Twenty-five years into his tenure at Virginia Tech, Coach Frank Beamer often mentions how fortunate he was to have an administration that stuck with him despite a 24-40-2 record in his first six seasons.
On Tuesday, a different administration made clear that the coach’s career in Blacksburg will continue beyond his days on the sidelines: A new contract extension calls for Beamer to serve as a special assistant to the athletic director for eight years after retiring as coach, at an annual salary of $250,000. His duties will involve fundraising and public appearances.
Athletic Director Jim Weaver and Beamer both emphasized that Beamer might coach beyond the length of this extension, which runs through 2016. Weaver referenced 84-year-old Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, and indicated the special assistant role was only for “when Frank is ready to stop coaching.”
“What I think is important for both sides is that it’s not awkward at the end, whenever the end is. I don’t plan it being any time soon,” said Beamer, who will be 70 years old in 2016. He told reporters following the Hokies’ win over Appalachian State last Saturday that he wants to remain coach past the 2016 season.
“I think I’ll know exactly when is the right time to finish up coaching at Virginia Tech,” Beamer said. “I think so much of this place. It’s been so good to me, and when the right time is, I think I’ll know.”
Beamer’s current seven-year contract runs through the 2012 season, and the extension will begin on Jan. 1, 2013. It calls for Beamer to earn a base salary of about $285,000, a figure that will increase by five percent every season. There’s also a yearly retention incentive of $2,020,672 that will increase by $100,000 following the conclusion of each year of the contract.
That puts Beamer’s guaranteed income at just more than $2.3 million for 2013, not including postseason bonuses and various other incentives tied to the athletic department’s contract with Nike. In comparison, Beamer will make about $2.093 million in guaranteed income for 2011.
Weaver said the extension also includes a stipulation that either side can terminate the contract after Jan. 1, 2013, as long as there are 10 days of notification provided. If that were to happen, Beamer’s eight-year agreement to move into a special assistant role would begin almost immediately.
“We wanted to do something that’s right for the university, right for Frank and a way to say thank you for a terrific career,” Weaver said. “We know when we have a good thing going on, and we’re not about to do anything to dismantle it.”
As he discussed Beamer’s future role as a special assistant to the athletic director, Weaver offered perhaps the most notable statement Tuesday when he told reporters, “My only hope is I’m the guy sitting beside him and working with him in that eight-year period.”
That represents a change from Weaver’s previous stance. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004 and suffering through severe back problems in recent years, Weaver had indicated that his term as athletic director would end in 2015 when his current contract expires.
Weaver, 66, said Tuesday he might need another procedure on his back in the near future, but he hopes his health will hold up well enough so that he can emulate his longtime football coach and remain in his current role at Virginia Tech for the foreseeable future.
“I have a 10-year-old at home that kind of likes this gig,” Weaver said.