OU football: South Carolina candidate Shane Beamer could be the first branch of Lincoln Riley coaching tree
NORMAN — When Shane Beamer left Georgia to become an assistant at OU nearly three years ago, he made the move with his career trajectory in mind.
“It was the chance to get connected with Lincoln (Riley) and that offense, just from a career standpoint with the doors it may open down the road for me,” Beamer told The Macon (Georgia) Telegraph not long after taking the job.
“To be able to see that offense and what it’s doing from the outside, to have a chance to get up and close and personal with it was exciting for me.”
Now, the Sooners’ assistant head coach for offense, who also coaches the tight ends and H-backs, might be the first Riley protégé to become a head coach, starting a coaching tree that figures to grow.
The 43-year-old Beamer interviewed for the South Carolina job over the weekend with the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier reporting the interview went well, though there has yet to be a formal offer.
Losing assistant coaches to head coaching jobs used to be a regularity for the Sooners, beginning when Mike Leach was hired by Texas Tech after the 1999 season.
Bob Stoops said he had to convince his players Leach’s departure was a good thing.
“We did so well they want to hire one of our guys,” Stoops said. “Get used to that.”
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Stoops lost five offensive coordinators to head coaching jobs in his first 13 years as head coach. In addition, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops left for Arizona late in the 2003 season.
The Sooners also lost Mark Mangino (Kansas), Chuck Long (San Diego State), Kevin Sumlin (Houston) and Kevin Wilson (Indiana) to head coaching jobs during Stoops’ tenure.
Jay Norvell and Josh Heupel wound up getting head coaching jobs within a few years after they were let go from Stoops’ staff.
Riley has yet to lose an assistant to a head coaching job, but said after last season — as defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s name emerged as a potential candidate at Washington State — that it was inevitable.
“That just goes with the territory,” Riley said. “The good thing here at Oklahoma is the support we’ve had from administration and the president — everybody — being able to take care of these guys and put them in a situation where if they leave, it’s only for a no-brainer. That’s what you hope.”
South Carolina would figure to be a “no-brainer” type of job for Beamer.
Though the Gamecocks have struggled, especially since late in Steve Spurrier’s tenure that ended in 2015, the program still holds plenty of pull, especially for Beamer.
He was born in the state, when his dad — legendary Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer — was the defensive coordinator at The Citadel.
Shane Beamer was an assistant for the Gamecocks from 2007-10, playing a major part in recruiting the talent that became the most successful period in program history. South Carolina went 42-11 from 2010-13.
Several of the players Beamer helped recruit from that era have endorsed him as head coach, including former Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive end Melvin Ingram.
Beamer continued to be an effective recruiter at Virginia Tech, Georgia and now with the Sooners. He played a big role in helping the Sooners secure a commitment from 2021 five-star quarterback Caleb Williams.
“He’s got all the characteristics,” Riley said back in 2018 when asked about the possibility of Beamer getting a head coaching job at some point. “I can’t think of a reason in the world why he wouldn’t. I was impressed with the way he recruited. I was impressed with the way his players played. I loved his background, that he had coached so many different positions.”
Ryan Aber covers OU athletics, especially football. You can send your story ideas to him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ryaber. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.