Skip to main content
Publish date:

All the trouble Shane Beamer has had keeping his South Carolina staff together

It's not that he pursued coaches he didn't end up getting. That happens to everyone, especially first-time head coaches without a staff of their own to pick and choose from.

And it's not that he hasn't found coaches willing to accept his job offers.

But, man, has Shane Beamer had a hard time keeping his initial South Carolina staff together.

Beamer was the first Power 5 head coach hired in the 2020-21 cycle, back on Dec. 6. And since then, five assistant coaches or key off-the-field personnel have accepted Beamer's offer to work for him at South Carolina, then left.

It began when Beamer retained Mike Bobo as his offensive coordinator. Bobo then brought Will Friend with him from Tennessee (Friend was Bobo's right-hand man at Georgia and Colorado State).

South Carolina formally announced Bobo and Friend as members of Beamer's initial staff on Dec. 27... and then Auburn announced Bobo as its offensive coordinator and Friend as its offensive line coach on Jan. 7.

New Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin wasn't done raiding Beamer's staff, either. A week later, Auburn named Tracy Rocker its defensive line coach, two and a half weeks after he was hired to the same post at South Carolina. This one, at least, was understandable on personal grounds; Rocker is one of the best Auburn defensive lineman ever. "I have great memories as a player and coach at Auburn and can't wait to create more in the future," he said.

Beamer and company pressed on, and by Jan. 22 South Carolina announced its full staff. "Gang's all here," the Gamecocks said.

That staff, as assembled, lasted all of four days.

Running backs coach Des Kitchings left today for the Atlanta Falcons. He's the fourth assistant coach to accept a job offer from Beamer before accepting a different job from someone else.

Not listed in the above tweet but equally important to Beamer's success at South Carolina, player personnel director Drew Hughes originally agreed to remain in Columbia before leaving for Texas earlier this month.

Again, none of these moves are abnormal in a vacuum. Each year dozens of coaches accept new jobs, stay for a short while and then leave for a different job. It's part of the business.

It doesn't mean Beamer can't or won't be successful at South Carolina, though it obviously makes that task more difficult. Replacing staff members is a near-constant process for head coaches, and on some level it's a problem if other coaches aren't coming after your people.

But five key staff members joining, then leaving the same staff seems nearly, if not completely, unprecedented.

Beamer arrived in South Carolina as prepared as a 43-year-old first-time head coach could be, but his first two months in the big chair have to have felt like drinking out of a fire hose.