Back Shane Beamer Ready for Season One

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Shane Beamer Ready for Season One

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Shane Beamer is eager and excited for his chance, one a lifetime in the making.

When we talk to high school prospects and our players about where we're going and what we're going to do, it's not like I'm selling something that hasn't been done before or was done 40 years ago.
~Shane Beamer

The perspective Shane Beamer brings to South Carolina is a big part of the program's energy and momentum moving forward.

Though Beamer, hired in early December, is a first-year head coach, he has long been well-versed in leadership and success. A wide receiver-turned-long-snapper on the 1999 Virginia Tech team that played for a national championship, Shane is the son of College Football Hall of Famer Frank Beamer, the legend who led the Hokies for nearly three decades. Quite notably, Shane has also been groomed at Oklahoma, Georgia, Mississippi State and Georgia Tech, learning from other greats of the game.

Not only was Beamer born to be where he is now, getting ready for his first fall camp as head coach at South Carolina, he built one of the nation's best resumes along the way.

A Charleston, South Carolina-native, Beamer not only knows the state, he knows the school, too. He was with the Gamecocks from 2007-2010, coaching, at different points, outside linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, special teams and serving as South Carolina's recruiting coordinator. During Beamer's four seasons in Columbia, the Gamecocks won 29 games. He, furthermore, helped lay the foundation for three consecutive eleven-win efforts from 2009-2011, a stretch where South Carolina advanced to the SEC Championship Game. 

In signing some of the premier players to ever suit up for the Gamecocks, talents like Connor Shaw, Marcus Lattimore and Stephon Gilmore, among many other future college and professional stars, Beamer teamed with Steve Spurrier in helping to develop South Carolina into a contending program nationally. The Gamecocks finished in the top 25 in Beamer's final year, peaking as high as 10th in the polls, with three straight top-ten seasons immediately following.

Literally and figuratively, much of Beamer's story starts in South Carolina. It's a full-circle opportunity he hopes to turn into a spotlight.

"There are so many things that make it special," Beamer said of coaching the Gamecocks. "It's a fantastic community and state to be a part of. Unbelievable fan base. Greatest fan base I've been around: passionate, loyal, loud, hungry. It's a great place to live. We've got fantastic academics here at the University of South Carolina. We've got an atmosphere here that's unmatched across the country in my opinion."

After his stint in Columbia, Beamer later helped Georgia advance to a College Football Playoff Final and Oklahoma make two College Football Playoff appearances as well. Before South Carolina, there were SEC stops for Beamer at Mississippi State and Tennessee and his first graduate assistant role at Georgia Tech. From 2011-2015, he coached for his father Frank at Virginia Tech, becoming the Hokies' assistant head coach. Shane continued to grow his brand in Blacksburg, sharing the sidelines with the man who is his mentor.  

It was a truly special opportunity for the younger Beamer to coach right alongside his dad and learn even more from one of the best of all time.  

"There is a lot I learned playing for him, coaching for him and then being his son all of those years. I think probably the biggest thing is just the consistency that he had day-in and day-out as a head coach," Shane shared. "I realize in this chair that I'm in, all eyes are on me in this building and outside this building of the people that follow Carolina football. Just being steady and consistent in the way that I do things day-in, day-out."

Though there hasn't been much down time for Beamer since taking over his first program, his current role is already a profound one.   

"Now that I'm in this chair, it's amazing to me that he did it for 29 years at Virginia Tech and another six at Murray State out in Kentucky," Beamer added of his father. "I see all of the things that come across my desk and all of the things you get to deal with as a head football coach at a high level, it's been a lot over the last six months. Thinking about him doing it for almost 40 years is pretty remarkable. I have even more of an appreciation for it now that I'm doing it myself."

Beamer has been shaped by each of his stops and each of the head coaches he has worked for. Everything Beamer has learned has helped him get to this point.  

"I've been around some fantastic coaches in my career, including my dad. Lincoln Riley, Kirby Smart, Sylvester Croom, Philip Fulmer, Coach Spurrier, George O'Leary. All along, you've got to continue to be yourself," he continued. "I've got to be me, I can't try and be somebody else, but there's definitely a lot of things I took from my dad, including those other coaches, that we want to be about here at South Carolina."

It goes without saying that Beamer has big plans for the Gamecocks -- and for good reason. He was a key part of the Spurrier era, one where South Carolina emerged as one of the top programs in the SEC. Looking ahead, Beamer is confident, optimistic and positive. His conviction can be found on his resume and in the record books alike. Beamer, mind you, has already won in Columbia. His introduction was a reintroduction.  

When Beamer talks about South Carolina being a leading name in college football, he does so from experience.

"It wasn't that long ago that we were there and, for whatever reason, it's slipped a little bit in the last couple of seasons. But when we talk to high school prospects and our players about where we're going and what we're going to do, it's not like I'm selling something that hasn't been done before or was done 40 years ago," Beamer nodded. "It's been done in the last ten years."

For Beamer, his pitch is one he is proud of. Consider it a script he wrote years before he would ever read it aloud. 

"In the last ten years we were in the process of beating our in-state rivals five years in a row. My last year here, which wasn't that long ago, we beat Georgia, Florida, Clemson, Tennessee and Alabama all in the same season," Beamer recalled. "I just look at all the things that have changed here for the better since I left. I see the resources that we have here. To me there's no reason why we shouldn't be back at that level and then exceed that level because we have everything we need here from an academic standpoint and a football standpoint."

As the season approaches, his first as a head coach, there is much for Beamer to consider. South Carolina will open the year against Eastern Illinois on September 4th, then begin SEC play at Georgia on September 18th. The pre-season is essentially underway. Beamer has fall camp upcoming and a young team to prepare. Entering a build with the Gamecocks, he has a standard he wants to set. This chance Beamer has to develop a program is one that has been in the works for years.

Featuring All-SEC standouts like running back Kevin Harris and defensive end Kingsley Enagbare, Beamer and his first South Carolina team are ready get to work. 

"I'm hoping when people watch us play they are blown away by the physicality and the toughness and the passion and competitive spirit we shown when we're out there on the field," he stated. "That's extremely important to me and our players know that. And then beyond that, we just want to be attacking: offense, defense and special teams."

Beamer is eager and excited for his chance, one a lifetime in the making. For all of the big picture storylines, the focus, at South Carolina, is on the here and now. He and the Gamecocks are ready to make the most of their opportunities. 

"Each and every day, you figure out what's important. There's a lot going on; there's recruiting, there's your current team, there's everything, getting ready for the season. There's a lot. You take each and every day and figure out what's most important and attack that each day and keep moving along," Beamer concluded. "It's been exciting and will continue to be. Really looking forward to everything getting cranked up here really, really soon."

Shane Beamer is getting settled in at South Carolina. He knows what he wants and he knows what it takes.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports