Go Tech Go, Part 59: “We’ve Got Them Right Where We Want Them”

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Frank Beamer led Tech to the brink of the National Championship in 1999. (Virginia Tech Sports Photography)
Frank Beamer led Tech to the brink of the National Championship in 1999. (Virginia Tech Sports Photography)

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Because Florida State was the No. 1 ranked team in the country, the Seminoles got first pick on where to practice. Naturally they chose the Superdome. That left Virginia Tech to practice at Tulane University, which presented its own set of logistical problems. But the Hokies had nothing to worry about, because John Ballein was in charge.

In 1999, Ballein’s title was Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations. He could just as easily have been called “MVB.”

Most valuable bulldog.

While Frank Beamer ran things on the field, Ballein effectively ran everything else, and he did it in a brusque, no-nonsense style. To his head coach, he was invaluable. “I don’t think Coach Beamer could operate without Ballein,” said defensive end Corey Moore.

A linebacker at Indiana (Pa.), Ballein graduated with a degree in Physical Education and Health in 1983. Two years later he earned a master’s degree in education from Old Dominion University. In 1987, trying to land a position with a Division I-A school, he sent out 100 videotapes extolling his virtues. “I didn’t

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