Beamer at #45 on ESPN all time top 150 greatest college football coaches

45. Frank Beamer, 280-144-4
Murray State (1981-86; 42-23-2) and Virginia Tech (1987-2015; 238-121-2)

After a 2-8-1 finish in 1992, Beamer feared Virginia Tech, his alma mater, might fire him. In 2015, he retired as the winningest active coach in the FBS after guiding the Hokies to four ACC titles, three Big East championships and 13 10-win seasons. Virginia Tech's aggressive style of play on special teams became known as "Beamer Ball." During the 1990s, no team in the country blocked more kicks than the Hokies, who had 66 in the decade.

Finished one spot ahead of Urban Meyer. Overall I think a fair placement for him.

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#1 and it's not even close.

Leonard. Duh.

"He is number 25 in the book, but number 1 in our hearts, he is Frannnnnnnnnnk Beamer!"

Can't wait to see who they have at 44... guarantee I take Frank over him

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Meyer is way too low on this list.

I kept going back to see where i missed him, not realizing he was sitting behind Frank at 46.

Gobble Till You Wobble

He absolutely should. He's shady and I don't personally like him, but there's no doubt the man can coach. He won nattys at two different schools and he's in the 40s? That makes no sense.

Beamer seems pretty fair though. You could dispute the exact number but I think the general range is fine. Built a program, consistently competed for conference titles but no natty and big time bowl wins were more hit or miss.

Don't forget that Urban also went undefeated at Utah before they were invited to join the Pac12, and was the coach of the first non-power team to get an at large bid to a BCS/NY6 bowl in the BCS era.

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I'd have Beamer at #25.

#45 in your program(list) and #1 in your heart

"These people are losing their minds" - Mike Patrick

Without reading the rest of the list, 45 is WAY too low, and I'm not saying that just as a fan.

Very few coaches (maybe none) elevated a program as dramatically as Beamer did, and that he did it with unmatched class and humility is just a bonus.

I can accept that not winning a national title is going to keep him from the top 10, or maybe even top 20. But there are not 44 other college coaches that accomplished more than Frank Beamer.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Bill Snyder is even lower and did the same for KSU twice.

Without reading the rest of the list, 45 is WAY too low, and I'm not saying that just as a fan.

It's really hard to compare teams, coaches, and players from today to the WWII/pre-WWII era. It's equally as difficult to compare accomplishments at the DII/DIII level to those at the DI level. Achievements are further skewed by segregation/integration.

By my (very rough) count, if you eliminate all of the coaches who mostly coached at D1 schools, post 1960, Beamer comes in at about 24 (I'm sure you could tweak my somewhat ambiguous criteria to make it 25).

Very few coaches (maybe none) elevated a program as dramatically as Beamer did

Steve Spurrier, Bobby Bowden, John McKay, Joe Paterno, and Frank Beamer all come to mind as people who build a program out of nothing in the post WWII era

I think the best comparison to Beamer is Gary Patterson (albeit, I think GP is a poor man's Beamer). Took a school from nothing to a power conference. Won that power conference a couple times. Had one super successful season, and many more good ones.

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I might be totally wrong about this, but I'm not sure that I would put pre-Beamer Virginia Tech overall as a university and athletic entity in the same category as the University of Florida, Florida State, USC, Penn State (and even TCU) before those other great coaches got there.

Those schools generally were in major sports conferences before those coaches lifted them to football powerhouses. Actually, I guess Penn State was an independent, and I'm not sure if FSU was in the ACC when Bowden got there. But they were at least big state schools that I believe were well known around the country. (Correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm not 100% certain)

Growing up in Texas, I had literally never even heard of Virginia Tech until I was a junior in high school in 1990, five years after moving to Virginia.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Further research shows you are correct:

  • Penn State was an independent until '92. The prior coach was there for 16 seasons, never had a losing record, but only made 4 bowl games.
  • Florida had never won a conference championship until Spurrier got there. Prior to Spurrier, they had 9 bowl wins, and 19 appearances, the first of which was in 1912.
  • Florida state is a weird situation - they had a club team in the early 1900's, then the Florida legislative body segregated all of the Florida schools based on race and gender. What we now know as FSU was an all white woman's school with no football team. Then, after WWII ended, a ton of vet's were trying to use the GI Bill to get their degree, so Florida government made FSU a coed school, and a football team was created. The next 4 coaches had records of 0-5, 31-12-1, 34-28-1, and 4-6, respectively. Then Bill Peterson came in and did some good things like make it to 3 straight bowl games, and got a top 10 ranking once, but he left for football powerhouse Minnesota. In the next four years, FSU went 19-27, and then hired Bowden.
  • USC was actually pretty relevant prior to John McCay.
  • TCU had some success prior to GP, going to 17 bowl games, but didn't make a single bowl game from '65-'84 (that's one hell of a dry spell, WOOF), and only three bowl games between '59 and '98. Since then, 2004 is the only year they've missed a bowl.
  • VT has 4 conference championships, 6 bowl appearances, and 1 bowl win prior to Frank Beamer.

All of these coaches had different situations, and as a result faced unique challenges, which is pretty cool. Bowden took over a program that was less than 25 years old. Paterno inherited a good program that had little to no national recognition. Patterson took over a team that had history, but had been pretty awful for almost 40 years. I thought USC had big fall off during WWII, but they didn't really. Spurrier is kind of a rich man's Frank Beamer, taking over a team that was a bit better than VT's and bring them to a level above what VT has ever reached.

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Building on that- the Hokies were one of several dozen independent schools as far as football from the end of the Southern Conference in 1964 until joining the Big East in 1991
Other independents as of 1986 were:

1986 Division I-A independents football records
vte Conf Overall
Team W L T W L T
No. 1 Penn State 12 0 0
No. 2 Miami (FL) 11 1 0
No. 20 Virginia Tech 9 2 1
No. 19 Boston College 9 3 0
Tulsa 7 4 0
Florida State 7 4 1
Army 6 5 0
Southwestern Louisiana 6 5 0
Southern Miss 6 5 0
Temple 6 5 0
Pittsburgh 5 5 1
Rutgers 5 5 1
Cincinnati 5 6 0
Notre Dame 5 6 0
Syracuse 5 6 0
South Carolina 3 6 2
Tulane 4 7 0
West Virginia 4 7 0
Louisville 3 8 0
Navy 3 8 0
Wichita State 3 8 0
East Carolina 2 9 0
Northern Illinois 2 9 0
Memphis State 1 10 0

Not being in a conference made it harder to find good teams to schedule and get national recognition. And we had only been to 5 bowl games before the first bowl win in 1986 Peach Bowl against NC State (an awesome game that I was at!!) Bill Dooley left after that season and brought sanctions on the team that hurt the early Beamer years. This time was also the beginning of the heyday for Miami and FSU- who were both generally top 5 teams every year beginning in the mid 80s until the early 2000s.

From the 2018 VT-uva game-"This is when LEGENDS are made!"

seems legit, rough first few years and rough last few years, made it too the dance once but did not did not win it. Lots of great coaches not listed yet and it will be interesting to see how they do modern verse olden day dudes...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
I served in the United States Navy"


TIL that Bo Schembechler never won a natty.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

Honestly though, the natty wasn't really a huge deal in that era. If you happened to finish #1 in one of the major polls, that was cool. But for the Big Ten it was all about winning the conference and winning the Rose Bowl, which he did many times.

I think his placement is what I call Marino syndrome. Can be a great player/coach, but if you don't win the big one, it's going to hold you back.

I'm sure he would have been higher had he gotten to hoist the trophy.

Previously LowBrau.

I'd have Saban at one. While increased information is a blessing, it also means everyone else has access to it. You can no longer hoard up all the good players around you and keep them secret, everyone knows who the top guys are and all the elite teams recruit nationally. Plus scholarship limits make a difference in this comparison. This isn't a hill I would die on, given that I never watched a single Bear Bryant team play. Just my opinion.

The game has advanced so much tactically and strategically, both on and off the field, that modern achievements are just far more impressive to me. I'd have Urban Meyer much higher as a result as well. Both he and Saban were innovators (on opposite sides of the ball), and won at multiple locations which is also big plus for both of them.

Interesting thing about Bryant is that you can kind of divide his career into three sections: When all of college football was segregated, when only some teams (not Alabama) were segregated, and when all teams were integrated. Bryant's record in phases 1 and 3 were pretty good, but he performed pretty terribly during that middle phase.

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I love subjective takes on greatness. #1 for me!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

You can't put a number on heart and passion.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

#45 on the list of all time football coaches isn't too shabby, really.

But yeah, #25 would have been better.

Good one. That's worth the 59 seconds plus the Zaxby's commercial for the laugh at the end.

45 is insane. Top 25 without a doubt. 25 would be poetic.

(Also without reading the list, because it isn't even necessary!)