COLUMBIA, S.C. — When South Carolina was looking for a head coach in 2015 to fill its vacancy, Kirby Smart was very close to accepting the offer from athletics director Ray Tanner.
But when Mark Richt was let go in Athens, that set the stage for the longtime Alabama assistant to return to his alma mater as head coach.
South Carolina would eventually hire Will Muschamp and after his tenure ended, the Gamecocks hired a former Spurrier assistant to run the Carolina program.
But part of Shane Beamer's path to being a head coach included a two-year stop in Athens as part of Kirby Smart's staff.
Beamer was a part of Smart's first staff at Georgia, coaching tight ends and serving as special teams coordinator. After two years in Athens, Beamer departed for Oklahoma before returning to the SEC as South Carolina's head coach where he has used some of Smart's coaching philosophy in the way he runs his program now.
“Kirby Smart made me a better football coach," Beamer said.
"That was a really, really beneficial two years to be with him. It was a great opportunity for me to one coach at a place like Georgia and live in a city like Athens. But to come in and see the whole Nick Saban, Alabama, the process and all that, seeing it implemented from Day 1.
"Just seeing recruiting-wise, and continuing to build that program to where now in year two, we won the Rose Bowl and played for the national championship. Seeing how he handled coaches. Seeing how he handles the day-to-day stuff. The recruiting part of it, practice," he added. "There are a lot of things that we do here that are directly from things that I took from my time at Georgia. There are things that we don’t do. We do a lot of things differently as well. When you talk about all of the places that I've been and coaches that I have taken things from as far as this organization and how we try to structure stuff, a lot of it came from my time with Kirby. Certainly, really appreciative of that opportunity that he gave me and everything that I learned from him.”