Beamer Named New USC Assistant Coach
Spurrier introduced Beamer as USC's new assistant coach at a 2 p.m. press conference on Wednesday afternoon, and he shared the different responsibilities that Beamer will be assuming on the South Carolina staff.
"We've hired Shane Beamer to coach the outside backers, the nickelbacks, and be the co-special teams coordinator," said Spurrier. "He and Fred Chatham will be co-coordinators. All of our coaches are going to be actively involved in special teams a lot more then what we've done in the past around here. We've got to do something to emphasize special teams, emphasize defense, emphasize offense, and emphasize everything a little bit better."
Beamer, who was a long snapper for his father's infamous Virginia Tech special teams units in the late nineties, will coordinate the PAT and field goal block teams, as well as the kickoff and punt return teams for the Gamecocks, and Spurrier believes the addition of Beamer will help USC put more of an emphasis on those areas.
"We're going to try to be better on special teams," Spurrier insisted. "Obviously with Shane coming from Virginia Tech, where they've been about as good as anybody in the country on special teams - He was a special teams player there - hopefully he can give us a little insight. I've got to do a better job emphasizing special teams this coming year, so we're excited to have Shane."
Spurrier, who said that Beamer will likely take over recruiting responsibilities in the state of Georgia and specifically the Atlanta area, shared why he believes Beamer is the right fit for the USC staff.
"I've known Shane a little bit over the years. He started out like most coaches as a (graduate assistant) at Georgia Tech. I know he's been at Mississippi State the last three years and spent three years at Tennessee, so he's been around some good programs obviously," said Spurrier. "I thought he was the kind of guy we're looking for. I thought he was the right fit for what we need to do better here. We're excited to have Shane. He's got a proven record as a recruiter the last three years, and that's always a big plus when you hire a coach."
When asked to comment on what criteria he considers when searching for a new coach, Spurrier responded that several factors generally play into that decision.
"First of all, you've got to be a pretty decent guy. If you like to argue and fight with everybody, then you can't work for me. We're going to all get along. We're going to have fun together and enjoy being around each other and so forth . That's probably the first criteria, but other than that, (I look at) their ability to coach, ability to recruit, ability to look out for players that you coach and have a feel and responsibility for your players to do well and graduate and be a success after they play here," said Spurrier. "I think Shane obviously falls in that category in all those areas. We‘re excited to have him here, and we‘re anxious to start talking a little football."
Beamer Excited To Join Gamecocks
Before joining the South Carolina staff, Beamer had spent the past three seasons as an assistant under Coach Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State. During that time, Beamer served stints as the Bulldogs recruiting coordinator, cornerbacks coach, and running backs coach. He had also recently been named special teams coordinator for next season if he had stayed in Starkville. While he enjoyed his time in the Magnolia State, Beamer said he is excited about the opportunity that awaits him in Columbia.
"First of all I just want to thank Coach Spurrier and everyone here at South Carolina for this opportunity. It's an exciting time for myself, professionally and personally," said an enthusiastic Beamer following his introduction on Wednesday afternoon. "My wife Emily and I, last summer we were vacationing in Charleston, and we were driving back through Columbia on our way back to Mississippi. I made a comment to her that this would be a dream place for me to coach. I was born in Charleston, and I thought it would be neat to come back over here where I consider myself a native of and work here with Coach Spurrier. His track record speaks for itself, and it's funny how it worked out that way. I'm excited about the opportunity to work with Coach Nix on defense and hopefully bring something to the table there and learn from Coach Spurrier. I also want to help this program on special teams."
Beamer, who said that he was overwhelmed by receiving over twenty emails from Gamecock fans welcoming him and his wife to USC last night, also wished his former school the best of luck under Coach Croom's direction.
"I want to thank the people at Mississippi State also. I had a great three years there, and it's a first class organization," said Beamer. "Coach (Sylvester) Croom's there, and he's a first class guy. It was tough to leave, but he understood my reasons and the opportunity that this situation presented. He'll have no bigger fan than myself here in Columbia, except when we play them in September. Hopefully we can meet those guys in Atlanta for the SEC Championship here soon."
The Virginia Tech graduate was first contacted by Spurrier about the open staff position last week, but that was not the first time he and Spurrier had crossed paths, according to Beamer.
"I guess the first time I ever met Coach Spurrier was in 1999 at the Heisman Trophy dinner up in New York. It was the year Ron Dayne won the Heisman Trophy, and it was my senior year at Virginia Tech. We were playing in the National Championship Game the next month. That was the first time I met him," said Beamer. "Obviously, if you're a fan of college football, you know who Coach Spurrier is. When he was with the Redskins, I went up there a couple times to visit, and he was very welcoming. He let me come in and watch practice and spend a couple days with those guys. That was really the background. David Reaves and I are good friends. Tyrone Nix and I have some mutual friends in the business, and I think everything just kind of came together in this situation and it worked out."
After the grand introduction by Coach Spurrier about the hopes of improving USC's porous special teams play, Beamer was asked to comment on what has made his father's Virginia Tech team thrive in the kicking game over the years.
"I think early on he was just putting an emphasis on it when other coaches probably weren't. When he got to Virginia Tech, I can remember coming down here in the late 80's and Virginia Tech was playing South Carolina when they had Todd Ellis, Robert Brooks, Sterling Sharpe, and Harold Greene and just getting drilled every time they came down here. I think he felt like they needed something that would set them apart. They weren't as talented as other teams, and I think he felt early on like that was his niche to even out the playing field. They got the ball rolling, and I think it became a tradition up there," said Beamer. "I think at a lot of schools they view special teams as a chore, but at Virginia Tech, the players on the team are lining up to get on the kicking team units. I think that's the biggest thing. They just put an emphasis on it. There's some X's and O's things that they do, but I don't think there's any great secrets he has. I think it's just they work at it and have developed a tradition where guys feel obligated to carry on the tradition… I studied it, and since I've gotten into coaching, I've really gone back and paid attention to what he's done."
Beamer then shared an intriguing story about how he had always heard that South Carolina was a sleeping giant of a program while growing up, and how it's exciting to now be a part of that program under Spurrier.
"Coach Spurrier and I have talked about this, and my dad has always said that, when he was with the Citadel and even to this day, he always thought that South Carolina had the potential to be a perennial program year in and year out. Growing up, I can always remember him saying that when he viewed his top jobs, South Carolina was always one of them," said Beamer. "All the resources are here, and that's what you always saw from the outside. You saw a great, great fan base, and you saw commitment, a great city to live in, a great University, and great facilities that are continuing to improve. I think that was, from the outside looking in, what you saw as a rival coach anytime you came here. No matter what the record was, whenever you came to South Carolina to play, that stadium was going to be jam packed, and you could count on the South Carolina fans being wild and crazy up there."
Beamer, who acknowledged that he and his father will likely cross paths against each other on the recruiting trail in the coming years, closed by sharing how he has begun to make his own name in the coaching profession.
"I want to be Shane Beamer. I don't want to be Frank Beamer's son. When I finished up as a player at Virginia Tech, I had the opportunity where I could have stayed there as a graduate assistant, but I just felt like it was best for me to get out and make my own contacts and make my own name," said Beamer. "He's not going to coach forever, and I thought it was important that I knew people and people knew who I was. I don't ever want to get a job just because I'm Frank Beamer's son, and obviously I'm not naïve enough to think that my last name doesn't ring a bell to some people, but I want people to say, 'Forget about whose son he is, he's a good football coach.' I felt like the only way to do that was to get away… He‘s excited about where I am, and I‘m excited to be here right now also."
- Spurrier also announced the promotion of David Reaves from assistant quarterback coach to full time quarterback coach. "I also want to announce we're promoting David Reaves to full time quarterback coach. I'll still be the offensive coordinator, and I'm still going to coach them. The offensive coordinator can coach everybody on the field, and the head coach can coach everybody on the field too, so I'm not cutting back on my coaching," said Spurrier. "I'm giving David a little more responsibility to meet with the quarterbacks on his own and be a little bit more involved with them at times where I can watch special teams and let David handle the quarterbacks during that practice time. Hopefully it'll be beneficial for us, and hopefully we'll be a better team by making a few changes here and bringing Shane on board."
- When asked about the academic status of January enrollee Clifton Geathers, Spurrier acknowledged that Geathers is still awaiting official word from the NCAA Clearinghouse. "He has not quite been cleared, which is sort of common. When a player's academics sort of jump up real quick or something, they like to check it all out," said Spurrier. "We feel like it's going to be fine, but his papers are still in the clearinghouse, and that's why he's not able to work out with the team right now. He's going to class and doing everything, and we've been proud of what he's done here."
- Spurrier also commented on the academic progress of freshman offensive lineman Heath Batchelor, who struggled academically in the first semester. "Batchelor's here and going to class. Hopefully he'll pass a lot more hours than he did last time," said Spurrier.
- The Head Ball Coach shared his thoughts on the NCAA‘s decision to toss the recent rules that were intended to shorten the college game. "It shortened the game, and if that's what they were trying to do, they did that," said Spurrier. "I think most players and coaches like a little more action, so it's fine with me. That's good to go back I say."
- Spurrier again confirmed the plans for the annual Garnet and Black Game, which will conclude spring practice on April 14th. "The spring game is going to be on (April) 14th. Hootie and the Blowfish are all set to perform. We're going to charge admission, and it's going to be a fundraiser for the new facility campaigns going on here," said Spurrier. "Hopefully our fans will realize that. I know a lot of times it's been free, but we haven't had Hootie and the Blowfish before. Hopefully we're going to give them a little extra. We should be able to play a complete game. We had ninety-four guys working out on the first day of winter conditioning. We've got plenty of players ready to go play, and a lot of them are excited. For some of these kids, that's their game of the year."
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