Beamer, Bowden Meet Press For Final Time
Gator Bites
December 31, 2001

JACKSONVILLE - Tech head coach Frank Beamer and Florida State coach Bobby Bowden played meet the press for the final time Monday as the two longtime coaches and three players from each side attended a Gator Bowl press conference held at the Adam's Mark Hotel in downtown Jacksonville.

Beamer addressed the media first, talking about how proud he was of Tech's senior class - which is the winningest class in Tech history - and he talked about how much respect the Hokies had for Bowden and Florida State. Beamer also introduced his wife, Cheryl, who went to the press conference with him and that left Bowden joking about his wife's absence.

"As you can see, she's not here," he said. "If you see someone downtown with a smokin' credit card and I mean really smokin' then you'll find my wife on the other end of it."

Bowden, 72, gave Tech and Beamer a lot of kudos for what the Hokies have done the past nine years.

"We wanted to play Suwanee, but they gave us Virginia Tech," he cracked.

Then he added, "Virginia Tech is the new kid on the block, but they're on the block. Frank, you guys have arrived."

Bowden (322 wins) can tie Paul "Bear" Bryant for second on the all-time victories (323) list with a win. Penn State Joe Paterno broke Bryant's record earlier this season and now stands at 327 victories.

"That's not a big deal with me," he said. "We're just trying to beat Virginia Tech. I never got into coaching saying that I hope I win more games than Bear Bryant."

After Bowden spoke, reporters congregated around the players asking questions for more than 30 minutes. Ben Taylor, Chad Beasley and André Davis represented the Tech contingent, with Chris Rix, Chris Hope and Brett Williams representing FSU.

In other news:

Davis accepts another honor: André Davis received yet another honor for his academic achievements when he received the scholar athlete award from the Gator Bowl Association. Chris Hope received the same award for the Seminoles.

Members of the Gator Bowl Association recognized both Davis and Hope at the Gator Bowl Coaches/Hall of Fame Luncheon held Monday at the Adam's Mark. The association also inducted three members into the Hall of Fame - former Texas A&M running back John David Crowe, Carlisle Jones, who has worked the chain gang for the past 50 Gator Bowls, and former West Virginia coach Don Nehlen, who coached in three Gator Bowls during his tenure at WVU.

Pep rally at the Landing: The Hokies' pep rally was held at Jacksonville Landing on Monday afternoon after the Hall of Fame luncheon. Tech's players and Beamer walked onto a stage at the Landing, with Davis, Taylor, Beasley and Jarrett Ferguson addressing the crowd and whipping them into a frenzy. Several thousand Tech fans, including the band and cheerleaders, attended the pep rally.

Hokies participate in final walkthrough: After the pep rally, the Hokies traveled to Alltel Stadium for their final walkthrough before Tuesday's game with Florida State. With workers painting the logos on the field, Tech made its final tune-ups, mostly in relation to special teams, on the Jaguars' practice field adjacent to the stadium.

Tech's players returned to the hotel after the workout. The team meal was scheduled for 7 p.m., with curfew set at 11 o'clock. The team will leave for the game at 10:15 a.m., on Tuesday. The game is scheduled to kick off at 12:30 p.m., and is being aired on NBC.