A first-ballot selection to the College Football Hall of Fame, Frank Beamer will add another honor to his growing list of lifetime accolades in June when he receives the 23rd annual Dick Enberg Award presented by CoSIDA at its annual convention in Orlando.
Established in 1997, the Dick Enberg Award is given annually to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Teams Program and/or the student-athlete while promoting the values of education and academics.
The award was created in part to recognize the late broadcaster’s passion and support of the Academic All-America® program and more importantly, his dedication to education for more than four decades. Past winners have included President Gerald Ford, Tom Osborne, Pat Summit, Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.
The term “Beamer Ball” became synonymous with Virginia Tech’s innovative approach on special teams as Hokies rose to national prominence thanks in large part to their ability to consistently make game-changing plays in the kicking game.
Revered by his coaching peers across the country and adored by Virginia Tech fans for his success and his humility, Beamer’s contributions to his alma mater have gone far beyond the football field. A 1969 Tech graduate, his care and compassion following the tragic events of April 16, 2007 on the Virginia Tech campus served as a model for all Hokies to emulate as a grieving community healed and recovered.
Beamer has long embraced the university’s spirt of Ut Prosim ("That I May Serve") and has enthusiastically supported philanthropic efforts across the region for decades. The son of a school teacher, one of the causes closest to Beamer’s heart is Herma’s Readers, a program named after his mother that provides books and other resources in an effort to promote literacy throughout Southwest Virginia.
“When you stop and consider the many meaningful values that Dick Enberg embraced and, in particular, those represented in the award CoSIDA proudly presents in his name each year, Frank Beamer’s career success clearly checks all of those boxes," noted Doug Vance, CoSIDA Executive Director.
“He was a leader and achiever as a coach, underscored by his induction this year into the College Football Hall of Fame, and has represented his profession and school with dignity and respect. Throughout his career, he’s made education a priority for his players and carried that over to his foundation, which promotes literacy throughout Virginia, and also through his many civic endeavors. CoSIDA joins with the Enberg Family in congratulating Coach Beamer as the 23rd recipient of the Dick Enberg Award.”
“On behalf of the entire Enberg family, I am thrilled that Frank Beamer will receive this year’s Dick Enberg Award Recipient for academics, athletics and community development,” said Ted Enberg, son of the late Dick Enberg. “In addition to an outstanding career with 29 seasons as Virginia Tech’s head football coach, Frank Beamer exemplifies the selfless goals and dedication to his community. Inspired by his school teacher mother, Coach Beamer started “Herma’s Readers” to promote literacy throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and does so much more to support academics and scholarships. The Virginia Tech motto, UT Prosim translates as “that I may serve.” Coach Beamer honors that motto every day.”
A member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, Beamer was named the 2018 recipient of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award.
Prior to last season’s contest against Notre Dame on October 6, 2018, a monument celebrating Coach Beamer was unveiled at Moody Plaza, located on the Southwest corner of the Lane Stadium footprint adjacent to Beamer Way. Unlike other monuments honoring iconic figures, this tribute to Coach Beamer will be devoid of any pedestal and will be very approachable just like the man who was taught the values of hard work and loyalty on his family’s farm in rural Hillsville, Virginia.
Under Beamer, the Hokies posted five top-10 finishes and became one of only six programs in college football history to go to a bowl game in at least 20-straight seasons. After just one win in six bowl games prior to his arrival, Beamer would win 11 of his 23 appearances, including marquee wins in the 1995 Sugar Bowl, the 2009 Orange Bowl and the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl. His Hokies were also one of just four teams in Division I history to produce 10 wins in eight or more consecutive seasons (2004-11), and his 23-straight seasons of seven or more wins are a school record.
Beamer continues to serve Virginia Tech as an ambassador for athletics and the spokesperson for the Drive for 25 campaign that seeks to increase membership in the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund (aka the “Hokie Club”) to 25,000 members. “I know firsthand from both my experience as a player and from coaching just how important scholarships are to young people here at Virginia Tech,” Beamer said. “Scholarships change lives, and that’s why Cheryl [his wife] and I have always been willing to give to help these student-athletes not just to play sports, but also to be a part of such a special place and get a degree. Many of my former players wouldn’t have received that opportunity otherwise.”
Photo credit: Virginia Tech Athletics