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Virginia Tech's coach admits that he is not usually "revealing" or "critical," but the book's author convinced him to be candid.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
In multiple interviews he’s done in the past few weeks about his recently released book, “Let Me Be Frank,” Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has often referred to a review written by one of the state’s sports columnists.
“The three words that he used were: poignant, revealing, critical,” Beamer said. “And a couple of those words are not usually me – critical and revealing.”
The 293-page book, written with author Jeff Snook and released Sunday, serves as an update to Beamer’s first effort, “Turn Up the Wick,” which came out in 2000, not long after Virginia Tech’s run to the national championship game.
While “Let Me Be Frank” covers the 66-year-old Beamer’s entire life, many revealing and open moments arrive in the 13 years since the release of that first book — his briefly taking the North Carolina job, Marcus Vick’s troubles in Blacksburg, Michael Vick’s dog-fighting scandal and the tragic shootings on campus in April of 2007.
Beamer had never publicly admitted that he agreed to leave for the North Carolina job in November of 2000 before changing his mind nine days later, but Snook, who previously wrote a book with Nebraska’s Tom Osborne, convinced Beamer that omitting details of his life would be disingenuous.
“His big regret is accepting it in the first place,” Snook said. “He never wanted to make it look like he went back on his word.
“To Frank Beamer, his word is golden 99.9 percent of the time. And I just convinced him that it was part of life and you’ve got to tell the truth. If you’re going to write a book, you can’t, I guess, say one thing if that’s not the facts. And he agreed with me.”
Beamer likened the situation to last offseason, when a coaching candidate he was interested in hiring simply couldn’t leave his alma mater.
“When it came time, he couldn’t get on the plane to come here for an interview,” Beamer said. “And when he called, he was apologetic. I said, ‘If anyone should know about that, it would be me. You don’t have to be apologetic about that.’ ”
Snook, who lives in Boynton Beach, Fla., and routinely writes stories for the Orange Bowl program, first approached Beamer about writing the book during the Hokies’ trip to play Stanford in the 2011 Orange Bowl.
Snook wasn’t blessed with fortuitous timing. His nearly two years of access with Beamer included the Hokies’ Sugar Bowl loss to Michigan, a defeat Beamer said still sticks with him, and the forgettable 2012 season, Tech’s worst in 20 years and one that Snook could tell wore on the coach.
“He’ll compete at anything and on the football field he hates to lose as much as anyone else,” Snook said, something evident by the book’s numerous tales of Beamer’s competitiveness on the golf course. “I think he wears it externally a little better than [other] people, but I think deep down it tears him up.”
The author was struck by the unanimity of respect for Beamer around Virginia Tech’s football offices.
“No matter who you talk to in that building, the amount of respect they have for him and the affection they have for him, that doesn’t exist everywhere,” Snook said.
“And I know there are a lot of underlings and assistants that resent their head coach for one reason or another. And there’s nobody that I know of in that building that would not just completely respect and almost, to a degree, love the guy as a father.”
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