It's OK to wake up, you're not dreaming. On Monday afternoon Hokie Nation got exactly what we've been clamoring for since the Orange Bowl thumping and recruiting disaster(s), change. It was only one change, but to be overly dramatic, yet precisely accurate, it's a "Change We Can Believe In".
Billy Hite was the longest tenured football coach at Virginia Tech. He's been coaching running backs since 1980, under then head coach Bill Dooley. The backs Hite mentored and developed decorate the Hokies' record book–ten of eleven season rushing leaders, nine of eleven career rushing leaders and 26 of his backs inked NFL contracts. Ut Prosim, "That I May Serve", and Coach Hite did so loyally, professionally and successfully for 33 years as a coach and will continue to do so as assistant to the head coach and senior advisor.
By all accounts Shane Beamer is a tremendous young coach, relatable, well-versed, and he recruits like an animal.
Shane Beamer's first class as the recruiting coordinator (2009) for the Gamecocks was ranked as the nation's 12th-best class by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. South Carolina's 2010 class included running back Marcus Lattimore, the No. 10 player in the country according to Rivals.com, and the 2011 class was highlighted by Jadeveon Clowney, the consensus No. 1 player in the nation.
Don't be fooled. It's not about Shane Beamer coming home to Blacksburg, or working with his dad. Deep down inside the people take a backseat to the results.
Unfortunately, I've never relaxed in the Beamer's living room. I'd guess it's roomy, but cozy, littered with pictures of friends and family, anchored by a big fireplace and built upon a solid hardwood floor marked with character. I'd bet there are knickknacks and heirlooms that have survived re-decorations and makeovers, just because they're there, apart of the room.
If there's one thing above all others that the Frankinator has cited as the main reason for success over the ten-wins-a-year streak it's the consistency and stability of the coaching staff. The coaches had been together since 2007, the core since 1996.
On Wednesday there was another change. Beamer "elevated" yet another longtime assistant coach, Jim Cavanaugh, to the administrative position of director of recruiting and high school relations. Coach Cav is as well a respected recruiter as they come. This past year he was recognized as the second and fourth best recruiting coordinator in the nation by Sporting News and ESPN The Magazine respectively. He's long in the tooth though, while former Tech All-American and Super Bowl champion Cornell Brown who's replacing Cav is not.
To anyone who's muttered or written the phrase, "Beamer's loyal to a fault", myself included, check yourself. Generally speaking, the older you become the more entrenched in routine, stubborn and resistant to change you are. Hite and Cav don't trade in the life on the field for the one behind the desk so easily unless they've been treated fairly for many years.
If there's one thing that's true about Frank Beamer it's that he doesn't overreact. He knows the game of poker isn't won or lost over the first pot. That's why we recovered from the JMU debacle, why they went to the Sugar Bowl in '95 and why we started the tradition of being the most consistent and best program in the ACC in '04. But he's not blind, he sees Florida State becoming competent again, UNC out recruiting us head-to-head and Virginia in the 757.
If it wasn't before, it's obvious now that winning ten games a season isn't enough for the Frankinator, not satisfactory to fill the empty trophy case.