ATHENS — New South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer has a pretty good idea how he wants to establish his program, and some of those concepts come via Georgia coach Kirby Smart.

Beamer is one of three current Power 5 head coaches who were on Smart’s first staff and helped lead the program to the 2017 College Football Championship Game. Sam Pittman is the Arkansas head coach, and Mel Tucker is the head coach at Michigan State.

“I’m still thankful to Kirby for giving me that opportunity to come there and coach in 2016 after my dad retired,” Beamer told DawgNation during an exclusive interview for the Ingles On The Beat Show on Monday.

“I didn’t really know a lot of those guys on the staff, but I knew of them,” Beamer, 43, said. “I knew Kirby, and Scott Sinclair and I worked together at Georgia Tech in 2000, but beyond that, it was just names of people I recognized.

“Tracy Rocker, knew of him, Mel Tucker, knew all about him from his NFL days, Sam Pittman was a nationally recognized offensive line coach, Jim Chaney knew going back to his Purdue Days, James Coley had been in the ACC at Miami. So, they were people I knew of but didn’t really know.

“You knew as Kirby put them together, it was a great staff.”

Beamer, who played at Virginia Tech for his father, College Football Hall of Famer Frank Beamer, obviously has some inherent coaching philosophies.

But being a part of a staff being put together from the onset was particularly important.

“Just being able to go in from Day One and see how things were implemented,” Beamer said. “Everybody talks about how they have worked for Nick Saban and understand his process and how they do things. Well, maybe.

“But I got to see that implemented from Day One. And Kirby explained here’s why we do this, not just someone gets hired by Nick Saban and here’s what we do. So that was great to see that, and it made me a better coach.”

Beamer coached special teams and tight ends for Georgia in 2016 and 2017 before taking a job at Oklahoma as assistant head coach and tight ends coach under Lincoln Riley.

The job with the Sooners got him closer to a head coaching position, likely because of his involvement in Oklahoma’s cutting edge offense and his elevation in title.

But Beamer also credits Smart for helping to prepare him for the big opportunity he faces with the Gamecocks.

“Kirby is someone I’ve known for a long time, and I consider a friend but he forces you to get out of your comfort zone, he won’t let anyone complacent,” Beamer said. “He makes you think of new ways of doing things.

“He challenges you, he’s demanding, and it made me a better coach during my time with him, there’s no doubt.”

Beamer revealed having a chance to coach with the Bulldogs was always one of his goals.

“My parents have a house over on Lake Oconee right down the road from Athens, so we were always, since 1989, spent at least two weeks of summer in that area,” Beamer said. “So I was very familiar with Athens and Georgia. It was a place I always wanted to coach.

“I’m still thankful to Kirby for giving me that opportunity to come there and coach in 2016 after my dad retired.”

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