Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 12, 2013

Orange & White Tour slated for next week

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Looking for a preview of the Virginia Tech spring football game, slated for next Saturday?

That opportunity will be available on Thursday, April 18, when the Virginia Tech Orange & Maroon Tour makes its annual stop at Fincastle Country Club.

Virginia Tech associate head coach and running backs coach Shane Beamer is scheduled to attend, along with James Johnson, who just recently finished his first season as men’s basketball coach for the Hokies.

“We are very excited about these two new coaches,” said Lisa Clark, the president of the Bluefield Hokie Club, which has been hosting this event for more than three decades.

Clark said tickets are still available, but the deadline for availability is Monday.

“I think we will have about 100 people,” said Clark, a 1987 Virginia Tech graduate, and a lifelong fan of the Hokies.

Beamer, who is the son of Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, joined the Hokies’ staff last season. The 36-year-old Beamer played for the Hokies from 1995-99, and had previously coached at Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Virginia Tech will host its spring game on April 20 at Lane Stadium, starting at 3 p.m. It will be available on ESPN3.

“We are excited to hear what he has to say,” Clark said. “The spring game is the 20th so everybody is excited to hear what we will see at the spring game.”

Johnson, who just completed his first season with the Hokies after replacing the fired Seth Greenberg just days after last year’s Tour event in Bluefield, sparked Virginia Tech to a 7-0 start, but a lack of depth and injuries led to a 13-19 record.

“The players responded well to Coach Johnson,” Clark said. “We are confident he will be able to motivate the basketball team.”

That club included Erick Green, who did his part for the Hokies, leading the NCAA in scoring with 25.0 points a game.   

“It is so hard to understand when you have the No. 1 scorer in the nation in Erick Green,” Clark said. “They have some wonderful athletes and wonderful young men on the team.

“It will take a year or so to gel and we believe Coach Johnson can make that happen.”

Virginia Tech struggled through its worst football season in 20 years in 2012, winning its final three games to finish with a 7-6 record.

Head coach Frank Beamer overhauled the offensive staff in the offseason, and brought in a recruiting class that includes 6-foot-5 quarterback Bucky Hodges from Virginia Beach, and 6-8, 301-pound lineman Parker Osterioh from Williamsburg.

“We were very excited about the recruiting class that we got,” Clark said. “We got another 6-5 quarterback and a 6-8, 300-pound lineman.

“He is wonderful and he is already on campus, as are some of the other recruits who are taking classes now.”

Virginia Tech will open its 2013 season on Aug. 31 by playing two-time defending national champion Alabama in Atlanta.

Clark expects a large crowd at Fincastle on Thursday, which will begin with a meet-and-greet session at 5:30, followed by a Chef Rick-prepared meal at around 6:30, comprising of filet of beef, fried chicken, sea crab soup, salad, and various vegetables and desserts.

The program is slated to start at around 7 p.m.

Not only will Beamer and Jackson make presentations, but local high schools coaches will be recognized, including Bluefield boys basketball coach Buster Large, Princeton boys hoops coach Ernie Gilliard, Princeton football coach Randy Peek and the Bluefield father-son football duo of Fred Simon and Fred “Fritz” Simon Jr.

“We are honoring local head coaches for all they do for the kids in the county,” Clark said.

Several items will be raffled off during the event, including a football signed by Frank Beamer, basketballs signed by the Virginia Tech men’s and women’s basketball teams, and a silent auction will be held for a football jersey and some framed artwork.

“The coaches will come and mingle,” Clark said. “During the program the coaches will recognize the high school coaches and get up and talk.”

Clark encourages anyone interested to attend. The cost is $25 for adults, and $15 for children. The deadline for tickets is April 15.

“There are still tickets available,” said Clark, on Thursday. “I have had five calls this afternoon for tickets.”

For more information, contact Clark at (304) 922-8544.

—Contact Brian Woodson