Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

July 1, 2014

Beamer golfs for charity, expresses uncertainty about QB

BRISTOL, Va. — In Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer’s latest book, Let Me Be Frank, he makes no secret of the fact that he loves to play golf. In fact, he has an entire chapter devoted to the game titled, “Hitting the Links.”

But his passion for golf is exceeded only by the tremendous satisfaction that he gets anytime he is playing the game for a worthwhile charity, as he did on Monday at The Virginian Golf Club.

He and 14 other celebrities, including Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, gave of their time to help raise monies for and awareness of the needs of the Niswonger Children’s Hospital located in Johnson City, Tenn.

“This is just special, really. To come here and feel like you’re helping this hospital be able to treat kids who have unfortunate things or were born with unfortunate things,” said Beamer. “You leave here feeling good. You leave here thinking that maybe you’ve helped the situation.”

The hospital was established in 1992 as The Children’s Hospital at Johnson Center Medical Center. It became the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in March of 2009 and currently serves more than 200,000 children in a 29-county area in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeast Kentucky, and Western North Carolina.

This year, St. Judes Hospital accepted a proposal from Niswonger Children’s Hospital in making them the sixth affiliate hospital of St. Judes in the world. The hospital’s chief benefactor, Scott Niswonger, is proud to have his name associated with it.

“The Children’s Hospital is one of the best investments I have ever made,” Niswonger said. “It’s been so important to so many families in the region. We are dependent on the future of our children, and those children need to be healthy to be able to prosper.”

For Beamer, golf is a hobby and, as was the case in this year's Niswonger Children’s Golf Classic, sometimes a vehicle for helping others.

But football is his job, and there is much work left to be done for him and his staff as they prepare for the upcoming ACC season. For one, he needs a starting quarterback, and right now, he doesn’t have one.

“I think it’s an exciting situation because we’ve really got some talented kids (competing for the starting position),” said Beamer. “But what I don’t like is the fact that I don’t know exactly who our quarterback is. It will probably be someone new.

“That’s such an important position and you like to be settled there. We’re not right now.”

Redshirt senior Mark Leal and redshirt sophomore Brenden Motley left spring practice as the frontrunners, but the arrival of Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer and incoming freshman Chris Durkin will make an unsettled position even more unsettling.

Beamer liked Motley’s performance in the spring, especially his ability to get himself out of trouble.

But he also likes the fact that Brewer has game experience coupled with a strong and accurate arm (58 career pass attempts, 41 completions, 70 percent completion rate). He has two years of eligibility remaining.

“I think experience, particularly at quarterback, is big and the fact that he played at a great school, with a great football program, against good competition, is very helpful,” Beamer said.

“We want to get the chemistry of the team right and get them playing together. We’re also going to try and get the quarterback position settled as quickly as possible.”  

Virginia Tech’s first game of the 2014 football season will be against William and Mary on Saturday, Aug. 30, at Lane Stadium. Game time is 3:30 p.m.

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