With less than a week before the end of the 2015 college football season, Kirby Smart is taking his time on filling out his coaching staff at Georgia. I mean the guy is still trying to win another national championship at Alabama. But while getting prepared for Clemson, coaching up his defense and handling the media while still trying to explain that Nick Saban dance, Smart had time to find his tight ends and special teams coordinator in Shane Beamer.
The move to hire a special teams coach is one that I’m sure all of Bulldog nation will be thrilled about as it became somewhat of a hot topic in recent years as former head coach Mark Richt chose to split the responsibilities of the special teams coordinator between his assistants throughout his 15-year career at Georgia. The move to hire one guy to coach the special teams is one that I believe will please Bulldog fans. And in my opinion, this is the best hire Smart has made since taking over at Georgia.
The hiring of Beamer signals more than just a hiring of a coach. Beamer, 38, also will bring a youthful energy to Athens. Beamer, the son of legendary Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, has spent the past five seasons in Blacksburg as the Hokies’ running backs coach and assistant head coach to his father.
But Shane Beamer is no stranger to the SEC. He spent three seasons in Knoxville as a graduate assistant under Phillip Fulmer before going to Mississippi State in 2004 to serve as a cornerbacks coach under Sylvester Croom. Beamer was then hired away in 2007 by Steve Spurrier to coach among other things, cornerbacks, linebackers and special teams at South Carolina. Beamer also served as a recruiting coordinator for both programs and is widely considered a top-30 recruiter.
Beamer also will coach tight ends at Georgia, a position that was previously held by John Lilly. With Bryan McClendon leaving to join Will Muschamp in South Carolina, it was vital that Smart bring in another top recruiter. Beamer knows the south and was very successful in this role at his previous SEC stops. The University of Georgia provides one of the best backyards for recruiting in the nation. I have no doubt that Beamer will continue his success as a recruiter in Athens. Georgia has averaged a top-10 recruiting class in the last 10 years and I don't expect a drop off with great recruiters like Smart, Sam Pittman and now Beamer.
But Beamer's role as special teams coordinator is where he will be able to shine. Beamer is no stranger to special teams, as he was a walk-on wide receiver turned long snapper at Virginia Tech. Beamer was the long snapper during the 1999 season in which the Hokies played for a national championship. He has also had the great fortune of learning everything he could about special teams from the best in the business, his father. The nickname “Beamer Ball” was due in large part to the Hokies’ awesome special teams play, which the elder Beamer oversaw during his tenure in Blacksburg.
With all of that being said, none of this means Beamer will succeed as a tight ends coach or special teams coordinator. What it does mean is that Smart realizes how important it is to give that role to one coach instead of using multiple coaches for the position. Richt came under some heat at Georgia multiple times for his decision to not assign or hire just one special teams coordinator.
For now, it seems as though Smart does not intend to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps when it comes to that decision.
— Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)