Frank Beamer versus Mike London is a mismatch. Beamer would dominate London on a golf course. London would trample Beamer in a blocking drill.
Recruiting is a different story. Though polar opposites stylistically, both are effective, London the dynamic preacher, Beamer the folksy storyteller.
And recruiting was what brought Beamer and London to Hampton on Thursday for back-to-back appearances at the Virginia High School Coaches Association's annual clinic.
There wasn't a 27-star quarterback or a Troy Polamalu clone in sight, but the opportunity to share a little knowledge and schmooze with scores of high school coaches was irresistible.
London was his fiery self, breaking into a sweat during his 30-minute presentation on "protecting your personal brand."
This wasn't about Xs and Os. It was about values and character-building.
Recounting the story of Cavaliers tight end Colter Phillips losing his father last season in a plane crash, London spoke of how Colter's little brother survived and crawled from the wreckage to summon rescuers.
"There is victory in defeat," London bellowed. "There is triumph in sorrow."
Beamer also played to type. He casually described "the foundation of our program" with words such as loyalty, respect and honesty. He stressed the Hokies' national-best streak of seven consecutive 10-win seasons and their in-state flavor — 30 of 44 on the two-deep hail from the commonwealth.
"We believe we can win a national championship with Virginia kids," Beamer told the audience, which, like London's, exceeded 100.
Such outreach isn't as common in sports such as basketball, baseball and soccer, where club and AAU coaches have become more influential. But in football, relationships with high school coaches remain paramount.
Beamer gets it. London gets it.
Virginia Tech's windfall from those relationships is well-chronicled: four ACC championships in seven years of membership and bowl invites in 18 straight seasons.
Virginia's dividends aren't yet measured in the standings. The Cavaliers were 4-8 in London's debut season, 1-7 in the ACC. But the vibe surrounding the program, not to mention players' academic performance, is undeniably positive.
"We're a work in progress, fellas," London told the coaches. "But we're getting better."
That optimism is rooted in recruiting, and while assistants such as Anthony Poindexter and Chip West deserve considerable credit, London is the closer.
Virginia Tech smacked Virginia 37-7 in November, the Hokies' seventh consecutive win in the series. But come February's signing day, seven prospects chose U.Va. despite an offer from Virginia Tech, this according to their recruiting profiles on Rivals.com.
Among the seven were Hampton High quarterback David Watford, Menchville running back Clifton Richardson and Bayside cornerback Demetrious Nicholson, the latter a nationally coveted recruit. Eleven Hokies signees had offers from the Cavaliers, but Virginia's inroads were apparent.
Beamer noticed, and during the offseason he revamped his staff, moving veteran assistants Billy Hite and Jim Cavanaugh into administrative roles to create room for the younger Shane Beamer (his son) and Cornell Brown. So far, so good for Tech faithful.
Of the Hokies' 20 commitments for the 2012 recruiting class, eight had offers from Virginia, most notably defensive tackle Nigel Williams of Benedictine High in Richmond and running back J.C. Coleman of Chesapeake's Oscar Smith.
The Cavaliers prevailed for acclaimed Norfolk Christian defensive end Courtnye Wynn, but of their 15 pledges, only three received offers from Tech.
Given their ACC and state rivalry, you might figure Beamer and London for Roger Goodell and James Harrison. They are not.
They didn't lunch at Beamer's restaurant at Peninsula Town Center on Thursday, and their paths didn't cross at the clinic. But they are cordial, and London always will remember Beamer allowing him to evaluate prospects at Tech's camp when London was Richmond's head coach.
"We both want to represent the state of Virginia," London said. "I have nothing but respect for what he's done."
"You have the two major universities in the state doing it the right way," Beamer said. "We appreciate the challenge and competition."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/sports/teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP
Beamer, London play to their strengths selling Hokies, UVa football to high school coaches