From redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Vick's somersault touchdown in the season opener to the celebration of a perfect 11-0 regular season in late November to the national championship disappointment in New Orleans, Virginia Tech's 1999 season was unforgettable.
Ten years ago the Hokies embarked on a journey that thrust them into the national spotlight. In a week-long series beginning Sunday, the Daily Press relives Tech's historic ride.
Dave Fairbank, who covered the team in 1999, and senior columnist David Teel, who saw eight of the Hokies' games that season, spent two-plus months on the project. They conducted more than 40 interviews and found fresh anecdotes and perspective.
All of our content from this project also will be collected at dailypress.com/1999. Enjoy.
The impact. An overview of what the '99 season has meant for Virginia Tech's athletic and academic programs.
The game. Virginia Tech led after three quarters but faded late in the national-championship game against Florida State.
The facts. Regular-season game-by-game recap and statistics.
The offensive star. Newport News native Michael Vick burst onto the college football scene in 1999 with skills rarely seen before or since.
The game ball. In a stirring scene, the Clemson game ball was presented to associate head coach Billy Hite for his hospitalized wife.
The defensive star. Thought to be too small, end Corey Moore was Tech's most-honored player in 1999, which he remembers fondly but leaves in the past.
The right call. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster turned down a marquee job before the 1999 season because he had a feeling it was going to be a special year.
The coach. In today's world, Frank Beamer likely would have been fired after six frustrating seasons. But he is a Hokie, and the school stuck with him.
The president. Virginia Tech president Paul Torgersen was scheduled to step down from his position on Jan. 1, 2000. That was too soon, though, with his Hokies playing on Jan. 4.
The kick. Shayne Graham's game-winning field goal at West Virginia preserved the Hokies' perfect regular season. We describe that moment from several points of view.
The BCS. Virginia Tech's run to the title game included a crash course for everyone in Bowl Championship Series computations, and it made a minor celebrity out of a grad student in the school's math department.
The dream life. Shyrone Stith, who led the Hokies in rushing in 1999, played in the NFL but really is enjoying his dream now, as a teacher. He works at the Achievable Dream Academy in Newport News.
The happy couple. Two days before the title game, reserve offensive lineman Tim Selmon proposed to student trainer Serah Mott at the team banquet. How'd that work out?
Where are they now? We catch up with each starter and coach from 1999.
The foundation. The 1999 team was forged on success (from the 1995 and 1996 conference title seasons) and failure (including an embarrassing loss to lowly Temple).
The last word. Teel concludes the series with tales of a harrowing plane flight and a Dominican Republic boarding school.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times