As Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer's career has worn on, his longevity and success at one school had increasingly drawn comparisons to Joe Paterno.

When Paterno’s tenure as head coach at Penn State ended in November, Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer became the winningest active coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 251 career victories. After the child abuse scandal that tarnished the end of Paterno’s career first broke earlier this fall, Beamer told reporters he was still proud to be the first — and as it turned out, only — recipient of the Joe Paterno Award for his coaching job on and off the field last season.

So on Sunday, after news of Paterno's death broke, Beamer released a statement offering his condolences.

“We have lost someone with great and special talents,” Beamer said. “He had great and special talent as far as being a leader, which is very obvious by his winning record. And, he had a great and special talent in how he treated people. In my experience with him, he was always charming, gracious and thoughtful. I think he was a great fighter, and I know he fought this illness to the very end. College football will miss Joe Paterno.”