30. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech 1987-2015
Frank Beamer was at Virginia Tech for what felt like forever. Beamer started his head coaching career at Murray State, and he made the jump to Virginia Tech in 1987. He replaced the legendary Bill Dooley. Usually, the weight of replacing a good coach is too much weight for one man to handle. Frank Beamer is not just any kind of man.
Things started slow for Beamer. There were NCAA violations that Dooley left the program with, and that limited the scholarships for Beamer to succeed. He only won five games in his first two seasons at Virginia Tech. Things were up and down for the first six seasons. It looked like it might not work out for Beamer as the Hokies were transitioning into the Big East. Then, something clicked in 1993. They won nine games on their way to an Independence Bowl victory.
Beamer recruited Michael Vick in the late 90s, and that was what changed the face of this team. They went from a Big East contender to true national title contenders. The team won 11 games in both 1999 and 2000, and they finished both seasons ranked in the top 10. They lost the National Championship Game in the 2000 Sugar Bowl to Florida State, and that was the closest Beamer would get to winning it all.
Beamer is one of the only coaches on this list to never win a national championship, but he left such a legacy on Virginia Tech he couldn’t be left off entirely. Beamer was everything to Hokies fans. He spent so long in Blacksburg that he left a lasting impact. He led them through two conference changes. Beamer had a lot on his plate, and he took it all in stride.