ATHENS ― Georgia edged out Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, and now the Sooners are hiring away one of the Bulldogs’ assistant coaches.
Shane Beamer is leaving UGA for Oklahoma, someone familiar with the program said, confirming a report originally from ESPN. There was no immediate confirmation from UGA, and Beamer could not be immediately reached for comment.
Beamer was Georgia’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach the past two seasons, coming from Virginia Tech. After a rough first season for Georgia’s special teams, Beamer’s units saw noticeable improvements in 2017.
ESPN said Beamer would become involved in helping Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley in offensive game-planing.
The timing is a little less than beneficial for Georgia coach Kirby Smart, at least when it comes to filling the special teams coordinator opening. Scott Fountain, who spent the 2017 season in an advisory role on special teams, already has left to become the special teams coordinator at Mississippi State. (Of course, if Smart really wants to bring Fountain back, that wouldn’t preclude him from offering him more money.)
As for the tight ends coaching title, there is another potential candidate on staff: Jay Johnson, the former Minnesota offensive coordinator who spent 2017 in an advisory role on Georgia’s staff. While Johnson’s background is as a quarterbacks coach, he could move over to coaching tight ends, if Smart wants to go that way.
John Lilly, who was Georgia’s tight ends coach under Mark Richt, also could be an option. He’s currently a coaching free agent, after spending 2016 with the Los Angeles Rams.
Another possibility is D.J. Looney, a Georgia graduate assistant in 2016 who worked with the offensive line. Looney was the tight ends coach at Mississippi State last season, then after a coaching change there, he left for Louisiana-Lafayette to become assistant offensive line coach.
Beamer’s departure makes two openings on Georgia’s staff. The team has yet to fill the 10th assistant coaching spot that the NCAA began allowing earlier this month.
Smart hired an linebackers coach, Dan Lanning from Memphis, to replace Kevin Sherrer, who left to become the defensive coordinator at Tennessee.
Beamer was earning $300,000 annually at Georgia. His father, Frank Beamer, the longtime coach at Virginia Tech, was elected to the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame class.