"I'm very aware of the situation with me, Virginia Tech, how long I've been there, how long I will be there," Beamer said. "I'm very aware of it, and I'm not going to be there longer than I feel like I'm a real plus for Virginia Tech. When I stop being a plus for Virginia Tech, you guys are going to have to come to Blacksburg to find me. At my house in Blacksburg, not the football office."
Shane Beamer mobbed his father, Frank, but he was late. Bud Foster was already there as both assistant coaches rushed to embrace the beloved 69-year-old Virginia Tech patriarch.
Chuck Clark intercepted Matt Johns with 59 seconds left, securing a 23-20 win and a 23rd consecutive bowl game for the retiring Frank Beamer.
Virginia Tech (6-6, 4-4 ACC) took on the personality of its head coach over the final three games, playing with a resiliency that lifted the Hokies to a bowl game and an extension to Beamer’s career. ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported midway through the game Justin Fuente would be the Hokies’ next head coach, but the Virginia Tech players weren’t ready to wish their current coach farewell.
Twice in the second half, the Hokies trailed rival Virginia by a touchdown, and both times a stagnant offense found life. Quarterback Michael Brewer, ineffective most of the day as the Cavaliers bludgeoned him, connected on several long passing plays to keep pace with Virginia.
After the game ended, the Hokies lifted Beamer on their shoulders and carried him off the field with the Commonwealth Cup in his hand. It was the 12th consecutive win over rival Virginia (4-8, 3-5).
“I love this football team,” Beamer said afterward on the field. “They battle. They do what it takes to win. They’re a great character group of kids. I love them to death.”
Michael Brewer threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns for the Hokies. Running back Travon McMillian added 81 yards on the ground and receiver Isaiah Ford had 121 receiving yards and his school single season record 10th touchdown of the year.
November 21, 2015: Beamer's last game at Lane Stadium as coach
He’ll get to coach for that home crowd for the 180th time in his Hall of Fame career. He's gone 136-42-1 in Lane during his 29 years, a winning percentage of .763, which more than doubles the overall win total of any other Virginia Tech coach.
The longest winning streak Beamer had at home was 16 games from the start of the 1999 season to the first four games of 2001. He also had home winning streaks of 12 games (2007-09), 12 games (1995-97) and 11 games (1993-94). Beamer had 18 seasons in his 29-year Virginia Tech career in which he lost only one or no games at home.
Along the way, there were plenty of big wins. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who has been with Beamer every year since 1979, when he was a linebacker and Beamer the defensive coordinator at Murray State, had a tough time narrowing down the memories.
There was his first win as a defensive coordinator in 1995 against a Miami team that had given Tech troubles, the Thursday night win against Clemson during the 1999 BCS title game season when defensive end Corey Moore took over, the 62-0 rout of Syracuse later that season (“We just kind of rolled sevens,” Foster said) and, more recently, comeback wins against Nebraska and Miami.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the stadium explode like that Nebraska game on Danny Coale’s catch or us stopping Miami on that particular game here a few years ago,” Foster said. “We’ve had a lot of good wins here. This place became a really good place that was a tough field to play in. We’ve got to do that one more time.”
Five of the Hokies’ nine assistant coaches played for Beamer at either Murray State or Virginia Tech — Foster, defensive line coach Charley Wiles, defensive secondary coach Torrian Gray, linebackers coach Cornell Brown and his son, running backs coach Shane Beamer. Stinespring has been on his staff since coming on as a graduate assistant in 1990.