- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2006

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer knew higher expectations would accompany the large raise — more than $2 million a year — he received in October when he signed an extension that will keep him at his alma mater through the 2012 season.

Hokies fans had nothing to complain about at the beginning of the season when Virginia Tech seemed poised for a national championship run. But that all changed with a loss to Miami in November.

So long, title hopes. Hello, grumbling. The number of disgruntled fans grew when the Hokies’ bid for a BCS berth ended with a loss to then-unranked Florida State in the first ACC Championship at Jacksonville, Fla.

“I think [the fans are] disappointed,” said Beamer, who is in his 19th season as Virginia Tech’s coach. “Seems like the more they pay you, the quicker they get upset. So there’s good and bad in this deal.”

The loss against the Seminoles cost the No. 12 Hokies a berth in the Orange Bowl and forced them to settle for a matchup against No. 15 Louisville in tomorrow’s Gator Bowl.

Virginia Tech (10-2), which extended its streak of bowl appearances to 13, still has plenty of incentive against the Cardinals (9-2), who are looking for their first bowl win in three seasons. A Hokies’ victory will match their record for wins in a season.

Beamer also would like to finish the season ranked in the top 10 for the second consecutive year.

“Being a top program in the ACC and a top program in the country are what our goals are,” Beamer said. “As long as you’re in the hunt, that’s what’s important.”

Beamer certainly has come a long way since his days as a graduate assistant at Maryland in the early 1970s. Newly married, Beamer was making $150 a month, and his rent was $189 for an off-campus apartment.

“We had to get Cheryl’s dad to cosign,” he said, referring to his wife.

Beamer took a step up when coach Bobby Ross hired him as an assistant at The Citadel in the late 1970s. His $12,000 annual salary came with on-campus living quarters.

Now that Beamer is making a hefty salary, he understands the corresponding demands.

“The market kind of drives it,” Beamer said. “Then when one guy gets it, it kind of sets the tone for the rest.”

And as high as the expectations were this season, the market only will drive them higher when Beamer tops the $2 million mark next year.

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