- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer is happy to be back on the football field.

The Hokies’ coach opened his 29th spring practice Tuesday, not quite four months after throat surgery. The procedure forced him to step back from many of his duties and let his staff handle the football operations.

“I had throat surgery, some work in there on my tonsils and it’s fine now. I’m back at work and ready to roll. I feel great,” Beamer said in his first meeting with media since the surgery on Dec. 6.

He did not provide details about what prompted the surgery. At the time of the procedure, Virginia Tech head team physician, Gunnar Brolinson, said the surgery was to address an issue they had been aware of during the season, but decided to wait until the season was over to remedy.

Beamer missed most of the Hokies’ Military Bowl preparation and coached from the press box. His son Shane, the associate head coach and running backs coach, guided the Hokies on the sideline.

Virginia Tech beat Cincinnati, 33-17, to finish the season 7-6.

“It was different, but I was proud of our guys,” Beamer said of not being on the sideline for the Hokies’ 22nd consecutive bowl game. “I thought our coaches really did a great job of preparing them. We played well, we got that bowl win.”

Beamer, whose 230 victories lead all active coaches at the FBS level, also expressed gratitude for all those that showed their support during his recovery.

“This place is special and people are special and what we’ve all gone through and how everyone stepped up, I mean, I appreciate people,” he said. “I appreciate our administration. I appreciate the people around us.”

The bowl game was three weeks after the surgery, and Beamer did much of his prep work from home because his doctors did not want to risk infection. He said being away from the field was difficult.

“When you get out there and you’re not a part of it, you start thinking how much you want to be a part of it and looking forward to … getting back out there with the football team,” he said.


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