RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Coach Frank Beamer and Johnny Oates were honored at the 2019 Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Awards, hosted by the American Heart Association, at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston, TX.
Beamer was honored for his 29-year coaching career at Virginia Tech. The former coach, who retired in 2015, received the 2019 Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chester teen Johnny Oates was also in attendance, sharing his story on how he overcame a fatal heart condition and returned to sports. The athlete was born with a heart defect called ALCAPA. Oates had to have open-heart surgery to correct his heart’s miswiring.
Oates currently plays baseball for the Virginia Cardinals showcase team and Thomas Dale High School.
Beamer and Oates' grandfathers were classmates and friends while attending Virginia Tech. Beamer’s grandfather played for the football team, while Oates' grandfather played for the baseball team.
Oates' grandfather went on to play professional baseball, later becoming the manager of the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers MLB teams.
“It was such an honor to share my story at the Paul Bear Bryant Awards,” says Oates. “It is so important to raise awareness along with the American Heart Association for all heart related conditions and patients of all ages.”
This was the organization’s 33rd year hosting the event.