#Gamecocks coaching search spit-blog November 29th (UPDATED Sunday PM)

Shane Beamer from his time at USC in 2007 (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

The University of South Carolina officially commenced the search for its 35th head football coach Sunday night with the announcement that Will Muschamp had been relieved of his duties after 58 games. So, let the spit-balling begin. There’s nothing more common to a coaching search than the media and fans spewing out the names of would-be candidates. Some stick. Most don’t. As a service to you, we have created the spit-blog, a blog for spitballing the names associated with the search, along with the rumors, and facts, that are attached to them. We will keep the blog posted at the top of the website and update it with our information. And we invite your comments.

(November 29th UPDATED)

Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer is the solid leader for the job at this point after the first week of interviews. A source told us Sunday afternoon it’s his job to lose at this point. Beamer is prepared to take the job as soon as it is officially offered.

According to our information, Ray Tanner and Beamer met for several hours and Beamer “checked all the boxes.” Beamer also is getting support from some former Gamecocks who came thru the program when he was an assistant, and those players expressed their feelings to Tanner recently in a conference call.

Tanner conducted multiple interviews during the week, perhaps as many as a half-dozen. We’ve confirmed from our sources in-person interviews with Beamer, Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell and Houston Texans outside linebackers coach Chris Rump, who is a former standout defensive end with the Gamecocks.

There are more interviews planned for this week. We’re told Tanner plans to meet with Louisiana coach Billy Napier, Florida offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and Louisville coach Scott Satterfield, though on November 24th Satterfield stated he has “not pursued or sought out any offers.”

Our information is that Tanner would like to finalize his decision this weekend and then get the approval of the university president and chairman of the board on the hire. University president Bob Caslen, who is dealing with Covid, has not been traveling for the interviews but has been participating virtually.

(November 29th)

A heavy fog moved in over Williams-Brice Stadium and the USC campus late Saturday night in conjunction with the blowout loss to Georgia, the Gamecocks’ fifth straight loss. But information provided to us early Sunday morning leads us to believe the fog may be lifting on the now two-week search for a new football coach.

Based on what a source told us, it appears the wheels are in motion for Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer to be the Gamecocks’ next head coach. The source was more effusive than that….”It’s done!” he told us. We’re being a little more cautious simply because of the nature of coaching searches and how they can turn on a dime. But our information included contract details…4 years at $3.0 million per season.

The source said the situation is at the point an announcement could come soon, possibly within a few days. We are assuming the university board and president are in line with this, but we have no confirmation of that. In fact, we were told Saturday university president Bob Caslen preferred a sitting Power 5 coach, someone with more name recognition and star power.

One other piece of information we picked up Saturday was that when Tanner was in Pawleys Island earlier this week to interview Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell, he also interviewed a second candidate we have not been able to identify. Also, we were told Tanner was originally planning to interview Beamer in West Virginia Friday because Oklahoma was supposed to play the Mountaineers this weekend. But that game was cancelled, and our belief is Tanner and Beamer met elsewhere, possibly Oklahoma City.

One more note, a USC official did confirm for us recently that when time comes to announce the new coach, there will not be a formal, in-person press conference in Columbia due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Instead, the press conference will be conducted via Zoom.

(November 28th)

We’ve reached the super-sensitive stage of the search. It’s the nitty-gritty time when Ray Tanner is conducting in person interviews, and most candidates certainly don’t want that kind of information to leak out, especially if he’s a sitting head coach. News that you interviewed for a job in season while holding another does not sit well with the current fanbase.

Friday morning we did get information that Tanner was flying out of Columbia to interview two candidates. Destination to us, unknown. One thing we knew from the beginning of the process was that Tanner did not plan to fly using a university plane that could be tracked by all. He had an alternative plan. Checking the two Columbia airports Friday morning, the only departure that caught our eye was one from Columbia Metro. That was a private charter plane headed to Oklahoma City, which of course is only 20 miles away from the University of Oklahoma and assistant head coach Shane Beamer. Coincidence? Possibly. Bingo on our investigation? Perhaps. We just can’t say for sure as of early Saturday morning. And if that was the Tanner plane, where he went from Oklahoma City and how he traveled also is an unknown. That charter from Columbia left Oklahoma City after only a couple of hours on the ground and flew to Opa-Locka Executive Airport outside of Miami. We don’t believe that flight is part of the search.

It’s not likely Tanner saw Louisiana coach Billy Napier on this trip. First, he interviewed Napier virtually earlier in the week. Second, Napier has been dealing with Covid-19 for over a week. And thirdly, Napier has a game Saturday at UL-Monroe and said earlier in the week he plans to coach in it. So, can’t see an in-person interview fitting into that scenario.

Some media outlets, not this one, have played up the name of West Virginia coach Neal Brown as a candidate. He, like Beamer, has this weekend off because West Virginia and Oklahoma were supposed to play but the game was postponed. Brown is in just his second season in Morgantown and appears committed to building that program. I found this interesting take on the Brown rumors from Clark Johnson who writes for VoiceofMotown.com, which covers West Virginia:

Though South Carolina is in the SEC, it is not an attractive job. Outside of a good run under Steve Spurrier, the program has for the most part been very average to mediocre. To go along with that, the Gamecocks compete in the SEC East, which is loaded with teams like Florida, Georgia, and has up-and-comers in Tennessee and Kentucky.Not only would Brown leaving for South Carolina be a lateral move, but he would be setting himself up for failure. Coach Brown has already started “The Climb” with the Mountaineers, and leaving to rebuild a program like South Carolina would be a massive step back in his coaching career.

I’m sure Neal Brown likes his chances against the Iowa States and the Oklahoma States of the Big 12 more than he does against powerhouses like Florida and Georgia. Even mentioning him as a candidate for South Carolina does not make sense, and is honestly ridiculous.Quit worrying about Brown leaving, because he isn’t. The rebuild in Morgantown has only begun, and Neal Brown will be a part of it for the foreseeable future – and he sure as hell wouldn’t throw it away for a mediocre job in Columbia, South Carolina.

One more thing that may or may not be important. The Raiders are playing in Atlanta Sunday, so assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will be in the neighborhood as early as Saturday. He has been angling for an interview, and this is as close to Columbia as he will be during the search. It wouldn’t be hard for Tanner to hop-scotch over to Atlanta during his travels if he wants to see Bisaccia, which we’re not sure he does.

We’ll see what, if anything, Saturday brings, and if Tanner is back in Columbia for Saturday night’s last home football game against Georgia.

(November 27th)

Thanksgiving, we believe, brought a brief respite to the interviews being conducted by Ray Tanner. That’s not to say he wasn’t on the phone talking to candidates and/or agents. The interviews are expected to resume as soon as Friday or Saturday. Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer, who has the weekend off after the Sooners game with West Virginia was called off, is expected to have his session with Tanner in the next two days. Beamer is expected to present Tanner with his gameplan for long term success at USC. It’s a job he has coveted since his days on Steve Spurrier’s staff and as he has climbed the ladder of his coaching career.

Ironically, West Virginia head coach Neil Brown, whose name has been linked to the USC job, also has the weekend off due to the postponement with Oklahoma. If Tanner is interested in Brown, it stands to reason he’ll try to talk to him this weekend as well. Brown is in his second season at West Virginia and stands 10-10 there thru his first 20 games. He came to Morgantown from Troy where he was 35-16 in four seasons. Brown began his college playing career at Kentucky when Hal Mumme was the head coach and MIke Leach was an assistant, so he has that offensive philosophy in his background. This season the Mountaineers are averaging just under 30 points and 443 yards per game. Brown has an annual salary just north of three million dollars.

Tanner has already interviewed Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell in Pawley’s Island and Louisiana coach Billy Napier virtually since Napier is isolating due to Covid. It’s possible he will talk to Army coach Jeff Monken, who was hired at West Point by current USC president Bob Caslen and Liberty coach Hugh Freeze who is a favorite of some board members. And Las Vegas Raiders assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia, a former USC assistant, has several people close to the program in his corner and pushing for an interview opportunity.

Other names have been spitballed as possible candidates but at this point none of them seem to have much validity as major players in the search. And of course, Tanner may have talked to candidates, or plans to talk to candidates, whose names have not yet surfaced publically.

Tanner is working on a timeline to have his new coach in place within about a week of the early signing date which is December 16th.

(November 25th) (UPDATED)

According to a source, Louisiana coach Billy Napier interviewed with USC AD Ray Tanner earlier this week via Zoom. Napier is dealing with Covid-19 issues this week, such as quarantining, thus an in person interview was not possible. Napier and Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell are the two confirmed interviews at this point in the process. A source said Tanner and Chadwell met earlier this week at a restaurant in Pawley’s Island. Despite his impressive credentials as a head coach, a source said Caldwell’s lack of any experience on the FBS level, until Coastal recently moved up from FCS, could be an issue that will keep him lower down the ladder as the search moves on.

Looks like the spitball for Louisville coach Scott Satterfield can be scraped off the wall and tossed into the garbage. Apparently responding to a report by Josh Kendall in The Athletic Tuesday night that he would be interviewed by the Gamecocks after Thanksgiving, Satterfield issued a statement that seems to indicate he is staying put with the Cardinals. Satterfield put his message out on his Twitter:

Kendall also reported the Gamecocks had interviewed Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell. Kendall did not cite a specific date for the interview. Reached by text for confirmation Tuesday night, Chadwell replied as if he were being asked if he interviewed on Tuesday. “Lol I have been at practice and we are watching video right now. Not true. I was here all day.” Asked if he had interviewed any other day over the last week with the Gamecocks, Chadwell did not respond. Coastal AD Matt Hogue said he had not been contacted by USC regarding permission to talk with his coach, but that practice is rarely, if ever, followed these days.

Kendall also reported Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer will interview after Thanksgiving, something that has been expected since the beginning of the search. We would also expect Louisiana coach Billy Napier to have an in person interview once he’s recovered from his bout with Covid. Army coach Jeff Monken, who was hired by Caslen at West Point, and Liberty coach Hugh Freeze are two others who could be in line for interviews.

A source tells us Las Vegas Raiders assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia has had conversations with people around the program about the job, but not with the decision makers at this point. The source said Bisaccia craves the USC job and feels like he would strong impress Ray Tanner and Bob Caslen if he could get his plan in front of them.

(November 23rd)

A name we spit-blogged early in the process was that of former USC assistant coach and current Las Vegas Raiders assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia. A source told us Monday to keep an eye on the Bisaccia candidacy this week. Bisaccia has long wanted the job at USC and has inquired about it during previous searches, but without much traction. This time we are told it could be different, and the interviews this week will go a long way in determining that. Bisaccia seems to be one who has caught the attention of USC president Bob Caslen, who is working with AD Ray Tanner and will sign off on the hire. Bisaccia turned 60 last summer. He has been in the NFL since 2002 and has been the assistant head coach for Tampa Bay, San Diego, Dallas and Oakland/Las Vegas. He has specialized in running backs and special teams throughout his career. His time at USC dates back to when he was a graduate assistant for Joe Morrison in 1988. He stayed on with Sparky Woods thru the 1993 season and during his time he coached tight ends, wide receivers, defensive ends and running backs. He coached running backs and coordinated special teams at Clemson from 1994-1998, then spent three seasons at Ole Miss before moving to the NFL. According to a source, Bisaccia would be able to start at USC as soon as they wanted him too if he is offered the job. Bisaccia owns property in the Columbia area. While Tanner has talked to multiple candidates by phone (see the November 22nd spit-blog)), there has not yet been a formal interview conducted with any of the candidates. Those are expected to take place this week.

And who might those interviews involve? Based on information from sources over the last eight days, the list of potential interview targets at this point would include Bisaccia, Shane Beamer, Jeff Monken, Billy Napier, Jamey Chadwell, Scott Satterfield and Hugh Freeze. Some of those names could be scratched and others could be added as the week progresses.

(November 22nd)

We spit out some late Saturday information for you. Ray Tanner has wrapped up his first week of the search and we’re told he was able to talk by phone with some of the top candidates he’s considering. He has not yet had any in person meetings with candidates but those are expected to start next week. According to sources, Tanner has had the chance to talk with Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer, Louisiana head coach Billy Napier, Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Caldwell, Louisville coach Scott Satterfield, Army coach Jeff Monken, and Liberty coach Hugh Freeze. We’re not expecting Monken and Freeze to be major players moving forward. Monken was hired at Army by current USC president Bob Caslen, so it’s reasonable that Tanner would want to satisfy his boss by talking with him. And as we’ve said before about Freeze, some board members want to see him more involved but his past NCAA and off the field issues at Ole Miss remain a non-starter. The other four look like pretty solid candidates at this point. I would imagine the calls this week were get-to-know-you conversations and gave Tanner a chance to get a read on each candidate’s interest. Our sources continue to indicate that Beamer, who is seeking his first head coaching position, is as interested in the Gamecock job as a candidate can be. Having been born in Charleston and having coached for the Gamecocks, Beamer has told people close to him that the USC position is his dream job. From what sources have told us, Beamer remains in strong position for the job, maybe the frontrunner at this point. We’re hearing Napier, who has been mentioned prominently from the start of the search, may not be as strong a candidate as he once was. Earlier this week Vegas listed him as the 3/1 betting favorite. Satterfield, of course, is highly regarded for what he did at Appalachian State and in 2019 at Louisville. His team has struggled this season though it did have a big win over Syracuse Friday night. Caldwell is the wildcard. His team is 8-0 after beating Appalachian State Saturday and likely to climb higher in the polls Sunday. He has been a winner at every stop of his coaching career but his lack of high level FBS coaching experience might work against him. Until Coastal moved up to FBS two years ago, Chadwell had never coached above the FCS level.

(November 21st)

Following up on our information from Thursday night, source information leads us to believe there was conversation Friday between Ray Tanner and Billy Napier. We have not pinned down if that conversation was in person, virtually or over the phone. Napier has an unplanned off weekend with his team sidelined with Covid-19 issues.

We also confirmed Friday through a source Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer has had a couple of conversations with the third party representing USC. It’s likely Beamer and Tanner will have conversations next week. The source said Beamer is highly interested in the USC job, partially because he considers himself a native of the state having been born in Charleston, and partially because of his previous time at USC in the Steve Spurrier staff. The source said Beamer has called the job his “dream job.”

At this point, Napier and Beamer appear to be the first two candidates in line for conversations with Tanner.

According to a source, one concern that has been brought up by at least one candidate is Tanners’ security at USC. Tanner has come under fire and the coach has concerns about being hired by Tanner but then having to work under a different boss at some point.

(November 20th)

One of the first names spitballed once the USC job opened was Louisiana coach Billy Napier. The Furman graduate and former Clemson offensive coordinator is in his third season as head coach of the Rajin Cajuns, and he’s done nothing but win in Lafayette. He has a 25-11 overall record at this point in his career and is 18-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. His team this season is 7-1, ranked 24th and has clinched the West Division title in the Sun Belt for the third straight season. Napier is considered to be one of the bright, young coaches in college football and no doubt Ray Tanner has recognized that. At this stage of the process, it stands to reason Tanner has talked to some candidates, including Napier. A source told us Thursday night that indeed Tanner and Napier have talked. And there’s more. Because of Covid-19 issues, Louisiana’s game this Saturday was postponed leaving Napier with an open weekend. We wrote Thursday about this and thought out loud about this being an opportunity for Tanner and Napier to meet. A source agreed that could happen Friday, going so far as to say it’s likely to happen. Other projected top candidates, like Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, are involved in games this Saturday. Napier has signed two contract extensions at Louisiana and is under contract thru 2025. According to the Daily Advertiser, Napier is to make $880,000 this season with scheduled increases taking his pay to $950,000 for 2024 and 2025. His buyout for this year is $1.25 million dollars.

(November 19th)

Not long after Will Muschamp was fired, one of the first names spitballed as a candidate was Jamey Chadwell of Coastal Carolina. And for good reason. He has won everywhere he has set his boots. He coaches an exciting style of offense, is young and does a great job with the media. And his team this season has been the talk of college football surging all the way to #15 in the country at this point and looking to go undefeated in the Sun Belt. What’s not to like? Chadwell is a regular guest on SportsTalk so his appearance Wednesday night was not unusual. And it gave us the opportunity to ask about the USC job. So, has Chadwell or any of his representatives been contacted by any official representatives of USC? “That would be a no.” Would he expect to be contacted? “I don’t know anybody at South Carolina obviously. I’m sure they’ve got a deep pool that they are looking at. If they do (contact him), great. You know, that’s awesome. Love to talk to them. If they don’t, we’ve got a great job here as well.” Well, that certainly reads like Chadwell would at least take the call from Ray Tanner or the search firm rep he’s hired to vet candidates. And why haven’t they made the call? Certainly the sore feelings of the past between the USC old guard and the leaders of Coastal wouldn’t serve as a deterrent, would they? It would be a shame for USC to miss out on an opportunity to at least interview one of the nation’s hottest young coaches over some decades old political battles.

A source of ours in the world of sports agents told us Wednesday the word he’s getting on the search from people in his business and in coaching circles is that Shane Beamer, Billy Napier and Steve Sarkisian might be the top three candidates at this early point in the process. Take that for what it’s worth, but agents usually do have a pretty good feel for these things. Remember, this spit-blog so we’re throwing things out there to see what sticks.

Sarkisian is the oldest of the three at age 46 and he’s twice been a head coach at major programs, Washington and Southern Cal. He went 46-35 during those stints. As has been well documented, Sarkisian took a leave of absence from his job with the Trojans to deal with alcohol related issues, and he was later fired from his job there. Nick Saban hired him as an analyst at Alabama in 2016, then he spent two seasons as the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator before he was fired there at the end of the 2018 season. Saban rehired him as his offensive coordinator in January of 2019. Sarkisian makes $2.5 million dollars per season and has a three year contract with the Crimson Tide.

With this being Thursday and games coming up this weekend, it stands to reason that Beamer and Sarkisian aren’t going to be thinking about anything but their responsibilities for their current teams. But, Napier has an unexpected weekend off after Covid issues popped up in his program forcing a postponement of his game. Would this provide Tanner and Bob Caslen an opportunity to visit with Napier, at least virtually? Something to think about as the search enters its first weekend.

(November 18)

A note dropped on me Tuesday night related to Shane Beamer. Should he land the job, his close friend is North Carolina co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Jay Bateman. In his first season with the Tar Heels, Bateman help the defense improve 56 positions in the national ranking by allowing 373 yards per game. The unit has not been as good this season allowing 413 yards per game. Before coming to UNC, Bateman spent five seasons at Army when current USC president Bob Casley served as superintendent there.

Last Vegas oddsmakers are paying attention to the Gamecocks’ search for a new coach. Opening odds were issued Tuesday by BetOnline: Billy Napier 3/1; Hugh Freeze 4/1; Shane Beamer 5/1; Jamey Chadwell 6/1; Luke Fickell 7/1; Tony Elliott 15/2; Scott Satterfield 8/1; Bill O’Brien 9/1; Brent Venables 10/1; Steve Sarkisian 10/1; Will Healy 10/1; Joe Brady 12/1; Jeff Monken 12/1; Bill Clark 14/1.

(November 17)

How would you feel about Kansas City Chiefs highly regarded offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy being adding to the search list? You should feel pretty good. He’s one of the 20 or so names being studied by Ray Tanner as he continues his search for a new football coach. Bieniemy has been the offensive coordinator with the Chiefs since 2018 and has been mentioned for several NFL and college jobs. We all know how good the Chiefs are on offense. Bieniemy was third in the Heisman voting as a running back at Colorado in 1990 when he rushed for over 1600 yards.

Former USC assistant Rich Bisaccia, now the assistant head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders and a veteran of four NFL coaching stops, would love to be considered for the job. He calls the USC job his dream job. He is in his 19th NFL season. He also has coached in college at Clemson, Ole Miss and his alma mater of Wayne State.

Louisville coach Scott Satterfield could draw a look as well. He’s 10-11 in his second season with the Cardinals and before that he was 51-24 at Appalachian State. He was to make $3.25 millon this season prior to any Covid-19 reduction.

Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott also remains viable at this point. Elliott, as has been his practice, won’t entertain any overtures from other schools until Clemson completes its season at least thru the ACC Championship Game.

There is at least one member of the USC board, maybe more, who wants Tanner to visit with Liberty coach Hugh Freeze. That is not in the works at this point.

Tanner is using an individual from a search firm to help him make contacts with agents and do background checks on candidates. Contact has been made with the agent for Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer, and agents for other candidates have been contacted as well to gauge interest.

Tanner said at his press conference Monday that school president Bob Caslen would be instrumental in working with him on the search. Caslen played a major role in hiring Jeff Monken at Army. The plan is for Caslen to join Tanner for the in-person interviews with candidates when those are scheduled.

Tanner also pinpointed the December 16th early signing day as an endpoint for the search. It makes sense to figure he’d really like to have his coach on board at least a week earlier to allow for some staff organization and last minute recruiting. I would think around December 9th or 10th, if possible, Tanner would like to have his man.

(November 16)

USC AD Ray Tanner held a Zoom press conference with the media Monday morning. The 30 minute session opened with Tanner expressing his appreciation for Will Muschamp and his belief that Muschamp left behind a culture the new coach can build upon. Muschamp appeared emotional at times, especially when describing his conversation with Muschamp in which he delivered him the bad news. Tanner said he is a one man committee but will be working with USC President Bob Caslen and answering to him. His hope is to have a new head coach on board within the month. Tanner said he would like a young, offensive minded coach who can bring energy, enthusiasm and fun into the program, noting that the fun is in the winning. Tanner Sunday promoted offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo to interim head coach and said the former Colorado State head coach could be one he considers for the job.

Three popular names being spitballed are Oklahoma assistant head coach Shane Beamer, Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell and Louisiana head coach Billy Napier. All three have supporters among USC board members. Beamer is a former Gamecock assistant and the son of Hall of Fame coach Frank Beamer. He is viewed as a coach who would bring a CEO approach to the job who would hire an excellent staff and allow his to carry their weight. Beamer works for Lincoln Riley, a coach Tanner interviewed in December of 2015. It’s possible, if not likely, that Tanner has talked to Riley a couple of times regarding Beamer.

Chadwell is having a career season at Coastal as the Chants are unbeaten and ranked 15th. His read-option offense has been one of the nation’s best. Chadwell also built winning teams at North Greenville and Charleston Southern. Napier is a Furman grad and former Clemson offensive coordinator who is 25-11 in his third season and vying for his third straight Sun Belt West Division title.

Let’s spitball the name of North Carolina offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Phil Longo. He has the Tar Heels air-raid offense ranked #3 nationally at over 530 yards per game, and he has developed quarterback Sam Howell into one of the best passers in the country. Longo enjoyed the same kind of success in two years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ole Miss. He also has two years of head coaching experience at La Salle. At age 52, Longo is not too old in coaching terms, but he might not fit the youthful profile Tanner is seeking.

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell sees his name mentioned for a lot of jobs viewed a superior to his current one. That includes USC’s opening. A couple of things to consider here. Campbell signed a contract extension last December supposedly tying him to the school thru the 2025 season. He was scheduled to make 3.7 million dollars this season, but the school is cutting $248,562 from his salary as a pandemic reduction. So, if Campbell is already making 3.7 million at Iowa State, it’s likely he wouldn’t leave for anything less than 4 million per season. Would the Gamecocks go that high? Muschamp was scheduled to make $4.6 million this season before his pandemic reduction. Campbell also had a buyout going into 2020 that would cost him (or a school that hires him) 6 million dollars. He is 31-27 at Iowa State including a 3-9 first season. He was 35-15 in five seasons at Toledo.

(November 15)

We’re told AD Ray Tanner would like to hire a younger coach with a strong offensive background, but the door is not closed to any qualified candidate. Our information the past week has been that Liberty coach Hugh Freeze won’t be considered due to his off the field and NCAA issues at Ole Miss. The university has hired a search firm to help with the background checks and other behind the scenes contacts with candidates and agents. AD Ray Tanner has his list of potential candidates including some recommended by a highly regarded NFL head coach. We’re told that some names passed along to Tanner include Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. As for other names to spitball, there’s Jamey Chadwell of Coastal Carolina, Billy Napier of Louisiana, Matt Campbell of Iowa State, Oklahoma assistant head coach and former Gamecock assistant Shane Beamer, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady and Las Vegas Raiders assistant head coach and former Gamecock assistant Rich Bisaccia. We will update as more information, or spit, becomes available.

18 thoughts on “#Gamecocks coaching search spit-blog November 29th (UPDATED Sunday PM)”

  1. No ! Clemson coaches! Shane Beaner hasn’t been a head coach neither has Brady and Bisaccia that’s a joke .Right! Napier,Chadwell and I’ll throwNeall Browns name out there West VIRGINIA head coach!

  2. Does not matter who the Head Coach is, we have to have the Jimmies, and the Joe’s, PERIOD! The players have to have the desire, and heart to win a championship at any level! Sad to say, we do not have the culture to do that at USC. I’ve been watching and supporting USC for 55 + years, and have seen only 4 teams I will consider good! all were National Championship caliber. Need to try to get a proven leader to move this team anywhere!


  4. Hopefully they won’t take another retread, after getting burnt with Muschamp. They should look at what Arkansas did with their last search, which produced a great fit with Sam Pittman. Find the right fit, don’t chase the latest trends. Go Gamecocks.

  5. Jamey Chadwell of Coastal Carolina would be my choice. At this point in college coaching he has a 67.2% winning percentage. Coached at Charleston Southern and had a 37 wins vs 14 losses. He wins where ever he goes. He’s already in South Carolina so the move wouldn’t be that great. Plus he’s a young up and coming coach. He has a great defensive coach also, something that Carolina desperately needs!

  6. Chadwell would be Sparky Woods 2.0. He is doing what he is doing at Coastal with the former head coach players. SEC will not let SC hire Freeze because of the NCAA infractions at Ole Miss. No matter who SC hires one thing you can count on is Tanner will screw this up like he had done on all of his hires

    1. In ref. to your answer about Jamey Chadwell of Coastal Carolina were the infractions due to something he directly had done??
      How about LUKE FRICK of The University of Cincinnati. He’s 7-0 this season and has a .661% win record!!

  7. I don’t think Caslen being a West Point guy will seriously look at Freeze. Napier is probably the “safest choice”. I’m inttrigued by Chadwell and the resume he has built. The one concern is; will his offense translate and be successful in the SEC?

  8. There are two paths to success: (1) Out recruit the teams you play or (2) beat teams that usually out-recruit you. Consistently out-recruiting teams with built-in recruiting advantages rarely happens, so the second approach is more realistic and requires some combination of superior talent evaluation, player development, motivation, and/or scheme/play calling. My belief is that the single best path to beating teams with superior raw talent in today’s college football is to have a brilliant offensive scheme, great quarterback coaching, and superior offensive play calling. So hire a head coach that brings those qualities.

    A CEO Head Coach with great coordinators is a substitute (Saban, Swinney, Orgeron) but harder to achieve and maintain because a great OC will be in such demand as a Head Coach that you will likely never be able to keep him. (see LSU post Joe Brady). If the Head Coach is your offensive guru, you have a long-term solution to the most critical component to becoming a consistently overachieving football program.

    So an offensive mastermind/quarterback whisperer who is at least adequate at the other aspects of the job is your ideal candidate. And then it has to be someone who actually wants the job. Freeze qualifies if he wants the job and you can get past the baggage. Phil Longo at UNC sounds like another interesting candidate if he would want the job and has the personality to handle the other aspects of being a HC. I don’t know enough about him to know if he has a HC personality and recruiting acumen to go with his offense, but he made an immediate impact as OC at Ole Miss and at UNC. Does Napier qualify as a true offensive guru? If he struggles early, all we will hear is that he was fired as the OC at Clemson and fan support could erode quickly.

    If we cannot land a candidate that is an offensive guru and are stuck going the CEO route instead, Shane Beamer sounds like a great fallback choice. Obviously, he would need great coordinators, and we should be prepared to pay a premium to get and hopefully retain great coordinators in that scenario. Maybe we make a huge push to hire Longo away from UNC to pair with Beamer?

  9. I still say a Beamer hire is a bigger risk than getting somebody as HC that brings a great offense with him. Beamer does know the job well and should have a good idea what can succeed in Columbia. When he was here, the Gamecocks had the benefit of having one of the better play callers in college football history, Steve Spurrier, running the offense. However, we need only look a few hours up the road to see that a head coach who is a great recruiter/culture builder can work if you can get and retain outstanding coordinators. If they are really are planning to open the checkbook to allow Beamer to go out and get the best coordinators, that certainly has a chance to work.

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