Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer is reportedly looking for a new offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and quarterbacks coach. It’s important to note that no coaching changes have been officially reported from the athletics department, but all the beat writers who cover the Hokies all seem to have the same “source.”
The Virginia Tech alum has coached his alma mater for the last 26 seasons and has more wins than any other active FBS college football coach in the game today. He is known for his loyalty to his assistants and conversely, his assistants’ loyalty to him. Turnover is almost unheard of at Virginia Tech.
But after another disappointing offensive season, it appears the long-time coach can no longer ignore the need for new blood and new ideas. The question is, who does he get? While we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s already being reported that Tech was unable to lure Stanford OC Pep Hamilton to Blacksburg.
Even if they had, Hamilton is already garnering NFL interest, so how long would he stay in Blacksburg? And therein lies Frank Beamer’s dilemma. Finding a coach that won’t leave in two years. Finding a coach that will become part of the Hokie Nation and embrace the culture of family and loyalty Beamer has carefully crafted over the last quarter century.
But is that a realistic expectation in today’s coaching environment where one or two good seasons at a big program can launch a young coach into a head coaching job, or even an NFL gig? Most college and pro teams are so afraid to miss out on the next great young coach that they hire someone based on a very short resume. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but teams are willing to take that chance it seems.
So who’s next on Beamer’s list? Mike Barber of theRichmond Times-Dispatch reported that a source has Chuck Long as the next man on Beamer’s radar. So far, that bit of news has left the Virginia Tech fan base slightly deflated based on social media posts and comments.
Long, who was the runner-up to Bo Jackson in the 1985 Heisman voting and is a member of the college football hall of fame, last coached in college in 2011 as the Kansas offensive coordinator. In two years as the offensive coordinator, the Jayhawks were 5-19.
In 2011, Kansas ranked 106th in total offense and 95th in scoring offense. In 2010, Kansas ranked 113th in total offense and 111th in scoring offense. Those offensive numbers are actually worse than Virginia Tech.
In 2001, after having served as quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma for college teammate Bob Stoops, Long was promoted to OU’s offensive coordinator position. The Sooners won the 2003 Rose Bowl (2002 season).
The following season, OU’s offense set a Big 12 conference record by averaging 51.5 points per game. The next season, Long was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, which honors the top assistant coach in college football.
During his four years as offensive coordinator for Oklahoma (2002-05), the Sooners were 44-9. In 2002, OU’s offense ranked 37th in total offense. In 2003, it improved to 19th. Long led the offense to an 8th place ranking in 2004, his third season, before dropping off to 71st in his final season as OC.
Long has also been a head coach, having spent three seasons at San Diego State (2006-2008) where he went 9-27 and lost to a I-AA team twice.
Everything is still a rumor at this point, but if the Hokies are hoping to keep quarterback Logan Thomas around for his final year, a decision will have to be made by Tuesday, Jan. 15, the deadline Thomas faces for withdrawing his name from the NFL draft.
EDITED: 1/11/13 - 12:00 p.m. to include Long’s record as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.
Rumors are flying around that have Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton coming to Blacksburg to take over as OC for the Hokies. And the announcement could come sometime today or tomorrow.
Skeptical Hokie fans are asking the same question: “Why would he leave Stanford for Virginia Tech?” Good question.
Stanford is a top 10 program fresh off a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, capping a 12-2 season. The Cardinal are 22-4 in their last two seasons and are clearly a program on the verge of becoming a national power. So why would a 38-year-old offensive coordinator leave to take the job at Virginia Tech, whose team is coming off a disappointing 7-6 season?
Well, for starters, Hamilton has ties to the east coast. He graduated from, and played his college football at Howard University in Washington, D.C. And when his playing days were over, he stepped right into coaching. His first job was as QBs coach for his alma mater from 1997-1998. Hamilton then took over as offensive coordinator from 1999-2001.
In 2001, he interned with the Washington Redskins. The following season, he interned with the Baltimore Ravens. Clearly. his ties to the east coast are there.
Hamilton is married with three children. And what better place to raise a family than in Blacksburg?
To you and I, the diehard Hokie football fans, this move seems like a downgrade. But if you take a step back and look at it from an outsider’s point of view, Hamilton may be thinking that he can come to Blacksburg and work with a legendary head coach in Frank Beamer, who resurrected a program from the ashes into a nationally respected program.
Perhaps Hamilton wants to come back to the east coast and raise his kids in a small town. Maybe he’s been told that he can bring in his own assistants and run the offensive how he sees fit.
We just don’t know. So to say that he wouldn’t come here because it’s a bad move is being overly skeptical. People make decisions based on their own visions, needs and reasons.
And if Pep Hamilton were to come to Blacksburg, he would be warmly received by a fan base that, for the most part, has been clamoring for change for many years.
(Photo courtesy of GoStanford.com)