Shane Beamer cleared out his office in Columbia on Tuesday and is headed this week to a place he never was sure he would return to.
On Friday, Beamer will join his father Frank’s coaching staff at Virginia Tech. The news was announced Monday afternoon, but Shane Beamer, South Carolina’s recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator, said the timing had little to do with the signing of Jadeveon Clowney early Monday morning.
“It was something I knew might be a possibility toward the end of last week, but it wasn’t a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. Columbia “is a special town, a special university, special people. It wasn’t an easy decision. It’s extremely hard to leave here.”
However, Beamer didn’t know if he would get another chance to coach for his father if he let this chance go by. A spot on the Hokies’ staff opened last week when longtime assistant Billy Hite moved into an administrative role. It was the first time in five years Virginia Tech had an opening on its staff. Before that, it had been 15 years since a spot was open.
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“Nobody ever leaves his staff at Virginia Tech,” Beamer said. “I didn’t know if there would be another opening, and I didn’t want to look back 20 years from now and say, ‘I wish I had coached with him when I had the opportunity.’ ”
Frank Beamer called his son last week to tell him Hite was considering the move.
“My response to him was, No. 1, I want to make sure Billy Hite was 100 percent on board with it,” Beamer said. “It’s tough coaching for your dad, and I wasn’t about to walk into a situation where the perception was my dad nudged somebody aside to create a position for me. I told dad, ‘I want to talk to Billy to make sure he’s on board.’ I told him, ‘If he’s not, I’m not coming.’ ”
Hite and Beamer spoke Sunday before Beamer called his dad to accept the job, he said. Beamer then told Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier “was great about it,” Beamer said. “He said that’ll be great for my dad and I. I’ve been here since 2007, and (Spurrier) has always made it known to me how special it is if you can have family on your staff.”
Spurrier’s son Steve Jr. is South Carolina’s wide receivers coach, and another son, Scott Spurrier, is a graduate assistant with the team.
Beamer played for his father until 1999 and started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech and Tennessee before taking full-time jobs at Mississippi State and South Carolina.
“I knew that I needed to get out on my own,” he said. “It was important to me to go out and become Shane Beamer as a coach and not just be Frank Beamer’s son. That was important to me. I wanted to get out and develop my own contacts and build my own reputation. I feel like in 11 years, hopefully I’ve done a good job of that.”
Beamer has coached defense most of his career, but he will be the Hokies’ running backs coach. Beamer coached linebackers and defensive backs during his tenure in Columbia but was made the full-time special teams coordinator this year.
“I consider myself a defensive coach,” he said. “I’m at the point right now where I feel like I could be a defensive coordinator.”
In fact, Beamer interviewed to be Mississippi State’s co-defensive coordinator in January, but the Bulldogs promoted Chris Wilson.
Beamer and his wife, Emily, have two young daughters, and his mother, Cheryl, might be the happiest Beamer in the transaction, Beamer said.
“Every time I talked to dad on the phone, I always heard mom sitting next to him whispering in his ear things to tell me,” he said. “She tried to be neutral. (Frank Beamer) was very business-like. He was more like the head coach than a dad. My mom was ecstatic.”