Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff (CFP), today announced that Frank Beamer, Chris Howard and Eugene “Gene” Smith have been appointed to the selection committee by the CFP Management Committee. The new members will each begin a three-year term this spring.
“Frank, Chris and Gene will each bring a wealth of knowledge to the selection committee,” Hancock said. “All three played college football. And they will continue the CFP tradition of committee members with high integrity and a passion for college football.”
The new members will replace College Football Hall of Fame coach and current Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez and 2015 NFF Gold Medal recipient Condoleezza Rice, whose three-year terms expired, and College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr, who stepped down from the committee for health reasons.
Prior to his retirement in 2015, Frank Beamer was one of the longest tenured coaches in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history, having started his career at Virginia Tech in 1987. As the Hokies’ head coach for 29 seasons, Beamer was the winningest active coach in FBS history at the time of his retirement, having tallied an impressive record of 238-121-2. Under Beamer, Virginia Tech football enjoyed unprecedented success with 23 consecutive bowl appearances, four Atlantic Coast Conference championships, five ACC Coastal Division crowns, three Big East Conference titles, six BCS appearances, two “major” bowl victories and a trip to the national championship game in 2000.
A three-time Big East Coach of the Year (1995, 1996, 1999), Beamer was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005. He was the consensus National Coach of the Year in 1999. From 1981 to 1986, Beamer served as the head football coach at Murray State University. Prior to his coaching career, Beamer played cornerback at Virginia Tech from 1966-68 before graduating in 1969 with a bachelor’s in distributive education. He received a master’s in guidance from Radford University in 1972. Since 2015, Beamer has served as special assistant to Whit Babcock, Director of Athletics at Virginia Tech, where he focuses on athletic development and advancement.
Chris Howard joins the selection committee while serving as the eighth president of Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh. RMU is a nationally ranked university with 16 NCAA Division I sports programs, which have won 44 conference championships, including six Northeast Conference football titles. Howard is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1991. A Rhodes scholar, he earned his doctorate in politics at the University of Oxford and an M.B.A. with distinction from the Harvard Business School. During his time at the Air Force Academy, Howard was a starting running back for the Falcons football team, where he was named a First Team Academic All-American and winner of the NFF’s inaugural William V. Campbell Trophy as the nation’s top senior football scholar-athlete. His football career ended with an upset victory over Ohio State in the Liberty Bowl.
In 2009, Howard became one of the nation’s youngest college presidents when he was named president of Hampden-Sydney College. Under his leadership, the college produced its first Truman and Goldwater Scholars in 20 years. In 2003, he was inducted into the Academic All-American Hall of Fame, and he currently is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Howard earned a Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan.
Currently in his 12th year as Director of Athletics at The Ohio State University, Eugene “Gene” Smith was elevated to senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation endowed athletics director in May of 2016. Before his tenure at Ohio State, he served as Director of Athletics for three FBS programs – Arizona State, Eastern Michigan and Iowa State. A past president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), he has also served on the NCAA Management Council, NCAA Committee on Infractions, NCAA Executive Committee, NCAA Football Rules Committee, NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee, President’s Commission Liaison Committee and National Football Foundation Honors Court, among others. He currently serves on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee. Smith is a past winner of the National Association for Athletics Compliance’s Carl Maddox Sports Management Award, and the Sport Business Journal Athletic Director of the Year award.
In 2008, he received the NFF John L. Toner Award, was named to NACDA’s inaugural “Legends Class” and was also named Athletic Director of the Year by the Black Coaches Association. Smith is a two-time winner of the Sports Business Journal Athletic Director of the Year award (2010 and 2016); in 2016, he was also selected by NACDA as the 50th James J. Corbett Memorial Award recipient, the highest honor one can achieve in collegiate athletics administration. He was the first sitting A.D. to receive this prestigious honor. Smith received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Notre Dame in 1977 and was a member of the 1973 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team that won the AP National Championship. After graduation, he joined the Notre Dame coaching staff under Dan Devine and remained in that capacity until 1981.
The CFP Selection Committee is responsible for selecting the top four teams in the playoff and assigning them to semifinal games as well as placing the next group of teams in the remaining New Year’s bowls. The selection committee meets in-person beginning late in the football season and produces a ranking of the top 25 teams each week, leading up to its final selections. For more information on the selection committee, visit www.collegefootballplayoff.com.