Football

Gamecocks set to hire Shane Beamer as head football coach | South Carolina

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — South Carolina will hire Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer as its next head football coach on Sunday, hours after the Gamecocks ended a disappointing 2-8 season that featured Will Muschamp’s firing mid-season, multiple sources told The Post and Courier.

Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield and Louisiana head coach Billy Napier each publicly declared their intentions to stay at their current schools Saturday, paving the way to Beamer’s hiring. Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell and Florida offensive coordinator Brian Johnson were the other finalists.

Sources have confirmed that Beamer will be flown to Columbia early Sunday. He could start quickly at USC, a benefit for the Gamecocks as the recruiting early signing period begins on Dec. 16.

Beamer, a South Carolina assistant coach under Steve Spurrier from 2007-10, has received massive support from former Gamecocks and others connected with the football program. At 43, Beamer is the youngest coach hired at USC since 1993, when Brad Scott came to lead the Gamecocks at age 39.

Born in Charleston, Beamer has never been a head coach nor an offensive/defensive coordinator but has learned under several Hall-of-Fame coaches during his career. He played and coached under his father, legendary Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, and has also worked for Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee. Beamer worked for Georgia coach Kirby Smart and is currently under Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley.

He is Oklahoma’s assistant head coach for offense and was associate head coach for five years under his father at Virginia Tech. 

Beamer already has a plan to hire offensive and defensive coordinators at USC, which is where his success will truly be tied. He may coordinate the special teams himself, as he learned the traits of “Beamerball,” a discipline for top-notch special-teams play, from his father. 

Muschamp was let go on Nov. 15 in the middle of his fifth season after going 28-30 and losing 13 of his final 19 games, including a final three straight blowouts.

USC Athletics Director Ray Tanner, who hired Muschamp to replace all-time winningest coach Steve Spurrier despite Muschamp being fired from Florida a day after losing to USC in 2014, and USC President Bob Caslen made the call a day after the Gamecocks were hammered 59-42 at Ole Miss and gave up over 700 yards of offense.

USC named offensive coordinator Mike Bobo as interim coach. Bobo, a former head coach at Colorado State, finished with an 0-3 record, including a 41-18 loss at Kentucky that ended the season Saturday.

Firing Muschamp midseason was meant to give the Gamecocks a chance to name a new coach quickly after the final game. University leaders were able to interview multiple candidates in the last few weeks of the season.

Beamer was immediately a popular name. He made it known he wanted the job, having spent four years at USC and with his two oldest children born in Columbia. While he has never been in charge of his own team, he grew up in a locker room.

He started at Georgia Tech before going on to Tennessee, then stayed in the SEC with a spot at Mississippi State. It was there he first became a recruiting coordinator.

His stint at USC followed MSU and he again took over recruiting in 2009 and 2010. Beamer’s 2009 class included flipping Alshon Jeffery from Southern Cal to the Gamecocks and also added program favorite D.J. Swearinger, plus Stephon Gilmore, who was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year last season.

In 2010, Beamer and USC won the services of Marcus Lattimore, one of the most coveted running backs in the country, and added Ace Sanders, Victor Hampton, Nick Jones, A.J. Cann, Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw to the fold as well. That season saw the Gamecocks win the SEC East championship for the first and only time, and Beamer’s classes formed the nucleus of teams that posted three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13.

Beamer also helped land No. 1 national recruit Jadeveon Clowney in Columbia just before he left USC to work for his father at Virginia Tech. He was associate head coach and running backs coach for five years with the Hokies and was acting head coach on the sideline for a win in the 2014 Military Bowl, as the elder Beamer coached from the pressbox after throat surgery.

It was at Virginia Tech where Beamer ran into the only blemish on his resume. He was part of the “Wakeyleaks” scandal where a former Wake Forest radio analyst was distributing Demon Deacons game plans to opponents, a charge Beamer admitted to.

Beamer claimed he never passed the information on to the rest of the staff or the players, and the Hokies lost the game to Wake Forest. He had already moved on to an assistant spot at Georgia but was fined $25,000 for the offense.

With the Bulldogs, Beamer helped Georgia advance to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. It was the second of Beamer’s career after playing on Virginia Tech’s 1999 national runner-up team.

Beamer has spent the past three seasons studying under Riley, who has become known for fielding high-powered, explosive offenses. Offensive prowess was a criteria for Tanner and Caslen after Muschamp’s teams were inconsistent moving the ball over the past five years.

The Gamecocks are getting a young, energetic recruiter who wants to fill his staff with several like-minded assistants. His first tasks will be to hold on to the remains of the recruiting class (six decommitted after Muschamp was fired), add more recruits by Dec. 16 and hire his coordinators.

After that comes the task almost every USC coach has tried to accomplish with most not succeeding. USC has tremendous facilities, fan support and is in a leading conference yet has no winning tradition to speak of. The Gamecocks have won one conference championship in 127 seasons, one division title in 29 years in the SEC and have posted four seasons of 10 or more wins.

Yet hope keeps the Gamecocks coming back to Williams-Brice Stadium, and the high-paying hopefuls made Muschamp’s ouster happen in order to restore some goodwill to a floundering team. Beamer will be the latest to try and lead USC to the thought-to-be promised land. 

Read more at www.postandcourier.com

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