For coaches who have set the standard so high like Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, measuring success takes on a whole new meaning, writes Heather Dinich.
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had just finished speaking at a Hokie Club meeting this spring when one fan stood up and caught him by surprise.
"He said, 'Please, please don't ever take us through another season like that,'" Beamer said, shaking his head with a laugh. "I said, 'What?! You should've been here with us when we first got here.' That guy would've been a wreck."
Beamer's son, Shane, will remind you. As he sits in his office in the Merryman Center, he points out the window at Lane Stadium, where he recalls a mere 20,000 fans showing up in 1987 to watch the Hokies cap an ugly 2-9 season with a 21-20 win over Cincinnati. He remembers when the program won just two games again in 1992 -- the last losing season in Blacksburg.
"To be honest," he said, "fans are spoiled."
It's Beamer's fault.
He made them that way with eight straight seasons of at least 10 wins, four ACC titles and 20 straight bowl games. He's the one who led the program to its first back-to-back 11-win seasons and to its first national title game appearance in school history. Frank Beamer is the one who, over a span of two decades, made anyone outside of Blacksburg care about Virginia Tech football. Yet with one seven-win season last fall, many fans gave a swift Beamerball kick to the very pedestal they once put him on.
It wasn't even a losing season -- they won their bowl game.
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