Former Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia explains why Shane Beamer is 'a no freaking brainer'
“A no freaking brainer.”
That was what former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia tweeted about the Gamecocks potentially hiring Shane Beamer just 3 days after Will Muschamp was fired. For Garcia, it was “Coach Beamer,” or as he was known when he was on Steve Spurrier’s staff at South Carolina from 2007-10, just simply “Beamer.”
Garcia got to see Beamer up close. Even after Beamer left South Carolina for Virginia Tech to work alongside his dad, legendary coach Frank Beamer, Garcia and Beamer would occasionally catch up.
Beamer, who is now on Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma staff as the tight ends coach/h-backs coach, reportedly emerged as a “leader in the clubhouse” for the South Carolina job, which was music to Garcia’s ears.
“I’m hoping that he gets the damn job,” Garcia told SDS. “I know when it first came out, (Beamer) said, ‘Man, I would love to get that job out there.’ I mean, he still has an 843 area code. I think he definitely wants to get back out there and get back to the SEC.”
It was in the SEC where Beamer got his first roles as an on-field assistant. First, as cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator on Sylvester Croom’s staff at Mississippi State. On Spurrier’s staff, Beamer filled a variety of roles. At one point, he was the cornerbacks coach, but he also held the position of linebackers coach and special teams coach at different times. Garcia credited Beamer for doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the recruiting side to help set up South Carolina’s best run in school history.
By this point, Beamer’s résumé is common knowledge for most Gamecocks fans. What kind of a coach is he?
“S— man, he was awesome,” Garcia said. “He was the special teams guy. He was always energetic. All the players loved being around him.”
That’s an important reason for why Garcia believes he’s the right person for the job. According to the former South Carolina signal-caller, “99% of the guys absolutely love him,” which was echoed by former Gamecock star Melvin Ingram.
— KINGMEL (@MelvinIngram) November 20, 2020
“You look at social media,” Garcia said, “and I haven’t seen one former player that says, ‘We don’t need to go the Coach Beamer route and we should hire a guy who is already proven as a head coach.’ Every single guy that I’ve seen and that I’ve talked with is like, ‘We need to get Beamer back because he really embodies what we wanted to do when we were out there at South Carolina.’”
As Garcia mentioned, Beamer doesn’t have experience as an FBS head coach or coordinator. Neither did Sam Pittman before he took over at Arkansas.
And if Beamer lacks coordinator or head coaching experience, he certainly isn’t lacking variety in terms of roles held and prominent coaches he worked for. Besides his dad and the aforementioned Spurrier, Croom and Riley, Beamer also worked on staffs for Phillip Fulmer and Kirby Smart.
Riley signed off on Beamer becoming a head coach and praised the plethora of job titles and regions of the country he worked in. Garcia isn’t worried about the inexperience as a coordinator or head coach, either.
“I don’t think that’s a bad thing, to be honest with you,” Garcia said. “Everybody says jack of all trades, master of none. But if he’s a head coach, that’s what head coaches are supposed to do. They’re supposed to delegate the offense and the defense and have input on everything, but they’re supposed to delegate to their coordinators.
“With his background at all those different positions, that would benefit him more than it would not benefit him.”
That’s the unique part about Beamer’s background. Ever since he left Columbia, he’s been on the offensive side of the ball. Not many candidates can say they’ve coached tight ends, running backs, special teams, cornerbacks and linebackers. Beamer would still check the important box of being that young, offensive mind while also adding that experience from the defensive side of the ball.
If he were to get the job, what should South Carolina fans expect?
“A lot more offense,” Garcia said. “People just want offense now. You see Alabama, you see LSU. Everybody wants to score points. Back then, those teams weren’t scoring a lot of points. They were mainly focused on defense. That’s just the way the game is going now.”
For what it’s worth, Garcia wouldn’t be upset if South Carolina wound up hiring a different offensive-minded candidate like Liberty coach Hugh Freeze. But at this point, Beamer is still the obvious leader in Garcia’s clubhouse.
When he first saw Beamer’s name being linked to the opening, Garcia texted with his former South Carolina strength and conditioning coach, Joe Connolly, who is currently in the same role at Arizona State. Connolly and Beamer have stayed in touch since their days at South Carolina. If Beamer does get offered the South Carolina job, well, let’s just say Connolly doesn’t think they’ll have to drag him back to Columbia.
“I said (to Connolly), ‘Did you see Coach Beamer’s name being brought up?’ And (Connolly) said, ‘Holy s—, man. I talked to (Beamer) the other day and I talk to him all the time. This is his dream job. He absolutely wants to get out there,’” Garcia said.
And if Beamer does get back to South Carolina, well, he won’t even need a new phone number.