Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum were among Keith Urban’s opening acts last summer. Doesn’t mean they’re not stars in their own right. But it does mean they’re not Keith Urban.

Same goes for Mike London and Frank Beamer.

London is essentially the opening act Thursday afternoon at the Virginia High School Coaches Association clinic in Hampton. The University of Virginia’s second-year head football coach is scheduled to speak from 1-2:30 p.m.

Beamer  is set for 2:45-4:15. Much as a recruiting splash as London has made, especially in-state, and all that he did in guiding Richmond to the 2007 national championship, Beamer is the headliner.


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As he should be. He’s entering his 25th season as Virginia Tech’s big whistle, a remarkable tenure in any coaching gig, downright stunning in Bowl Subdivision football.

Consider that during Beamer’s time in Blacksburg, the other 11 ACC programs have employed 51 head coaches combined. Stanford, the team that whacked Tech in last season’s Orange Bowl, has employed eight, most among the 67 programs (six major conferences plus Notre Dame) with automatic BCS qualifying privileges.

Now start to ponder others who earned such longevity at one school: Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Bear Bryant, Tom Osborne, Vince Dooley, Woody Hayes and LaVell Edwards. Rather iconic bunch.

But despite 18 consecutive bowl seasons and last year’s ACC title, Beamer wasn’t afraid to re-invent his program. He went into Extreme Makeover mode with his staff, shifting staples Billy Hite and Jim Cavanaugh into administrative roles and hiring Cornell Brown and Shane Beamer, his son.

The primary reason: Beamer wanted to recruit better, and he knew London, even after a 4-8 debut in Charlottesville, was gaining on him.

No doubt, Tech still prevailed on most head-to-heads. But Virginia was winning a fair share, particularly here in Hampton Roads.

Moreover, London was a PR maven, working the state’s high school coaches at every possible turn. He’ll do so again Thursday afternoon, but he won’t have the room to himself         

We’ll have details and photos of their appearances online later today and in Friday’s Daily Press. So please check them out.

Oh, and per Rivals’ prospect profiles, here’s a Tech-Virginia, Beamer-London recruiting scorecard for the 2011 and ’12 classes, the latter of course based on commitments and not letters-of-intent. This is for athletes that both programs offered.

SIGNED WITH VIRGINIA TECH 2011

Matt Roth, DE, Ponte Vedra, Fla.

Darius Redman, TE, Washington, D.C.

Corey Marshall, DE, Dinwiddie.

Ronny Vandyke, S, Lorton.

Ryan Malleck, TE, Point Pleasant, N.J.

Demitri Knowles, WR, Lynchburg Christian.

Michael Cole, S, Roanoke Cave Spring.

Jake Goins, OT, Manchester High, Midlothian.

Chris Hall, TE, Dinwiddie.

Michael Holmes, RB, Harrisonburg.

Kyshoen Jarrett, CB, East Stroudsburg, Pa.

SIGNED WITH VIRGINIA 2011

Darius Jennings, Ath., Baltimore.

Kameron Mack, S, Portsmouth Norcom.

Demetrious Nicholson, CB, Virginia Beach Bayside.

Brandon Phelps, S, Damascus, Md.

Clifton Richardson, RB, Menchville.

David Watford, QB, Hampton.

Dominique Terrell, Ath., Manassas Osbourn.

COMMITTED TO TECH 2012

Deon Clarke, LB, Richmond Lloyd C. Bird.

J.C. Coleman, RB, Chesapeake Oscar Smith.

Desmond Frye, S, Thomas Dale in Chester.

Der’Woun Greene, S, Portsmouth Wilson.

Brenden Motley, QB, Christiansburg.

Mario Nixon, WR, Norfolk Christian.

Davion Tookes, CB, Fairburn, Ga.

Nigel Williams, DT, Richmond Benedictine.

COMMITTED TO VIRGINIA 2012

Andre Miles-Redmond, G, Hermitage.

Kwontie Moore, LB, Norfolk Christian.

Courtnye Wynn, DE, Norfolk Christian.

So Tech was 11-7 for the 2011 class, 7-5 in-state. That’s an impressive haul for Virginia given its four losing seasons in the last five years.

The Hokies are 8-3 for 2012, 7-3 in-state, with battles remaining.

Of course, the ultimate measure is on the field, where the Hokies have beaten the Cavaliers seven straight years.