Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer to retire at end of season

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, who guided the Hokies to 22 straight winning seasons and 22 consecutive bowl appearances, announced Sunday that he's retiring at the end of the season.

Beamer addressed his decision in a statement released by the school, citing his "love and passion for this great university, this program and our tremendous fans."

"I was going to wait until the end of the season to make this announcement, but I've always believed in being open and honest with my players and coaches," Beamer said in his statement. "I know Hokie Nation will continue to give our players and our coaches their full support in these last three games, and hopefully through a bowl game. I will be forever grateful to everyone who made these past three decades the best years of my life. It's an emotional day for me and my family. I am so honored and humbled to have served as your head coach."

During an appearance at ESPN in July, Beamer told ESPN that he would prefer that someone on his current coaching staff -- either longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster or associate head coach/running backs coach Shane Beamer, his son -- replace him when he retired as the Hokies' coach.

Shortly before the 2014 season, Virginia Tech extended Beamer's contract by two years, through the 2018 season.

Beamer, 69, retires as the winningest active coach in FBS, with a 234-120-2 record in 29 seasons as coach of his alma mater. He guided the Hokies to four ACC titles, three Big East championships and six appearances in BCS bowl games.

After he guided the Hokies to 10 wins or more in eight consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2011, Beamer's teams have lost five games or more in each of the past four seasons.

"Frank Beamer is one of the most respected coaches in college athletics, and for good reason. What he has meant to college football, his players, staff and fans is immeasurable," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. "He is a man of integrity, class and humility, and I'm tremendously pleased that part of his career has been spent in the Atlantic Coast Conference."

The Hokies are currently 4-5 after Saturday's 26-10 victory over Boston College.

Under Beamer's watch, the Hokies rose from independent to the Big East in 1991 to the ACC in 2004.

Along the way, Virginia Tech's aggressive style of play on special teams became known as "Beamer Ball." During the 1990s, no team in the country blocked more kicks than Virginia Tech, which had 66 in the decade.

Beamer's tenure at Virginia Tech started slowly, as the Hokies won three games or fewer in each of his first two seasons in 1987 and '88. After a 2-8 finish in 1992, Beamer feared the school might even fire him.

But the Hokies won Big East titles in consecutive seasons in 1995 and '96. In 1999, with freshman quarterback Michael Vick running his offense, Beamer guided the Hokies to an 11-1 record, with the only loss coming against Florida State in the national championship game at the Sugar Bowl.

Beamer, a 1969 graduate of Virginia Tech, underwent throat surgery in December and watched from the press box as the Hokies defeated Cincinnati in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman.

ESPN.com's Chris Low contributed to this report.