Tuesday, January 18, 2000
by Will Stewart

Beamer Not Packing His Bags for Green Bay

Once again, the "non-story" has come and gone, and Frank Beamer is staying put.

Beamerís name was connected with the vacant head coaching job at the Green Bay Packers. Spearheaded by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which seemed hell-bent on creating something out of nothing, the Milwaukee press wasnít letting the story die.

One article in particular in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel stands out. It ran on January 15th, and it discussed both Beamer and Steve Spurrier in connection with the job:

Covering All Angles: Packers Contact Schottenheimer Ė Mil. J-S, 1/15/00

What I find so amusing about the article is that Steve Spurrier makes a statement about not being interested in the job and says, "Iím in the right place now (Florida)," and the Journal-Sentinel takes it on faith and calls it a "Spurrier Stiff-Arm."

Meanwhile, Frank Beamer makes a statement that heís not interested in the Packers job, saying, "I plan to stay and continue to build the football program at Virginia Tech." In spirit, thatís exactly what Spurrier said, and yet the Journal-Sentinel calls that "Damage Control" and makes the statement, "College coaches often issue statements of this kind during talks with pro teams to help them salvage recruiting efforts."

Um, okay, guys. Whatever.

Over on ESPN.com, on Saturday, they ran an article under the headline "Beamer Interested in Packers Job," in which the following quote from Beamer was printed:

"I am honored that my name has been mentioned with a great organization like the Packers, but at this time I do not have an interest in professional football," Beamer said. "I plan to stay and continue to build the football program at Virginia Tech."

Um, okay, guys. Whatever. Since then, the headline has been changed to Schottenheimer on Packers' list.

Beamer himself was being strangely evasive. This Richmond Times-Dispatch article from Sunday summarizes Beamerís original statement and several follow-up non-statements that he made on Saturday:

Beamer Evasive About Packers' Reports Ė Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/16/00

So, will he or wonít he? Answer: he wonít. On Tuesday, the Packers will name Mike Sherman their head coach, instead:

Packers to Name Sherman Coach Tuesday Ė ESPN.com, 1/17/00

The only reason Frank would have left for Green Bay is if heís interested in being unemployed in two or three years. Sure, if he was offered the job, he could take it for a ton of money (enough to make up for the $1.5 million annuity he would lose if he left Tech), but you can bet all that money heíd be back out on the street within five years at the most. Thatís the way the NFL works.

But as we have learned repeatedly throughout Beamerís career, money is not what motivates him. Itís always something else.

We go through this every year. Beamerís name comes up for a head coaching job, and all I can think to myself is "Why in the world would this guy leave for another job? Heís already got a job that pays plenty of money and is still challenging and rewarding, and he can do no wrong. Why go somewhere where heíll be put into a pressure cooker and most likely get fired after just a few years?"

We ask ourselves that question every year, and every year, Beamer is simply posturing, trying to improve his contract, or more likely, those of his assistants. Frank Beamer knows darn good and well how much money is flying around the Tech football program right now, and he also knows how hotly desired his assistant coaches are by other programs, so he often goes through these flirtations with other teams just to get more moola and job security for his assistants.

But I wouldnít even call this a "flirtation." The guy was never going anywhere. If this yearís story works out the same as stories in recent years, weíll very soon hear about a new contract that Beamer signed that either upped his annuity (not likely) or increased the contracts of his assistant coaches (more likely). Bank on it.

Stith Reverses His Field, to the Dismay of Many

Of more concern is Shyrone Stithís sudden decision to depart the Hokie football team and declare himself eligible for the NFL draft.

Shyrone made a statement down in New Orleans that he was going to stay for his senior season, but then did a sudden about-face upon his return and said that no, he was leaving early.

Itís one thing when Ike Charlton, who has already graduated and is projected as a second-round pick, decides to leave. Ike has fulfilled his duty to himself and the university, and the only thing left to wonder is whether or not he should have played as a true freshman, so that Tech could have gotten four years out him (but in all fairness, there was no foreseeing his early graduation and departure).

But itís quite another when Stith, who isnít scheduled to graduate until December of 2000 and is projected as a third or fourth round pick, suddenly decides to leave. It raises the eyebrows and concerns of everyone who knows Shyrone and roots for Shyrone, from running backs coach Billy Hite right down to the fans in Row 5Q of Lane Stadium.

While coaches and fans wring their hands (Hite was quoted as saying that he didnít want to see Shyrone "get screwed" by the NFL), only Shyrone knows what heís thinking. The intricacies of someoneís private life and the thoughts that motivate them are truly known by only a handful of people, at best. Shyrone hasnít been available since making the announcement, perhaps feeling the heat from coaches and fans who donít think he did the right thing.

Of Shyroneís decision, I will only say this: I saw him receive awards from the Tech coaches for the work he put in in the weight room, indicating that when Shyrone is challenged, he has the work ethic that it takes to succeed. Look no further than the fact that he blossomed from a skinny 180 pound kid to a 205 pound bowling ball in just three years.

Heís going to need every ounce of that work ethic to succeed in the NFL. Good luck, Shyrone.

          

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