Tech’s Beamer remembers friend killed in crash
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer paid tribute to the memory of a
former teammate and the 74 other members of the Marshall University
football team, coaching staff and community killed in a 1970 plane
crash Saturday afternoon.
Beamer laid a 3-inch by 5-inch stone at the nearby Spring Hill
Cemetery memorial about 2 1/2 hours before the game between his No.
13 Hokies and the Thundering Herd. He was teammates at Virginia
Tech in the mid-60s with Frank Loria, a safety who was Tech’s first
consensus All-American. Loria went on to become an assistant at
Marshall under fellow Tech graduate Rick Tolley, who also was
killed in the crash at the nearby Tri-State Airport.
”Two bright coaches,” Beamer said at the cemetery. ”… Their
lives were taken away too soon. Of course, I was great friends with
Frankie and knew of Rick. (Loria was) just a guy that had a great
future as a football coach and he was just a good person. He had a
bright future and he was just taken way too soon.”
Virginia Tech players also will wear a sticker commemorating the
crash on the backs of their helmets and Loria’s son, Frank Loria
Jr., will handle the coin toss.
Beamer rode the bus with the team from Blacksburg, Va., and
hopped in a West Virginia state trooper’s motorcade to the cemetery
where the unidentified remains of six people aboard the plane are
The marker he placed had the former Hokies’ names and numbers
and was inscribed with the words that appear above the tunnel
leading to Tech’s Worsham Field: ”For those who have passed, For
those to come … Reach For Excellence.”