COLUMBIA, S.C. -- There is a good reason why the name Beamer is synonymous with Virginia Tech football.
Over his three-decade career in Blacksburg, Frank Beamer put the Hokies on the college football map.
Now Frank's son Shane, who was born in South Carolina, has returned to his home state in an effort to return the Gamecocks to that same national level.
Throughout the seven previous stops in his coaching career, Shane Beamer did a lot of recruiting. But he was always the first contact in the process.
Now as the head coach at South Carolina, he's trying to close the deal.
"It's fun. I'm a competitor and certainly, you want to get everybody that you recruit," Beamer said. "It's awesome just being able to go into living rooms or have prospects come into this office and being able to be me and talk to them about our plan for Carolina football."
That plan is to return the Gamecocks to the top of the Southeastern Conference. It would be no small feat considering the competition.
In his last stop in Columbia, under head coach Steve Spurrier, South Carolina won a division title and beat Georgia, Clemson, and Alabama all in the same season.
He knows from experience, it can be done.
"It's not something that way back in 1960-something South Carolina did, we did it not that long ago," he said.
So Beamer is back, replacing Will Muschamp.
He was contacted the day after Muschamp was fired and had a 90-minute phone conversation with athletic director Ray Tanner. He prepared 10 pages of notes for the call, things he wanted to make sure he said. But he never looked at his notes.
"I said it was a dream job and it really was," Beamer recalled. "It wasn't just what I was trying to say in the interview to get the job. I really truly wanted to be here and our family has wanted to be here for a long time and just making sure they understood that by the time I got off the phone."
The knock on Beamer is that he's never been a head coach, at any stop, at any level. He admits nothing ever fully prepares anyone to be a head coach, but also believes what he has done has prepared him for the challenge.
"I've coached offense and defense. I've got experience on both sides of the ball. I've been a special teams coordinator. The special teams coordinator is the only coach on the staff, other than the head coach, that has to stand in front of the room and talk to the entire team," he said. "When I got hired and I had my very first team meeting as the head football coach at South Carolina, I had done that before."
Beamer was an associate head coach under his father in Blacksburg and had designs on replacing him. But Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock made it clear to both Shane and Bud Foster that the program was going in a different direction when Frank retired.
"He met with us both individually. He came in and sat down and told me you're not going to be a candidate to be the head coach here. He told Bud the same thing," Beamer said. "I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a disappointment to hear that, but I do appreciate Whit having that conversation. It certainly has worked out great for me since then."
South Carolina built a $50 million football facility next to its state-of-the-art indoor practice center. The investment was designed to help Beamer keep up with the Alabamas and Georgias of the world. But he has something they do not have, a Hall of Fame advisor who is always one call away.
"I had that living, breathing example for 44 years of watching [Frank Beamer] as a football coach, and learning from him and seeing how he did things," Shane Beamer said. "My problem is, I've got three kids. My sister lives in Charlotte, she has three kids. He's more interested in being granddad right now than he is a football coach. I'm like, man, I need your help! You can be granddad in the summertime, I need you to help me!"
As the son of a coach, Beamer understands the spotlight is not always so friendly.
His children have witnessed four straight conference championships watching their dad at Georgia and then Oklahoma. They know what it's like during the good times, Beamer has tried to prepare them for what could happen on those Mondays after a loss.
"They're very blessed that they get to experience a lot of things because of my job but there are also some challenges that come with that as well," he said. "I got my driver's license when I turned 16 in Blacksburg. I go to the DMV in Christiansburg. The guy hands me my driver's license and how excited I am. It's the day I've looked forward to. I grabbed it, and he held onto it, this was right after Virginia Tech had gone 2-8-1. He looked right at me and said if you want to keep this thing, you better tell your dad he better win some football games around here. It crushed me."
But coaches don't focus on how things might go wrong. They are only concerned with how they will succeed.
In Beamer's case, it's borrowing a page or two from his father's playbook and not just creating BeamerBall 2.0.
"To me, you win with people. We've got some great people in this building that are eager to be successful," he said. "That excites and motivates me each day to be doing it with these guys as well."
Shane Beamer does not just get advice from his dad. Beamer's 8-year-old son Hunter had the most practical advice for his pop -- "just don't get fired this year."
South Carolina opens its season on September 4 against Eastern Illinois.
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