COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Shane Beamer was an assistant at South Carolina in 2010 when the Gamecocks made their only appearance in the Southeastern Conference title game.
Things didn't go well that day; South Carolina lost to eventual national champion Auburn 56-17.
At his introduction Monday as South Carolina's new head coach, Beamer vowed that South Carolina would return to Atlanta “and this time we'll finish the job.”
Beamer, named to replace fired Will Muschamp, laid out his vision in turning around South Carolina, which has gone 6-16 the past two years and 5-15 in the SEC.
Beamer thanked Muschamp for his dedication to South Carolina over the past five seasons, then pledged to bring consistency to the Gamecocks.
“People say you can't win at South Carolina,” said Beamer, the 43-year-old son of former long-time Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. “You absolutely can. We have everything you need to win at a high, high, high level.”
Beamer arrived at South Carolina on Sunday, meeting with players and the Gamecocks staff. Several former players, some he coached including receiver Moe Brown, and others (Outback Bowl MVP Ryan Brewer and quarterback Perry Orth) stopped by Monday morning. Beamer came outside — South Carolina's operations center is locked down because of COVID-19 regulations — for a chat.
He'll quickly head back to Oklahoma to finish the season as assistant head coach and tight ends coach with the Sooners.
“It'll be chaotic, but I'm surrounded by a great group of people in this facility here and we'll get it done,” he said.
Athletic director Ray Tanner declined to discuss Beamer's contract length or salary. He said the Board of Trustees will review the deal at its next meeting Dec. 15.
Beamer said he'll juggle his current and new job the next two weeks, using phones and video chats to connect with potential assistants, current recruits and Gamecocks.
Beamer said he has learned something from everywhere he's coached from his time at Mississippi State with Sylvester Croom, the SEC's first Black head football coach, to Steve Spurrier for four seasons with the Gamecocks from 2007-10 and five seasons with his dad at Virginia Tech.
“I haven't sat in that (head coaching) chair, but I know what it's like from people who have,” he said.
The landscape has changed since Beamer left a decade ago — both positive and negative.
Beamer's new office is in a $50 million, two-year old operations facility that is one of the best in college football. However, just up the road is a national championship program in Clemson, South Carolina's bitter rival.
Beamer, as Spurrier's recruiting coordinator, set the table for South Carolina's landmark five straight victories in the rivalry from 2009-13. Since then, Clemson has won six in a row along with national titles in 2016 and 2018.
“They're on a good run,” Beamer said of the rival. “When I was here before, we were on a pretty dang good run ourselves.”
South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner asked Beamer if his father would come with the deal. Shane Beamer said he talks football with his father all the time and will continue to do so during his time.
He's proud to carry the family's “Beamer Ball” imprint. “To me that means, attacking, scoring on offense, defense and special teams and I hope to bring that” to South Carolina, he said.
University President Bob Caslen said Beamer stood out as he, Tanner and senior athletic administrator Chance Miller conducted candidate interviews.
“He has the character that will bring this program to a championship level,” Caslen said.
Beamer understands he likely won't get any cushion if things don't change sooner rather than later. He referenced his father, Frank, going 2-8-1 in his sixth season at Virginia Tech, something that could never happen these days.
“I didn't present an eight-year plan, five-year plan” to Tanner, Beamer said. “You can't think long term. Every day, you have to move it forward.”
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