South Carolina formally introduced Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer as the 36th head coach of its football program on Monday afternoon, as university president Bob Caslen, athletic director Ray Tanner, and Beamer met with the media.
As one might expect, both Caslen and Tanner are excited about their choice, repeatedly expressing how sure they are that Beamer is the man for the job. While Tanner acknowledged his lack of head coaching experience — the biggest sticking point for fans critical of the hire — he pointed out that Beamer has nonetheless been on staff for 17 bowl games and coached in a national championship game as well.
For his part, Beamer called the move an “absolute dream come true,” talking about how he and his wife immediately knew they wanted to put down roots in Columbia during his first stint at South Carolina as Steve Spurrier’s recruiting coordinator. He also mentioned that he’s been taping USC games and otherwise keeping tabs on how the Gamecocks are doing. Folks talk a lot about “winning the press conference,” and obviously saying the right things doesn’t mean you’ll be winning games, too — but it’s very clear that Beamer is legitimately passionate about the University of South Carolina and the greater Columbia community.
There was also this little nugget, when someone asked him about Clemson:
Beamer asked about "the Clemson problem."— David Cloninger (@DCPandC) December 7, 2020
Responds by saying "that program in the Upstate" is a tremendous challenge, but when he was here before, they were on a nice little run. Looks forward to that happening again.
Speaking of Clemson, the Dabo Swinney comparisons have been inevitable — as some folks think South Carolina is trying to imitate Swinney’s coaching style by bringing Beamer in as a young, culture-focused CEO — and Beamer was quite complimentary of him. Interesting insight here from a Clemson writer on the relationship and similarities between the two:
After listening to parts of Shane Beamer's presser and hearing Dabo Swinney talk about him just now, I can see why they get along/Swinney respects him so much. Both are big on family, the little things and have friendly personalities.— Grace Raynor (@gmraynor) December 7, 2020
Disappointingly, Beamer plans to stay in Norman and coach the Sooners through the Big 12 Championship game this weekend, rather than hit the ground running in Columbia with the Gamecocks. Of course, I understand that the timeline of a coaching hire usually includes a wrap-up at the previous/current job, and I respect that Beamer doesn’t want to “rip out the rug,” as he put it, from under his Oklahoma kids. There’s just, uh, kind of a lot to do around here, and the Gamecocks’ rapidly deteriorating recruiting class (as well as the risk of losing current players to the transfer portal) is looming.
As for a possible bowl game — which, yes, the Gamecocks are apparently potentially in line for; thank the need for TV inventory — Beamer said he wouldn’t coach in it, but does like the idea of the extra practices and getting another chance to evaluate the program. Tanner said there are different scenarios that would have to play out in order for USC to get a bid, so we’ll just have to see what happens on that front.
In any case, I’m settling down a bit about this move. I’m still leery of Beamer’s lack of experience, but former players absolutely love the guy and are convinced he has what it takes to bring back a winning culture to Columbia. If nothing else, the fact that he so badly wants to be here can’t hurt. There’s no such thing as a guarantee when it comes to coaching hires — why don’t we try something a little different this time around?
Great day to be a Gamecock https://t.co/u70M9enrWQ— Marcus Lattimore (@MarcusLattimore) December 7, 2020
What’s going to be really interesting is to see how Beamer decides to build his staff. He hinted that some current staff members could be retained — I’d think former legendary quarterback Connor Shaw would be at the top of that list, for one — but not much is known about who he’d bring in as coordinators. Stay tuned.