TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Bobby Bowden and Frank Beamer took in the pregame festivities before Florida State and Virginia Tech kicked off on Monday, joking about how grateful they were to be watching and not coaching.
The two legendary football coaches served as honorary captains for the big matchup, which has traditionally been among the best in the ACC.
"It's the most not nervous I've ever been in this stadium," Beamer said. "Usually it's pins and needles in here. You need to get ready to play a great team. It's good being back here."
Bobby Bowden and Frank Beaner are honorary captains for the Florida State-Virginia Tech game. Here they are with Warrick Dunn. pic.twitter.com/R8xUORxXoz— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) September 4, 2018
Bowden and the Seminoles got the best of Beamer and the Hokies in three of their biggest matchups: the 2000 national championship game and two ACC title games. For a time, it was Florida State and Virginia Tech that headlined the conference thanks to the success the two head coaches had during their careers.
Last season, Beamer also served as the honorary captain in the opener against West Virginia, and he remains a visible part of the Virginia Tech program. But since Bowden stepped down at the end of the 2009 season, he rarely has been around Florida State.
When Willie Taggart arrived in Tallahassee, he made it a priority to bring Bowden back. Monday night marks Bowden's first game at Doak Campbell Stadium since 2013.
"He's done everything you need to do to get a program going," Bowden said of Taggart. "That doesn't mean you're going to win right off, but I'm convinced the more I see him, he's going to win."
Asked if he missed being around the program, Bowden said, "You know, at my age, no. I'm 88 now -- that's too old to be around the program. But I keep up with everything they do."
Bowden spent 34 years as head coach at Florida State, and Beamer spent 29 years leading the Hokies. The two combined for over 600 wins and 20 conference championships.
"With him being here, it makes it better," Bowden said.