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How Shane Beamer turned around South Carolina football

Posted at 1:12 PM, Sep 01, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- At times, the rain coming down during practice at South Carolina makes it difficult to see players just a few yards away.

On the other hand, head football coach Shane Beamer views it as a day his players and some visitors are spared from the Southeast heat.

Optimism like that comes easily when you more than triple your team's victories from a year ago, win a bowl game against your northern rivals and outkick nearly every projection the experts had of your first season as a head coach.

"Going from two wins to seven wins, having the excitement and buzz about South Carolina football right now. You put all that together, certainly, it's hard to say there's a way it could have gone better than it has," Beamer said.

Shane Beamer
South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer greets fans on his arrival at Williams-Brice Stadium before an NCAA college football game against Clemson Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Columbia, S.C.

Much of the buzz surrounding the Gamecock program is directly attributable to their 45-year-old head coach who has quickly learned the language of a younger generation.

Beamer has well over 100,000 followers on social media and recruits almost immediately react to his latest offerings.

A video posted in July by South Carolina football's Twitter account featuring Beamer garnered thousands of retweets.

"That blew up so much on social media that I probably did hear from the fire marshall but it would have been impossible to get in touch with me because too many other people were reaching out to me about that," Beamer said. "It's just a way to get our message out and try to promote our program. Let's face it, we're not a traditional power that's won double-digit national championships. We've got to be creative with how we get our message out there and social media is a way to do it."

This attention has helped Beamer's love-hate relationship with the transfer portal.

South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer
South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer greets fans after arriving at Williams Brice Stadium before an NCAA college football game against Auburn Saturday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Columbia, S.C.

Beamer's biggest recruit this year is former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler who, like every other player that comes into the program, was not promised a thing in terms of playing time.

Neither was former Highland Springs and James Madison University standout Antone Wells who is spending his last year of eligibility in the SEC.

"It goes back to his mom going to Highland Springs. That was very interesting to me also. He has core values on his team that I was never introduced to," Wells said.

Wells is one of the newest players at South Carolina who was charmed by Beamer's commitment to not just the program overall but to the players in particular.

It's not just lip service to get them in the front door.

"He mentions it in every meeting, how he's trying to change the culture around here as in loving his players and just a family atmosphere. When you go on some recruiting visits, they'll say how it's a family here. He's showing it every single day," Well said. "Who wouldn't want a head coach like that? He's just an all-around good dude."

Even when he's making them hike up the stairs at Williams-Brice stadium.

Beamer did a workout back in June that took him to the highest reaches of seats where he gained a new appreciation for the fans that fill them every Saturday.

He wanted to make sure his players had the same epiphany.

"I just remember thinking, man, this is a long way up here. People actually do this on game days. This was back during the summer and I knew then this was something we need to do with our football team to see how hard it is to get up here," Beamer said.

South Carolina coach Shane Beamer
South Carolina coach Shane Beamer shouts to players during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Clemson on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Columbia, S.C.

"You just see people in the stands. You don't see what it takes for them to get there and the money they pay to watch you play," Wells said.

Wells likely won't be the only Virginia player to choose to play for Beamer in the near future.

Look what he's done after just 12 months and then think about where this program might be another 12 months from now.

"So many things now that we all have a better understanding of each other. I understand and know the players better. We have a lot of new faces but I know the team better," Beamer said.