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.”