Story by Chris Graham
Ever wonder who your favorite team’s football coach backs politically?
Come on – you can admit it. It’s crossed your mind once or twice.
And even if it didn’t … well, it’s Election Day.
Don’t consider this at all exhaustive – but I promise you will learn a little about how Al Groh, Frank Beamer, Joe Gibbs and others in the Virginia sports world view the political world.
We’ll start with the lone Democrat in the bunch – Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer, whose name hasn’t shown up in campaign circles for several years, 11, to be exact.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project campaign-finance database, Beamer gave a $500 contribution to the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Don Beyer in 1996.
Beyer, a two-term lieutenant governor in Virginia, lost the 1997 governor’s race to Republican Jim Gilmore.
Moving on to Beamer’s in-state Division I nemesis, Virginia coach Al Groh – well, Groh’s name does not show up either in the VPAP database or the database of the Federal Election Commission, though his wife, Anne, does pop up in several places.
According to the FEC campaign database, Anne Groh gave $250 to the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 2004, $1,000 to the George Allen Senate campaign in 2005, and a total of $2,550 to the Republican National Committee in the years 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
The man that Groh replaced at the helm of the UVa. football ship, George Welsh, also provided financial support to the GOP – giving the George Allen Senate campaign a total of $2,000 in 2000.
Next up is Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder – whose record of campaign activity includes contributions to the Steve Forbes presidential campaign ($1,000), the George Allen Senate campaign ($4,200), the Frank Wolf for Congress campaign ($4,000), the Republican National Committee ($15,000) and the Republican Party of Virginia ($5,000)
And let me correct myself on one statement above – about Frank Beamer being the only Democrat backer in the bunch. I looked up former ‘Skins quarterback Joe Theismann, and found that he contributed $4,200 to the Harold Ford Senate campaign in Tennessee last year.
Just for the record, searches of the names Dave Leitao (UVa. men’s basketball), Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech men’s basketball), Ralph Sampson (former Virginia hoops star) and Michael Vick (former Virginia Tech football star) all came up with no contribution information.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.