of fakes. If I had to do it over, I don’t know if I would have done all of those. Because in reality, we were good enough to win it. And I’m disappointed we never made it back to that point. That loss stung, but the good memories will always far outweigh the bad memories.
The Hokies kick off their season under coach Fuentes September 3 versus Liberty at Lane Stadium.