A New Home And A New Title: Stinespring Putting Down Roots
The Roth Report
December 18, 2000

By Bill Roth

This past summer, Virginia Tech offensive line coach Bryan Stinespring and his wife, Shelley, decided to take the 'big plunge.'

The two decided to build a new house - the home of their dreams - in the upscale Wyatt Farm development in Blacksburg. Construction started this past August, with a target completion date of February, 2001.

This home will have it all - five bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, rooms for all three kids, tree-lined streets, walking trails and a pond.

"Best of all, it has a big, ole bathtub," Stinespring said. "That's what I wanted the most. A sunken bathtub with all those jets in the master bathroom."

In the construction process, the tub was one of the first items installed. Before the walls, before the insulation, before just about anything, the tub arrived at the construction site.

"And I went over and sat in it just to get the feel for it," Stinespring joked. [Now there's a picture to show the recruits, eh?]

This home building process included plenty of decisions for the Stinesprings:

Cabinets: Cherry.

Floors: Hardwood.

Carpet: "I don't know what it's called, Shelly picked that," he said.

So, the decisions were made, the house was under roof and the masons were busy finishing the exterior.

Then, just three weeks ago, Tech coach Frank Beamer visited the University of North Carolina and many thought the coach would leave Blacksburg.

"It was unsettling to say the least," Stinespring said. "Shelley and I had talked about it before we decided to build. There is no real optimal time to build a house when you're in the coaching profession because there are no guarantees, but this is the place we want to be. We felt great about the town and the university. It's a great place to raise kids, we didn't want to leave."

So the Stinesprings bought the lot, hired a builder and went to work on their new home.

But as Beamer walked into Tech's football complex on the morning of November 27th, the feeling among Tech's coaches was that Beamer (and his staff) was Carolina-bound.

"I went to the masons who were working on the house and said 'Don't lay another brick," Stinespring cracked.

"This was a monumental decision for everyone, our entire coaching staff. We were just hoping we'd stay in Blacksburg."

By 2 p.m. on the 27th, Beamer had informed his staff that he was staying at Tech. "Very relieved and very happy," was how Stinespring and family felt about the coach's decision.

It would've been tough for Stinespring to leave Tech. After all, he grew up just 90 minutes from campus in Clifton Forge, Va., started his career as a graduate assistant at Tech in 1990, eventually married a secretary in the football office, and worked his way up to offensive line coach - a position he's held since 1993.

If anyone's a Hokie-to-the-core, it's Bryan Stinespring.

He didn't want to leave Tech and certainly didn't want to have to choose between staying in Blacksburg under a new coach or moving to Chapel Hill to stay with Beamer. So many factors ran through his mind - the career, the family, and of course, the new house.

Elated with Beamer's decision, Stinespring hit the recruiting trail with a renewed vigor and that same tireless work ethic that he's used so successfully over the past eight years. In signing such players as Derek Smith, Al Clark, Shyrone Stith and Ronyell Whitaker, Stinespring is regarded as an outstanding recruiter who has developed close relationships with high school coaches throughout Virginia.

When Stinespring returned from a recruiting trip last week, Beamer had more great news for the 37-year-old assistant. He was being promoted to assistant head coach.

"I almost fell on the floor," he said. "I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe it. It's something you dream about. Growing up just 90 minutes from here, then coming in as a G.A. and moving up to assistant head coach. I had to leave the building and go home I was so excited."

As Tech's recruiting coordinator over the past six seasons, Stinespring has helped the Hokies sign and develop some of the top talent in BIG EAST football. Beamer rewarded his loyalty and productivity with the promotion.

"Hard work, effort on the recruiting trail and loyalty to Coach Beamer" is Stinespring's recipe. Whether he's driving to Chesapeake to visit a high school prospect or coaching a lineman in the rain on the Moseley practice fields, Stinespring is a "coach's coach."

"Any opportunity I have to be one-on-one, either teaching , practicing, or recruiting, I really enjoy it," Stinespring said. "The opportunity to be with young people one-on-one is very gratifying to me, whether we're discussing why Tech is a great place to play football and go to school or teaching how to double-team the three-technique to get on the backside linebacker."

In his new role as assistant head coach, Stinespring will still coach Tech's offensive line. But he'll also have more responsibilities in the area of high school relations. The Hokies hope to broaden their Mini-Clinic program, which was instituted last summer throughout the state. The clinics were a great way to continue to build the bond between Tech's program and the high school coaches throughout the Commonwealth.

It's in the area of recruiting where Stinespring has really excelled. Whether it's finding a hidden gem who's an under-recruited kid on a 1-9 team like wide receiver Ronald Moody or building a relationship with a 10th-grader and his coach, as was the case with Shyrone Stith.

"I met Shyrone in his sophomore year at Western Branch and he killed me with his personality," Stinespring said. "You had to study and research this kid because he was only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, but as you watched him grow from a sophomore to a junior and then to a senior in high school, you saw one common denominator - he made people miss."

Stinespring doesn't often miss when judging recruits and his deep relationship with coaches in the Tidewater region of Virginia is paying huge dividends for Tech's program.

"We have a great staff and every one of these guys is a good recruiter," Stinespring said. "Our strongest asset is our stability and it's proven in our recruiting. We don't spend a lot of time rehearsing with the staff since we're all on the same page.

"What we have here is similar to Penn State and what happened with their staff under Coach (Joe) Paterno."

Can Tech be Penn State of the South?

"I don't know about that, but we can create our own identity," he said. "We can put our stamp on how we do things so that maybe someday, another program will claim it's the 'Virginia Tech of the West Coast."

Winning bowl games - as Penn State has done with great consistency - is the next step in Tech's evolution. The Hokies have a challenge in Clemson in three weeks. Stinespring's scouting report on Tech's Gator Bowl foes:

"They were good when we played them last year, but they are a lot better now," he said. "They seem quicker than I remember. [Terry] Jolly is a great defensive tackle - in the same league as Miami's Damione Lewis. They play a lot of man coverage, put a ton of folks in the box and their linebackers are collision guys.

"Nobody this season ran the ball very successfully on Clemson and I've watched all the tapes."

But the Hokies will try - you know they'll try to run the ball on Clemson as they've done on every foe this season. And a Tech win in Jacksonville will really finish up what's been a remarkable season for the Hokies and Stinespring.

"I've never felt better about our program, and I'm so thankful for what's happened to me in the last month," he said. "Every morning, I wake up excited to be here and excited about our future at Virginia Tech."

And in February, don't blame him if he jumps right out of that bed and jumps into that new bathtub.

After all, he's already tried it on for size - and it fits.

Just like Stinespring is a perfect fit for Tech.

Football video hits stands
The 2000 Virginia Tech Football Highlight Video, entitled "Rise and Fight", is on sale now at the Tech Bookstore on Main Street in Blacksburg.

Narrated by NFL Films Voice Harry Kalas, the video has highlights of all Tech games during this remarkable 10-1 season. Advance orders can be made now at the Tech Bookstore in downtown Blacksburg or by calling 800-967-0608 or visiting www.techbookstore.com. The price is $24.95 ($19.95 for video and $5 for shipping and handling).

The Roth report appears weekly in hokiesports.com-the newspaper and is posted for the general public on hokiesports.com.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Virginia Tech Athletics Department, hokiesports.com, or it's advertisers.