Saturday’s game in Blacksburg had all the game day festivities fans could hope for with the underlying theme being “Frank Beamer.”
Yes, there was a football game against the sixth ranked team in the country, but it was a special day for the former coach and his family.
Notre Dame claimed the game on the field, but it was Beamer that received many accolades including a new statue in front of the stadium he used to roam.
The country boy from Hillsville that starred at Virginia Tech as a player and coached there for over 30 years was overwhelmed with the honor. Shortly after the unveiling, he joked that the statue was a little taller than him.
He thanked the university, fans, former coaches and players and his family for the moment. Before the unveiling, two of Beamer’s grandchildren tried to peak under the fabric to see what was waiting for him. No one in the Beamer family had seen the statue prior to Saturday. It was a quite a surprise, and Beamer himself did not know about the ceremony until mid-week.
“This is incredible,” Beamer said as he and his wife, Cheryl, both choked up during the unveiling.
Artist Tom Gallo who’s painted a previous portrait of Beamer created the bronze statue.
Gallo did not have Beamer pose for the piece, instead pulling his image from a combination of pictures and paintings.
The statue includes a bench where visitors can sit beside Beamer on the sidelines. He is holding a playbook with several words of encouragement, and there is a headset around his neck. The scene is something most fans came accustomed to with Beamer on the sidelines.
But the honors did not end there for the former ball coach.
The university also unveiled signage officially recognizing the football team’s indoor practice facility as the Beamer-Lawson Indoor Practice Facility. John Lawson helped make the facility possible.
A halftime ceremony recognized the significant contributions that both families have made to Virginia Tech, specifically the practice facility, which was funded along with the assistance of many generous Tech benefactors.
A 1975 geophysics alumnus of Virginia Tech, Lawson is the executive chairman of W. M. Jordan Company. He serves on a number of boards, including past chairman and current board member for Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and The Mariners’ Museum.
He was co-chair of Virginia Tech’s $1 billion comprehensive campaign, a past rector for the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and co-founder of the Meyers-Lawson School of Construction Management at Virginia Tech.
Opened in Coach Beamer’s final season in 2015, the project was conceived as a facility that would not only benefit football but would also be available to many other of Tech’s teams and the Virginia Tech community.
Designed and constructed under the direction of the W. M. Jordan Company, the building features eight distinctive porticoes engraved with the same values on the eight pylons of Virginia Tech’s War Memorial—brotherhood, honor, leadership, sacrifice, service, loyalty, duty and Ut Prosim.
The expansive structure has a volume of over 7.9 million cubic square feet and has a height over 86 feet from the field to the interior roof trusses, a feature specially requested by Coach Beamer to allow for punting and kicking.
In a release from the university, it was noted that the facility has received multiple awards from the Design-Build Institute of America’s Mid-Atlantic Region, an organization that teaches and promotes the best practices in design-build construction.
Most notably, the Beamer-Lawson Indoor Practice Facility received a first-place award for building design. Along with HKS Sports + Entertainment, the W.M. Jordan Company also received the Excellence in Architecture Award for the project.
Beamer was also honored at halftime for his selection to the College Football Hall of Fame. The coach received a plaque from the group, which will officially recognize him during the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 4.