Who will replace Beamer at Virginia Tech?

With Frank Beamer announcing that he will retire at season’s end, there are -- or will be -- seven Power 5 openings.

Coaches and agents almost unanimously agreed last week that Virginia Tech is second behind only USC in that pecking order. Virginia Tech, Miami and South Carolina form the second tier, with VT getting the edge because it combines both Miami’s winnable division (ACC Coastal) and South Carolina’s fan support.

Beamer was reportedly making just shy of $3 million per year. Agents anticipate the school being able to pay between $3-4 million for the coach who will replace the legendary Beamer, who has won 235 games in 29 seasons and taken the program to 22 consecutive bowl games.

The down-to-earth Beamer, a native of nearby Fancy Gap, quite literally constructed the program. There’s an awareness that he will certainly be difficult to replace, but coaches have noted that the wide-open ACC Coastal makes sustainable success possible, as do resources and leadership.

And as an agent recently reminded me, remember that new athletic director Whit Babcock has shown the ability to make things happen.

When Babcock was at Cincinnati, he hired Tommy Tuberville away from a Power 5 school just a couple of days after losing Butch Jones to Tennessee. And at Virginia Tech, Babcock convinced basketball coach Buzz Williams to take a pay cut to leave Marquette for Blacksburg.

Where will Babcock’s search focus? There are some obvious names below, but as with Tuberville and Williams, watch for the Babcock wild card.