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Cavs prepare for Christmas bowl in Hawaii

While most University students spend Christmas curled up next to the fire, Cavalier football players will be frolicking in sunny Hawaii, enjoying their third straight bowl game.

Virginia accepted an invitation yesterday to play in either the Oahu Bowl on Christmas Eve or the Aloha Bowl on Christmas Day. The Cavs (6-5) learned last week they had earned a bowl berth, but they will have to wait until the Bowl Championship Series pairings are announced Sunday before they know their opponent and in which of the two bowls they will play. The foe likely will be a Pac-10 team.

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    Cav coach George Welsh was stationed on a Navy destroyer at Pearl Harbor in 1962-63, so he is well aware of Hawaii's tropical pleasures.

    "All bowls are good bowls, but this may be one of the best because of the location," Welsh said. "If you haven't been to Hawaii, you should go."

    Last year, Virginia earned a berth in the Bowl, where it swallowed an embarrassing blowout loss at the hands of Illinois. In 1998, the Cavs lost to Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

    Hokie high

    Amid rumors he would be leaving for North Carolina, Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer confirmed Monday he is not leaving the Hokies.

    Carolina reportedly offered Beamer up to $1.4 million annually to succeed the recently fired Carl Torbush in Chapel Hill, but Beamer announced he plans to stay with Tech for a 15th season.

    As extra incentive, Beamer will pick up a 25 percent salary increase, ranking him among the highest paid coaches in college football. He also will receive bonuses when Virginia Tech goes to bowl games, and $100,000 will be added to his budget for assistant coaches' salaries.

    Beamer's consistent accomplishments with the Hokies have made him a head coach regularly coveted by programs such as Alabama and Clemson. But his successful 10-1 record this season, following a spectacular 11-0 streak in 1999 and an appearance in the national championship game, has left Beamer wanting for now to stay with his alma mater.

    Wo-mack daddy

    On the heels of an outstanding junior season, Cavalier tailback Antwoine Womack was named to the All-ACC first team. Womack was the only Virginia player to receive first team honors, with left guard Josh Lawson and linebacker Byron Thweatt named to the second team. Tight end Billy Baber, right guard Evan Routzahn and cornerback Tim Spruill received honorable mentions.

    Womack led the conference with 1,028 rushing yards this season, the third straight year a Virginia tailback has won the title. Womack's selection marked only the third time in Welsh's 19-year tenure that the Cavs had less than two players on the All-ACC first team.