Friday Tonic: Beamer’s Classy Act For BC Player

It’s been quite the week for battling college players, as anyone in the general vicinity of the University of Kansas can attest. But how can we leave you on a Friday with images of Mark Mangino angrily spanking his players with a spatula? It wouldn’t be right. Let’s shift our gaze to the rolling hills of Virginia, where something much more uplifting is going on.

Frank Beamer, Mark Herzlich

Virginia Tech is playing host to Miami in what might be considered a rather important ACC tussle on Saturday. And among the items for purchase at the university bookstore in Blacksburg, besides these, will be wristbands for $1, with the proceeds going to a very special cause. It’s all Frank Beamer’s idea, and it’s a pretty classy move on the part of the Hokies head coach.

The fundraiser is for Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who in May was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Beamer hopes to present Herzlich with a check for $5,094 when BC plays at Virginia Tech on Oct. 10. The extra $94 is for Herzlich’s uniform number.


The wristbands will be available in Blacksburg at the University Bookstore, Volume II and the Hokie Stadium Shops at Lane Stadium. Also, members of the Hokies’ football scout team will be circulating throughout the parking lots Saturday in an effort to sell the wristbands. All of the funds donated will go to Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit organization that raises attention to rare diseases through outreach, research, education and advocacy.

Herzlich, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season, told ESPN that he thinks doctors caught his illness early enough so that it can be cured.

“It can be pretty life threatening,” he said, admitting he was scared but sounding calm as usual. “My doctor told me the cure rate is pretty high, but then again for some people, they take the chemo well, get rid of most of the tumor and can remove the rest of it with surgery. Some people don’t take the chemo well, and then you have to rely just on surgery, which obviously brings down the chances. Some people react differently. It’s basically waiting to see how the chemo goes, how the treatment goes, and how my body reacts to everything.”

There is no other college in the U.S., of course, more aware than Virginia Tech that there’s more to life than sports. And of the football program in general, it was Jim Mora who once said, “There’s a certain culture they have up there, they are all grounded kids.” I think we have a big clue as to why that is.