Don Nehlen and Frank Beamer are legends in the college coaching ranks. They each brought their respective programs to a place of national prominence.
Because of their accomplishments at West Virginia and Virginia Tech, respectively, Nehlen and Beamer will be recognized as honorary captains prior to the Sept. 3 game between the Mountaineers and the Hokies at FedEx Field.
Don Nehlen is the winningest coach in WVU football history after guiding the Mountaineers for two decades. He amassed 202 wins with 13 bowl appearances. Seventeen of his 20 seasons with the Mountaineers were winning seasons.
Frank Beamer’s accomplishments basically mirror those of Nehlen. At Virginia Tech, he had 238 wins and 23 bowl appearances.
Nehlen and Beamer will both receive a lot of applause when they take the field the Sunday before Labor Day. They are beloved figures in both fanbases. Plus, the stands at FedEx Field should be a nice mix of both WVU and VT representatives.
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This edition of the Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy is the first meeting between the two schools since 2005. The Hokies have won the two most recent match ups.
This will be the seventh time that this match up has been played at a neutral site. Washington, D.C. (more specifically Landover, Maryland) is the only site outside the states of West Virginia and Virginia that this game will take place.
Prior to 1963, when the game was permanently rotated between the Mountaineers’ home in Morgantown and the Hokies’ home in Blacksburg, Charleston, Huntington, Bluefield and Richmond also hosted the games.
It’s great for both the WVU football and Virginia Tech football programs to resurrect this classic rivalry. With a special Sunday evening start time, the eyes of the nation will be watching this one intensely.
It could get ugly between these two old rivals, maybe not so much on the field, but certainly in the stands and tailgate lots. But getting it all started will be two men who made these programs into the upper echelon of college football.
Don Nehlen and Frank Beamer will always be remembered. It’s good that neither school forgot about them when it was time to meet again.