- Associated Press - Monday, August 15, 2011

BLACKSBURG, VA. — Shane Beamer hopes his return to Virginia Tech will help him make amends for history.

The son of Hokies coach Frank Beamer was the long snapper in 1999 when the Michael Vick-led Hokies played Florida State in the Sugar Bowl national championship.

It’s a night Shane Beamer thinks about every day.

“I was on the field in New Orleans that night when we gave up two touchdowns, on a blocked punt and a return punt for a touchdown,” he said with a sigh. “We’d been good on special teams all year long, and to be on the field and give up two touchdowns, that sticks with you.

“There’s probably not a day that has gone by in the last 11 years when I haven’t thought about that night. … You get that close, it’s tough and so you want to get back and win it.”

Beamer spent those 11 seasons cutting his teeth as an assistant coach before joining his father’s staff as running backs coach in the offseason.

Frank Beamer said the timing was right to bring his son back and he hopes Shane’s recruiting skills will boost the Hokies after some recent losses in the fight for blue-chip talent.

Shane has another agenda, too - to help his father win a national championship.

Special teams’ mistakes helped put the Hokies in a 28-7 first-half hole that night in New Orleans. And though Virginia Tech rallied to take a 29-28 lead entering the final quarter, the Seminoles eventually prevailed, 46-29.

“We made some mistakes that night that I think really stay with you,” said Frank Beamer, whose program has become known for special teams prowess - or Beamerball. “I’ve heard [Shane] say he wanted to come back and help us win that thing. That would make a pretty good story.”

The younger Beamer’s title includes associate head coach, which raised some eyebrows with defensive coordinator Bud Foster. He essentially has has been promised the job if Frank Beamer retires, but both Beamers said Shane’s title was inherited from longtime assistant Billy Hite.

Hite is assistant to the head coach and senior adviser, and longtime recruiting coordinator Jim Cavanaugh oversees all recruiting, instead of recruiting on the road.

Along with Shane Beamer, former Hokies All-America defensive end Cornell Brown joined the staff this season, coaching outside linebackers and assisting with the defensive line.

Beamer said that while taking Cavanaugh off the road was difficult, the timing was right for the changes. And Cheryl Beamer disputes the story that she insisted her husband hire their son.

“No sir,” she said. “Frank tells people that being funny, but I’ve never advised him about anything professionally and that’s the honest to goodness truth. … I knew he wanted to do it. I knew Shane wanted to do it before his dad got around to retiring and everything.”

Father and son, however, say that bringing Shane back to his alma mater was hardly discussed in the years prior to last offseason. The younger Beamer started at Georgia Tech as a graduate assistant, and has also worked at Tennessee, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Shane knows his last name helped him get a foot in the door of coaching - the coach at Georgia Tech was George O’Leary and one of his assistants was Ralph Friedgen - two of his father’s close friends - but is proud that his father has never made a call on his behalf.

When Steve Spurrier hired him at South Carolina, where was spent four years as recruiting coordinator and special teams coach, “he told me ‘I want to block kicks like your dad does at Virginia Tech and I want to return kicks like your dad does, so I’m hiring you,’ ” Beamer said.

His father watched from a distance, delighted.

“He did it all on his own, and that’s kind of what makes him good,” Frank Beamer said, proudly detailing Shane’s strengths. “He takes the initiative to get the job done, he’s very organized, he goes about his job and he does the little things to get the job done right.”

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