Frank Beamer's retirement is a national story because, first and foremost, he is a local treasure in Blacksburg, Va. The tears welled up for Beamer on Monday, reflecting the outpouring of gratitude from Hokies fans for an authentic coach who inspires loyalty because what you see is what you get.

Beamer is one of their own in Blacksburg. He built a rural school called Virginia Polytechnic Institute into national relevancy in football. Growing up on a farm about an hour away in Fancy Gap, Va., Beamer played cornerback at Virginia Tech, became a symbol during the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, and coached his alma mater for 29 years better than anyone else ever had.

“The tough part about retiring is you're leaving the people that you love the most, that mean the most to you,” Beamer said, fighting back tears.

The emotions pouring out of Virginia Tech over the last 24 hours can't be properly summarized in this column from the outside. So read Roanoke Times columnist Aaron McFarling, and read senior editor Mike Harris, who covered Beamer for The Richmond Times-Dispatch from 1992 until 2006.

The core of college football, despite how big this multi-billion-dollar industry has become nationally, is still local. How many games you win based on your fans' expectations, how you perform against your rival, how you treat your boosters, how you conduct yourself within your university's mission these things still matter most in college football.