Thursday, December 3, 1998
No Surprise Here: Beamer Staying
I'm still trying to sort out what the latest Frank Beamer coaching sweepstakes was all about, and I've decided that I'll probably never know. Was it about Frank trying to squeeze more money out of Tech? Was he trying to get better contracts for his assistants? Did he really consider leaving? Was he trying to make a statement to recruits that Tech is a good enough program that he would turn down Clemson and South Carolina? Did he just want the publicity, for whatever reason?
Like I said, I'll never know. But he sure did get more money. In a nutshell, from what I can tell from reading the articles, the main thing Frank got from the latest round of negotiations were an increased annuity and bigger bonuses for going to (and winning) bowl games.
In 1995, Frank signed a contract that specified that Tech would put $100,000 a year into a ten-year annuity, and in 2005, Frank could collect his million dollars (yes, I know there's interest involved there, but we'll go with 10x$100,000 = $1 million). If he leaves before then, he'll forfeit all of the annuity.
Well, Frank still has the remaining 7 years on that annuity, but now he's got an additional annuity that will net him another $75,000 per year, until 2005, for a total of $525,000 (7 years of $75,000=$525,000). Frank will also get $25,000 per year for Hokie Club appearances, so essentially he'll get an additional $100,000 per year in non-salary money for the next 7 years.
As an aside, the VTAF is responsible for raising the extra $100,000 per year for Frank, so I can just picture Jim Weaver looking at Lu Merrit and saying, "Well .... ?" And as another aside, given that, isn't it time to increase your Hokie Club donation level to make sure Frank's new salary is covered?
In total, that means that if Frank stays until 2005, he'll collect annuities worth a cool $1.5 million. Try buying out that contract, Clemson.
The Hokies also bumped up Frank's bonuses for going to bowl games. For non-BCS (Alliance) bowl bids, Frank will receive two months salary for taking Tech to a bowl, and a $10,000 bonus if Tech wins. For BCS bowls, those numbers are three months, and $15,000. If I remember correctly, this tops the previous contract, which awarded Frank two months salary for going to a bowl, any bowl, but nothing extra for winning it.
And -- get this -- it contains an incentive if Tech wins the national championship. Terms not disclosed.
This is all on top of the $450,000 Frank makes in salary ($170k per year plus endorsements). And remember, we're talking about a guy who gets lots of free stuff because of who he is. Let's just say that Frank probably never buys his own drink at the bar.
So, you've got to figure that it was about money, to some degree.
What the articles I read did not elaborate on was whether or not Frank got some pay raises and perks for his assistants, too. He has always taken good care of them, and he values his staff highly, so I've got to figure that there was something in the deal for his assistants, too.
But out of all this posturing and posing, which incensed some Hokie fans and annoyed me as well, came a lot of good results.
First of all, Beamer said that he was at Tech to stay, finally putting an end to the yearly Frank Beamer interviews that occur when big-name programs lose their coaches.
Secondly, it gave a sweetheart of a deal to a coach who deserves it. By the time that seven-year contract addition is complete, Tech will be making way more from its football program than the extra $100,000 a year it takes to pay for that new contract. Lane Stadium will be expanded by then, meaning increased ticket revenues, and Tech will go to many more bowls between now and then, bowls we might not go to if we had to suffer through a coaching change.
Thirdly, it made a statement to recruits and fans that Tech is in this for the long haul, and is committed to success. It also says that Tech has one of the hottest coaching staffs in the country, but unlike Tommy Bowden of Tulane (for example), it's not a staff that is going to jump for greener pastures.
So regardless of how you feel about the whole affair, Tech comes out looking pretty good in the end, but I will say one thing: it's not necessarily over. Frank was very careful to say, "This is the last place you will hear my name mentioned with a college job," (emphasis mine) but he didn't say anything about the NFL.
So if his old buddy Bobby Ross ever calls him up and says that he needs, say, a special teams coach or a defensive coordinator....
Corey Moore Named Big East Defensive Player of the Year
I've got to figure that being held all game long, every game, just might have been worth it for Corey Moore. Wednesday, Corey was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and a ton of other Hokies were named either All-Big East first team or second team on defense. Here's a link to the complete rundown on the official Big East web site:
In a nutshell, for the Hokies it goes like this:
First-Team Defense: Moore, Loren Johnson, Pierson Prioleau, and
First-Team Offense: Shayne Graham
Kudos to all of the Hokies who made the squads, and man, if Corey managed to rack up 14 sacks despite being constantly taken down and tackled by opposing linemen, what could he have done without the holding?
About Those Recruits
Shortly after Frank Beamer made his big announcement, Tech's slumbering recruiting season reawakened. The Hokies had previously snagged verbals from FB Ryan Angelo out of Florida, and DB/QB Shawn Witten out of Tennessee. But those verbals were long ago, and things had been disturbingly quiet on the recruiting front for a long time.
No longer. The Hokies received a verbal from highly-touted linebacker Thomas Woodley, the #12 prospect in Virginia, according to Doug Doughty's preseason list. Here's an article with the goodies on Woodley:
Greensville Co. linebacker commits to Va. Tech - The Roanoke Times
WDBJ-7 reported on Wednesday night that the Hokies will receive a verbal from Martinsville DE/TE Joe Simington on Thursday. Here's an archived article from The Roanoke Times that talks about Simington, who is an excellent student:
Disciplined Simington punishes Bulldogs' foes - The Roanoke Times
It's great to see things rolling on the recruiting front again, but this year, don't expect to see the Hokies rack up a bunch of great in-state recruits, like they did last year. Many of the state's top recruits don't have Tech high on their list, and the Hokies are instead focusing much of their attention on out-of-state recruits.
Ticket Sales Going Well After Day One
Music City Bowl ticket sales are off the charts, as is customary for the Hokies. Channel 10 reported that by the end of the day Wednesday, Tech had sold 5700 tickets, which probably includes the advanced sales of about 2500 that were done via mail in the previous weeks.
This doesn't count the fans who are buying directly from the Music City Bowl, and I believe there's a lot of them, too, because reports are surfacing on the message board about the Music City Bowl's ticket staff's amazement at the number of Hokie fans that are calling them and wearing them out.
The stadium seats 41,200 fans, and out of those seats, each team gets an allotment of 12,000 tickets, leaving 17,200 seats for sale directly from the bowl. It looks as if the Hokie fans might buy all of their allotment of 12,000, plus thousands more from the bowl.
This is a great bowl for Hokie fans, given that Nashville is a great city with lots to do, and it's only about 420 miles from Blacksburg. Tickets are cheaper than they were at those pesky Alliance Bowls, and Gator Bowls, too.
So I urge you, if you're on the fence about whether to go, go for it. I can't make it, since Mrs. HokieCentral and I are expecting our first child, little Baby HokieCentral, on or about January 5th, so I'm jealous of each and every one of you that's going.
To purchase tickets from Tech, call 1-800-VATECH4.
The Amazing Bonnie
Tech fans are still buzzing about the feat the women's basketball team pulled off in the last two weeks, beating #4 Duke on the road and #15 UVa at home. You can almost say that the Hokies are the best team in the ACC, because Duke and UVa were picked 1-2 in that league's preseason rankings.
Tech coach Bonnie Henrickson, with her cool, professional, and energetic demeanor, is rapidly becoming a well-loved Tech coaching icon. To drop her a note of encouragement and congratulations, send an email to email@example.com, which has now made it to my list of VIP Emails.
I've got to wonder, if Bonnie and her teams keep this up, how much longer can the Hokies keep her? There are more storied programs in the country with deeper pockets who will probably start sniffing around Tech's door soon, trying to snap Bonnie up as their coach.
When that happens, Jim Weaver will have a business decision to make. Will it be worth it to hike Bonnie's salary? I think she currently makes about $75,000 a year, which will look like peanuts if, say, an SEC school comes calling.
When the inevitable happens and job offers start coming Bonnie's way, Weaver will have to sit down and ask himself if women's basketball can become enough of a money maker or fan rallying point to justify paying Bonnie serious bucks.
Typically, women's basketball programs spend over $500,000 a year in coaching, travel, and other expenses, but make very little money. Most programs take in less than $100,000 per year in revenue.
See the figures yourself in an old USA Today report from early 1997 called Special report: Gender equity in 1997. Most women's programs are hemorrhaging money, to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars a year. In fact, in that report, only four programs made money.
So, the question is: with women's basketball a money-losing proposition, do you throw another $25,000 to $75,000 at a well-loved coach, or do you minimize your losses, let her go, and find a replacement?
It's a question our esteemed athletic director will probably have to answer soon, is my guess. Until then, enjoy the ride as the women's team does us proud.