Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer, who is one victory away from leading his alma mater to a second consecutive ACC championship, yesterday was named ACC coach of the year for the second season in a row.
Beamer, who has guided the No. 5 Hokies to a 10-1 record entering Saturday night's contest against Florida State in the inaugural ACC championship game at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., was an overwhelming choice for the award in voting by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Beamer, who earlier this season signed a new seven-year contract that will pay him $2.008 million annually and could keep him at Virginia Tech through the 2012 season, received 42 of 72 votes. Georgia Tech Coach Chan Gailey received 12 votes, followed by Miami's Larry Coker (seven), Clemson's Tommy Bowden (six) and Boston College's Tom O'Brien (five).
It is the fifth such coaching honor for Beamer; he was named Big East Conference coach of the year following the 1995, '96 and '99 seasons. After leading the Hokies to an 11-0 record during the 1999 regular season -- they lost to Florida State, 46-29, in the Sugar Bowl, the national championship game -- Beamer was named Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year.
Beamer's new seven-year contract doesn't start until Jan. 1, which might be a good thing for him since the new deal includes performance bonuses that are less lucrative than those in his current contract. At worst, Beamer will be paid $27,500 for yesterday's award; his current contract, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2001, called for a 10 percent increase in base salary and bonuses if the Hokies played in bowl games in the first two years of the deal, which they did.
If the Hokies beat the Seminoles and win the ACC title and the corresponding automatic berth in a lucrative Bowl Championship Series game, Beamer could stand to make almost another $350,000. If Virginia Tech wins the ACC, Beamer gets a $27,500 bonus and $220,000, plus three months' salary (around $78,950) for playing in a BCS game.
A bowl executive director said last night that the ACC probably won't be able to announce any of the destinations of its eight bowl-eligible teams until Sunday because too much still hinges on the outcomes of Saturday's ACC and Southeastern Conference championship games. However, the executive director said if the Hokies beat Florida State, Miami will probably play in the Gator Bowl, and the Peach Bowl, which has the third choice of ACC teams, will have to choose among Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech and the Seminoles.
If Georgia loses to LSU in the SEC championship game, the Outback Bowl will probably choose South Carolina over the Bulldogs, dropping Georgia to the Peach. Because the Peach Bowl doesn't like to have rematches, Georgia Tech would be eliminated from consideration and Clemson would probably play the Bulldogs in Atlanta.
That might leave Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, N.C. State in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, Boston College in the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, Idaho, Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl in Nashville and Virginia in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.
Florida State guard Cornelius Lewis and Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey (Eleanor Roosevelt), who were ejected in the fourth quarter of the Gators' 34-7 win last Saturday, each will be suspended for the first half of their next game. That means Lewis will miss the first half of the ACC title game; Harvey will serve his suspension during Florida's bowl game. Under NCAA rules, any player ejected for fighting during halftime or in the second half is automatically suspended for the first half of the following game. . . .
Seminoles defensive end Kamerion Wimbley, the team's best pass rusher with 71/2 sacks, said he should be ready to play after missing the last two games because of sprained knee ligaments.