JMU Head Coaching Search: Shane Beamer

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On September 11, 2010, Mickey Mathews helped JMU achieve their biggest win in school history. JMU traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia and defeated #13 Virginia Tech 21-16. Virginia Tech was heavily favored and JMU’s upset was only the second time an FCS school defeated a ranked FBS program. The numbers 21-16 are thrown around all the time by JMU students and whenever anything goes wrong for the football team students will typically say, “well at least we beat Tech”. The win was made even more impressive as Virginia Tech went on to play in the Orange Bowl in 2010 and JMU finished the season at 6-5, (5-5 against FCS competition).

Shane beamer: virginia tech running backs coach

Shane Beamer is currently the Running Backs coach at Virginia Tech. He was born Shane_Beamer(1)on March 31, 1977 in Charleston, South Carolina. Beamer is the son to long time Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer. Shane Beamer walked on and played for the Hokies from 1995-1999 and served as the team’s starting long snapper for three seasons and spent some time at wide receiver. While playing at Virginia Tech, Beamer played on four bowl teams and for three Big East championship teams.

Before earning his first full time position with Mississippi State, Beamer spent time at Georgia Tech and the University of Tennessee as a graduate assistant. As a graduate assistant, Beamer coached quarterbacks and wide receivers (Georgia Tech) and cornerbacks and special teams (Tennessee).

In 2004, Beamer was hired by Mississippi State to join Ellis Johnson’s defense. He spent 2004-2005 as the cornerbacks coach were he lead three defenses backs to Freshman All-SEC honors. In 2006, Beamer made the move to the offensive side of the ball and became the running backs coach as well as the recruiting coordinator. He would bring in a class that included NFL running back Anthony Dixon.

Beamer was hired by Steve Spurrier at the University of South Carolina, in 2007, to coach the outside linebackers and special teams. While at South Carolina, Beamer would continue to gain more responsibility. In 2008, he was put in charge of the cornerbacks and in 2009 became the coach of the spurs, strong safeties and became the recruiting coordinator. The Gamecocks defense finished second in the nation in pass defense and thirteenth in total defense in 2008. In 2009, Beamer’s special teams blocked five kicks, tying them for the SEC lead and ranked them eighth in the nation. In the same year, South Carolina’s defense finished third in the SEC in total defense and fifteenth in the nation.

While at South Carolina Beamer was a very effective recruiting coordinator. The 2009 class was ranked twelfth nationally and included Stephon Gillmore and Alshon Jeffrey. The 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes would both be ranked in the Top 25 and would include Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw. In 2009, Beamer was nominated for the Frank Broyles Award, which goes to the top assistant coach in the country.

In 2011, Beamer returned to his Alma mater to coach under his father at Virginia Tech. He was named the associate head coach as well as the running backs coach. In his first season, he coached David Wilson, who would break the school’s single season rushing record, become an AP All-American, be named the ACC’s Player of the year, and be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Beamer is now in his third season with Virginia Tech. In 2013, Virginia Tech finished the regular season with an 8-4 record finishing second in Coastal Division behind Duke University. Virginia Tech is currently projected to play in the Sun Bowl against UCLA on December 31, 2013.


Shane Beamer appears to have interest in the JMU Head Coaching vacancy.

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Shane Beamer should have great interest in JMU. First off he would be able to make the jump to the head coaching ranks without ever becoming a coordinator. Most coaches make their way up the coaching ranks going from position coaches to coordinators and then becoming a head coach. Beamer would be able to bypass the middle and immediately become a head coach. Secondly, Beamer would be able to stay in the state of Virginia. He has made ties here and would be able to continue the relationships he has built. Lastly, JMU offers an opportunity for Beamer to try and build his own legacy. He has always had to live in his father’s shadow. Being the head coach of JMU and possibly being the coach to bring JMU to the FBS would be a great start for Shane Beamer to make his own name.

JMU appears to be very high on Beamer.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.03.24 PMA big qualification for JMU is the ability to recruit. Over his short career this has been a strong point for Beamer. While at South Carolina, Beamer brought in three top 25 classes. Beamer also have familiarity with the area having coached at Virginia Tech for the past three seasons. He could continue the relationships he has built to bring in the best players that Virginia has to offer.

The JMU fan base and media has not expressed the same interest that the school has shown in Beamer. His lack of experience and ties to Virginia Tech, have fans speaking out asking the university to stay away.

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I do not share the same feelings that some of the other JMU fans have of not connecting ourselves with Virginia Tech. My feelings are if he is the right coach it doesn’t matter his background. With that being said I don’t know if Shane Beamer is the right coach for JMU at this current time. Beamer has never served as a coordinator at any level. This inexperience worries me. JMU is going to need a strong leader to usher in this next era of JMU football. Another question I have about Beamer is where he would be if he had a different last name. There is no question that Shane Beamer’s coaching career has been assisted by his father’s name. However, there are possible benefits to having the Beamer name at JMU. Like I mentioned Beamer has been a strong recruiter and having a name that high school prospects will recognize could help JMU recruit.

JMU’s next coach should not have as many question marks that Shane Beamer has. I wouldn’t be upset if JMU decided to go with Beamer and I think they could do a lot worse but, I don’t think the experience is quite there for him to make he jump.

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