BLACKSBURG, VA- Two days after being named Virginia Tech’s honorary captain for the season-opening game against West Virginia, former Hokie head football coach Frank Beamer made an appearance at Wednesday’s news conference and talked mostly on things pertaining to the Tech-West Virginia rivalry.
Beamer, who today serves as the spokesperson for Tech’s “Drive for 25” initiative, expressed his honor at being chosen to serve as the captain, and he also expressed gratitude at being a part of the pregame ceremony with former West Virginia coach Don Nehlen. As most know, Beamer and Nehlen were – and remain – good friends despite coaching against each other in what became a bitter rivalry between the two fan bases.
“We always got along great. Had a lot of respect for him,” Beamer said. “Thought he did a great job there. Sometimes our fans didn’t get so along well, but I think even though with that, there’s a lot of respect from our fans for their program and their fans the same. It goes back the other way.”
Beamer reminisced on some of the games between the two schools. Of course, everyone, including Beamer, remembers the 1999 game in which Michael Vick made a long run to set up Shayne Graham’s game-winning kick as time expired to keep the Hokies’ national championships hopes alive – Tech subsequently went undefeated during the 1999 regular season and played Florida State for the national title.
Also, in 1989, Beamer got his first victory over a ranked team when Tech beat West Virginia 12-10 in Morgantown. Two years later, the Hokies stopped West Virginia at the 1 to preserve a 20-14 win in Morgantown.
Those games, though, came when both teams were members of the BIG EAST. Conference re-alignment and differences in scheduling philosophies forced the cancellation for the series until this season. Tech and West Virginia also face each other in 2021 and 2022.
Count Beamer among those happy to see the two schools playing again.
“I think it’s a game that needs to be played as often as possible because you’re the next state over and we both have great fan bases,” Beamer said. “They’re going to fill our stadium. We’re going to fill their stadium. There are so many positives about playing this game that I’m glad to see it back on the schedule and hope it can come back as often as it can fit into both schools’ schedules.”
Courtesy: Virginia Tech Athletics