Advertisement

 COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -Shane Beamer was playing golf at a Gamecock Club outing Monday when he first got word of the shootings at his alma mater, Virginia Tech.
Beamer, who coaches outside linebackers and helps coordinate special teams for South Carolina, didn't know what to think: Was his dad, Hokies head coach Frank Beamer, hurt? Were people he knew injured or killed? How could this happen at some place so special?
``I was in shock,'' Beamer said Wednesday, two days after the shooting that left 32 people and the accused gunman dead.
When fellow Gamecock assistant Ron Cooper told Beamer about the death toll, ``it hit me like a ton of bricks,'' Shane Beamer said. ``All I tried to do was call home. But I couldn't get through.''
At last, Beamer's mother, Cheryl, called her son to let him know his father, the football staff and players were safe and accounted for.
Then came the untold hours of TV watching to hear updates of the unfolding tragedy, and the realization of how close the devastation came to the Hokies' football program.
Shane Beamer said the first shooting on campus was across from the football office. The other was near an athletic dorm. ``That's what made this so scary,'' he said. ``You didn't know.''
Beamer finally talked with his father, Frank, who grew up an hour from the Blacksburg, Va., campus and has become one of its more high-profile personalities in 20 years leading the football program.
The elder Beamer is as heartbroken as everyone else there. But Shane Beamer, a former player for the Hokies, said his father will do what he can to help heal the grieving campus.
``He's still in shock, in disbelief that something like that could happen,'' Shane Beamer said. ``But he's a fighter. He and everybody else has an attitude that there not going to let one person stop them. They're never going to forget those who lost their lives. But they're going to fight to make it a better, stronger place.''
The Hokies canceled the rest of spring practice and the yearly well-attended, intra-squad game that closes the drills.
Shane Beamer joined South Carolina's staff in February. He spent the previous three seasons at Mississippi State.
Shane Beamer says he and his sister, Casey - also a Virginia Tech graduate who lives in Charlotte, N.C. - discussed heading to Blacksburg to grieve with their family. Their parents counseled them to stay put for now.
The Gamecock staff is back to recruiting next week and perhaps that will make things normal again, Shane Beamer said.
But he understands it will be difficult for anyone to hear about Virginia Tech without the horrible shooting jumping to mind.
``That's what makes you so sick,'' Shane Beamer said. ``Before the first things you thought about were great school, beautiful campus, great football program.''
The massacre ``will be something that Virginia Tech will always be known for,'' Shane Beamer said.
If the younger Beamer gets his wish, his father and the rest of the Hokies athletic department will go a long way in helping the campus heal. ``I hope that Virginia goes out and wins a championship in football and then wins one in basketball,'' he said.
So Shane Beamer says he'll continue watching news programs filled with the tragic events when he can - and taping them to view later on when he's working.
Shane Beamer thinks the country will come to have a great respect for the campus and its community. ``I don't have any doubts they'll come out of it better than ever,'' he said. ``People will see the love of students and alumni that will show up. People will realize it's a tight-knit group that will stick together.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

NFL Betting News and Notes Week 4 on Tue, Sep 2016 by Blade
2nd half on Mon, Sep 2016 by Timmy1961
added play on Mon, Sep 2016 by Timmy1961
mon night pro play on Mon, Sep 2016 by Timmy1961
Advertisement

NCAAF Headlines

More inNCAAF News  
Advertisement

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated CFB Championship Odds The college football season continues to see upsets, but many of the favorites to win the College Football Playoffs remain the...
Thumbnail College Football Week 5 Odds Week 5 of the College Football Season features some very big matchups between top-10 teams. Here is a look at...
Thumbnail Arizona tries to contain explosive Washington No. 9 Washington utterly obliterated its first three opponents of the season. Will the good times continue in the desert?
Thumbnail Sun Devils, Bears primed for fireworks show With California and Arizona State set to do battle, should fans on the West Coast expect an offensive blitzkrieg tonight?
Thumbnail Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Prediction Will Arkansas pull off the upset or at least cover the spread when it takes on Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium at 9:00PM ET tonight?
More inNCAAF Articles  

NCAAF Team Pages