In what has to be the most-appropriately titled memoir of all time, Frank Beamer writes about taking the North Carolina job in 2000 before giving it back in the recently released Let Me Be Frank: My Life at Virginia Tech.
In addition to his dalliance with the Tar Heels, the 27th-year Virginia Tech coach also received overtures from Alabama, Georgia and the Green Bay Packers.
In November of 2000, we had just lost that heartbreaking gameat Miami 41–21, largely because we didn’t have Michael Vick and André Davis, both hobbled with ankle injuries. We bounced back to beat Central Florida in Orlando and returned home with a 9–1 record and a week off to prepare for the regular-season finale at home against Virginia.
North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour called me, wanting to talk about the Tar Heels job. He was about to fire Carl Torbush. We talked a while and I was very intrigued with what he had to say and with the prospect of taking the Tar Heels job.
Cheryl and I wanted to get away to our house at Lake Oconee, Georgia, and Dick told us to meet him in Charlotte. We talked through a third person in Charlotte, and Cheryl and I drove to the lake house to think about our future, knowing we had an off week ahead of us. I took a few days, I talked to him again, I talked to Cheryl, and on Saturday, November 18, I told Baddour I would accept the job.
It would be one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
I didn’t tell a soul other than Cheryl and my trusted assistant, John Ballein.
We prepared well and beat Virginia 42–21 the next Saturday to finish 10–1. Cheryl and I then flew to Chapel Hill on Sunday morning, November 26, to work out the details. I had totally convinced myself it was a great opportunity. In fact, I knew it was. I also knew we could win big at North Carolina. They had great facilities and support from the administration.
Once we arrived that Sunday, we toured the Dean Dome and all the football facilities and met everybody in the administration. They took me to meet the president and offered me a glass of hot cider, somewhat as a toast to the future.
I never signed a contract and they wanted me to stay that Sunday night and have the introductory press conference on Monday morning.
“No, we have to get back to Blacksburg tonight,” I told them.
I know they were thinking if we got on that airplane to come home, I would change my mind.
And that’s exactly what I did.
The 2000 season was Michael Vick’s last at Virginia Tech, which would have provided a decent cover for Beamer to make the switch.
The rest, of course, is history but one can’t help but wonder where both programs would be had Beamer not changed his mind. Does North Carolina take control of the ACC after Florida State’s downturn? Does Virginia Tech even get invited to the ACC?
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