Staff Changes Unusual for Beamer’s Hokies

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With three new coaches coming on board, and a possible fourth opening coming
soon, Frank Beamer’s football staff has undergone its biggest changes since
1992, when a 2-8-1 season led to a housecleaning and the shuffling of the staff
into the unit that eventually led Tech to Big East championships and the
national championship game. Also notable is that a member of the coaching staff,
for the first time since 1992, has been removed from a coaching job against his
will: Danny Pearman.

By now, you know the news. With QB coach Kevin Rogers and WR coach Tony Ball
having departed previously, the Hokies were in the market for two new assistant
coaches. They hired three new coaches: Mike O’Cain will coach the QBs, Kevin
Sherman will coach the wide receivers, and Curt Newsome will coach the offensive
line. Bryan Stinespring will switch to tight ends coach and retain his offensive
coordinator duties.

To create the third slot needed, the Hokies are reassigning former tight ends
coach Danny Pearman to an as-yet unspecified position in the athletic
department. Still up in the air is defensive backs coach Lorenzo
"Whammy" Ward, who might move on to the NFL by the end of the weekend,
creating another empty slot.

After the 2-8-1 debacle of 1992, Frank Beamer met with then-Athletic Director
Dave Braine, and legend has it that Braine ordered Beamer to make wholesale
changes on his coaching staff. Beamer wrote (via ghostwriter Chris Colston) in
his 2000 autobiography "Turn Up the Wick!" that Braine never told
Beamer to fire "so-and-so," but rather said, "I don’t think you
can survive public opinion with the current coaching staff."

That was a big hint, and as detailed in chapter 15 of his book, Beamer set
about making changes, many of them painful for him:

  • Tight ends coach Tommy Groom was fired in late November 1992.
  • Defensive coordinator/ILB coach Mike Clark was reassigned (to an
    undetermined position at the time) in November 1992, then was fired in
    January 1993.
  • Secondary coach Keith Jones was reassigned in November 1992, then was
    fired in January 1993.

Offensive coordinator and OL coach Steve Marshall left for a position with
the Tennessee