COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The desire to become a head football coach one day always burned brightly inside Shane Beamer’s heart and soul.
For years he watched his dad, legendary Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, guide a championship program.
Beamer recalls his dad’s reaction to wanting to follow in his footsteps.
“He tells this story all the time,” Beamer said about his dad. “When I told him I wanted to get into coaching, he said, ‘Are you absolutely nuts? You’ve been around this profession, grew up in it, you’ve seen the highs and the lows and want to be a part of it?!’ I did.”
Beamer learned a great deal about leading a program by both playing for and coaching with his dad.
“Being able to see how he handled that, the ups and the downs,” Beamer explained. “His consistency and steadiness day in and day out. I hope I have taken a lot of qualities from my dad. That’s one that I hope I’ve taken more than any other -- is just that steadiness and consistency that you got to have as a leader when everyone is looking at you. If you’re high and low and on an emotional roller coaster, it’s going to be tough. I learned that from him.”
The 43-year-old Beamer spent 21 seasons mastering the coaching craft as an assistant on seven different Power 5 programs.
One of his stops included a four-year stint on Steve Spurrier’s staff at Carolina from 2007 through 2010. Beamer still remembers how he felt when Spurrier left a voicemail asking him to come coach in Columbia.
“What a surreal moment that was!” he exclaimed.
An exciting moment, though. Beamer knew it was an excellent opportunity. He grew up watching the great Florida teams the “Head Ball Coach” engineered. So he jumped on the chance to learn from one of the best to do it.
Beamer reflected on one of the biggest takeaways from his four seasons alongside the HBC. Of course, it had to be Spurrier’s swagger.
“The confidence, you guys know, the confidence and swagger that he lived his life with each and every day,” Beamer remembered. “The competitive spirit that he had.”
He added: “I’ll never forget going to play golf with him one day. The first time I ever got to play with him, I had gone out the time before and played golf with a couple of coaches and played pretty well. A little bit better than what I actually am.”
Beamer says Spurrier’s ears perked up when he heard about the outing. Spurrier decided on the next trip to the links to put Beamer in his foursome, the ‘A’ group, as it’s called.
“I got out there and was nervous as all heck,” said Beamer. “I did not play well in the first two holes. By the time we got to the third tee box, he had kicked me out of his group. Told me I need to go back and play with the F group behind us. That was my first introduction to Coach Spurrier and what a competitor he is.”
Beamer quickly learned Spurrier was all about competition and confidence.
“It was a great lesson for me to see that,” Beamer said. “The confidence -- the players fed off that. When your head coach has that confidence, that Coach Spurrier did, they feed off of it. They played that way. That’s one of many things I learned from him.”
During his time under Spurrier, he realized becoming the Gamecocks’ head coach would be a dream opportunity. It’s finally come to fruition after all these years and multiple stops -- the latest at Oklahoma as the assistant head football coach.
Beamer said he’s honored and humbled to accept his first head coaching job in Columbia.
“I was pleased with the steps I was taking and roles that I was in to make that opportunity become a reality,” said Beamer. “Things happen when they’re supposed to happen. I’m very confident in that. I wouldn’t have traded any of the steps I’ve been on in my entire career. One, it led me here, back here today. But, two, the way it prepared me to be a head coach.”
He added: “I’m 43-years-old. I’ve been the son of a head coach my entire life. So, I’ve seen first hand what it’s about. No, I haven’t sat in that chair. I’ve seen a pretty good way on how to do that.”
One of the ways is “Beamer Ball.” A brand of football the Hokies played under Beamer’s dad. “Beamer Ball 2″ appears to be on the way to Carolina.
“When you talk about Beamer Ball, you talk about attacking, the ability to score on offense, defense, and special teams,” said Beamer. “We may not use the term Beamer Ball exactly, but playing that way and having that aspect as a part of our program is certainly something we are going to be about. Opportunistic and attacking constantly, whoever is on the field for us.”
And, Beamer’s dad will have a role within the Gamecocks’ program. Shane promised Athletics Director Ray Tanner during the interview process that his dad would be heavily involved. He failed to mention that to his dad before making such a promise.
After the five-and-half-hour interview, he quickly called his dad to relay how the conversation went. When he mentioned the promise to Tanner, Beamer says his dad was all for it.
Beamer is all for building a winner in South Carolina.
The Gamecocks have not experienced a great deal of success over these past two seasons, winning just three of their last 16 games played under head coach Will Muschamp.
Beamer discussed with the team on Sunday exactly how to create a winners’ mindset. And, taking a page out of the HBC’s playbook, it’s about competition.
“I’m big on competition,” he explained. “We want to compete in every single thing that we do. We want to compete in off-season workouts. We want to compete on the practice field. We want to compete on the game fields on Saturday. We also want to compete in the classroom. In everything that we do, I want to be about competition and being elite in all that we do.”
He added: “Learning how to win and developing leaders -- all that stuff leads to winning. There’s no question as we attack each day and try to move this thing forward with constant improvement; we will learn that.”