Writing about Frank Beamer’s eventual retirement is a touchy issue. It always is with these things; a lot of fans don’t want us scribes to even mention it, as if somehow writing about it makes it more real, makes it happen sooner, or — worst of all — makes it something “other schools can use against the Hokies in recruiting.” (We assure you, other coaches don’t get recruiting ideas or ammo from us.)
These things almost never happen gracefully. Way back in September of 2000, Virginia athletic director Terry Holland wrote a letter that was posted on TheSabre.com and caused a stir. The letter promised that by the end of the 2000 season, a “transition timetable” would be in place for George Welsh’s retirement. It was the first time that retirement for Welsh had been mentioned publicly by anyone, so the resulting ruckus was understandable, and Welsh’s impending retirement, as identified by Holland, dogged Welsh throughout the 2000 season, his final one on the Virginia sideline.
So it’s difficult to handle these things cleanly. The issue of an aging coach’s retirement is the elephant in the room that no one talks about, until someone talks about it, like Terry Holland did.
Saturday, in front of the media, Frank finally talked about it … sort of. He said, in a quote that is likely to become more and more famous as the days go by, “I’m very sensitive to staying around too long.”
Here’s the part of the press conference where Frank talked about it – fast forward to the 3:30 mark and listen for about two and a half minutes.
Much like Mr. Holland’s opus on the Sabre (see what I did there?), Frank’s statement was unexpected. He was asked about the recent departure of Jim Grobe from Wake Forest and Mack Brown’s troubles at Texas (which later resulted in his resignation). Frank was not asked if he was thinking about retirement. He offered up the “sensitive” comment of his own accord. And suddenly, we’re all talking about the elephant.
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