Beamer and Grobe bond over more than football
This Saturday may be the first football game between Virginia Tech and Wake Forest since 2006 -- meaning no current players on either team were in the lineup that day -- but for the two coaches, it will merely be another day in the development of a friendship that is much more than one predicated on exchanging pregame pleasantries.
Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer and Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe have known each other for years. The two are golfing buddies in the offseason, and their wives are good friends as well. Beamer described Grobe as one of the most honest and dependable people he's ever been around in the coaching business, paying him the ultimate compliment when he said, "What I think he is, I'd like to think I am, too."
"I don’t know that anybody runs a program better than Frank Beamer," Grobe said. "It starts out with treating the kids well and teaching them values, so he’s always been a guy who I admired by the way he runs his program. And we just enjoy spending time together. If I had a son playing college football, there’s nobody I’d rather have him playing for than Frank Beamer."
But Saturday could be a bit awkward considering how much is on the line for both coaches. Beamer and Virginia Tech appear to have recovered from an 0-2 start to the season and the Hokies now find themselves in the thick of the ACC race. A loss to Wake Forest at home would be a significant setback, and one that would surely bring back the skeptics in Blacksburg who emerged following the James Madison loss this year.
Grobe's Demon Deacons, meanwhile, enter Saturday with four consecutive losses and a 2-4 record, including demoralizing defeats against Georgia Tech and Navy by a combined five points the past two weeks. Their only wins this year have come against Presbyterian and Duke. And since Grobe got Wake Forest to the Orange Bowl in 2006, the Demon Deacons success has gradually faded away, culminating in last year's 5-7 mark.
It probably doesn't help that a odd scheduling quirk makes Saturday the first time Wake Forest has visited Lane Stadium since Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004. Their last game in Blacksburg came all the way back in 1983.
But while Beamer and Grobe may need to beat each other on the football field, that's not the case on the golf course. During the ACC teleconference Wednesday, Grobe joked that he wished he could beat Beamer in golf, "but unfortunately, I can't."
Beamer, though, discredited that claim quickly when his turn arrived on the teleconference just a few minutes later.
"I’ve never known him to lie, but he might be lying about that," Beamer said with a chuckle.
| October 13, 2010; 1:11 PM ET
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