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Like father, like son: Shane Beamer following in father Frank’s footsteps

Shane, now Tech’s associate head coach, moving up the ranks


** FILE ** In this Saturday Sept. 10, 2011, file photo, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against East Carolina in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl DeBlaker, File)

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Shane Beamer stood staring out over the field, a headset covering his ears and a football playbook spread open before him. He called plays to an assistant below on the field and his players lined up and ran them.

It was the early 1980s and Beamer, the son of longtime Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, wasn’t yet a teenager.

The headset was Fisher Price, plugged into nothing. The players included Shane’s younger sister, Casey, and three other kids from the family’s Blacksburg area neighborhood.

Shane’s playbook was from 1974 and came from his dad’s stint at The Citadel.

“Some guys like toys and things like that,” said Shane Beamer, now Tech’s associate head coach, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. “I always liked looking through playbooks.”

So those close to the Beamer family say it was no surprise that Shane followed his famous father’s footsteps into coaching after graduating from Tech in 1999.

“It would have been more shocking if he had not gone into coaching,” offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said recently.

In fact, the only person who expressed any reservations about Shane making the X’s and O’s of the gridiron his profession was his father.

“When he first told me that’s where he was thinking of going, my question was, ‘Are you crazy?’” Frank Beamer said. “‘Are you completely nuts? You’ve lived in this house.’ And of course, the first few years weren’t great years around here. And he lived through that. Heard his dad called a bum and the moving van’s going to be there soon. That’s kind of what made me feel good about it. He’d seen tough times and he’d seen good times.”

It wasn’t just the pressure. As a coach’s son, Shane Beamer understood early on the hectic schedule football coaches keep. Father’s Day is one of the few special days the Beamers celebrate without the specter of a game or the pressure of recruiting looming over it.

Thanksgiving comes during the stretch run of the season. Christmas and New Year’s are in the throes of bowl-game preparation. Mother’s Day?

“Falls during May recruiting,” Shane Beamer said. “I’ve [messed] up that one before.”

But Father’s Day has produced mostly success stories, most centered on the family’s lake house in Lake Coney, Ga., where they’ve been going since 1989.

The trips often include golf outings, a favorite pastime of the elder Beamer. In fact, many of the gifts Shane got for his father centered on the game. There were calendars full of pictures of famous golf courses and books on golf.

“He was never a big necktie guy,” Shane said.

This Father’s Day, Shane said he’ll leave selecting a gift for dad to his wife.

The Beamers are charging their batteries for what will be Frank’s 26th season leading the Hokies. He is now the winningest active and longest-tenured coach in Division I football.

Shane said he doesn’t see any signs his dad is slowing down. And both men just shrug off questions about the future, especially when asked whether Shane is being groomed to take over the Tech program his father has directed 1987.

“I just laugh,” Shane said. “That’s so far down the road that I’ve never even thought about it. It’s nothing that’s ever come up. There are eight other coaches on this staff that do a great job.”

Frank said he doesn’t plan to pick his successor.

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