As my co-sports editor and I hurried into the Long Family Football Operations Center on Tuesday afternoon, we headed into one of Shane Beamer's first one-on-one interviews at South Carolina as the head football coach.
As soon as we arrived, Beamer greeted us with fist bumps and said he had just finished redecorating his office. We talked about football, his family and even his favorite color.
Q: What's it like to be back in Columbia?
SB: It's awesome. Of all the places my wife and I have lived, this is by far our favorite. I love ... being able to sit here in this office and see downtown and campus and the stadium and all that; reuniting with old friends.
Q: You said your dad is going to be involved in the program. Have you hammered down what that might look like?
SB: Legally, I'm not going to be hiring him for any position, but he's going to be around a lot ... He's certainly a valuable resource for me to be able to lean on. One, he's my dad; but, two, he's a Hall of Fame coach that built a program up that wasn't in very good shape when he took over and went through some lean years early on.
Q: What's it like going through a coaching change in a pandemic?
SB: It's been tough because it's just, it's different. Interviewing coaches for jobs; going around to visit places; it's not as easy and simple ... From a football standpoint, the one thing that it has allowed us to do is just be in the building every day with our current team ... In a normal, non-COVID-19 time ... I would have been gone every single day recruiting, but instead I'm in here. I'm able to work. I'm able to get around our players.
Q: How do you feel about the coaching staff that you've put together? What are your goals for them?
SB: Things, I believe, have a way of working out the way they're supposed to in the end, and I really feel like they have. In this instance with the guys, the different avenues people have taken to get here, I think it's all in the end what has been absolutely the best for South Carolina football going forward.
Q: When it comes down to rebuilding a program, especially South Carolina being in the SEC, what do you think is going to be the hardest challenge (as a head coach)?
SB: Keep trying to advance the program forward is my mentality each and every day. I'm very process-driven, and I'm not sitting there and thinking about the season ... The things we do today will lead to success on the field.
Q: As a first-time head coach coming to a program with a 2-8 record last season, what do you have to say to the fans who are skeptics?
SB: One of the greatest selling points that we have is that atmosphere in Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturdays. We've got a bunch of young men in this program that are working really, really hard to give them a program that they can be proud of.
Q: You've been very accessible when it comes to social media. Is that just part of you being a younger coach?
SB: I've just always been kind of active and engaging as an assistant coach — I don't really see that changing a lot ... But a lot of it is, I love this place, and if I'm standing in the building, and there's a beautiful sunrise over the stadium, I'm likely to take a picture of it and tweet it.
Q: Muschamp used "#SpursUp," but we've seen you using "#WelcomeHome." What's going on?
SB: I know Coach Muschamp used it, and that was kind of his thing when people committed ... I do believe that "Spurs Up" is more than just signifying a commitment ... I mean, to me, it's South Carolina in a lot of ways.
Q: Ryan Hilinksi started Hilinksi's Hope and the three fingers we held up at the start of the third quarter. Even though he transferred, do you think we'll be keeping something like that?
SB: I'm all for anything that promotes, you know, mental health awareness. We haven't really gotten into what we're going to be doing on game days ... Certainly, it's something that's very important to me, and anything that I can do to bring awareness to it, I want to.
Q: What's your favorite color?
SB: Probably green or blue ... Politically correct, I guess, I should say garnet and black, so that's my new favorite color, but just overall, generally, I would say blue or green.
Q: What's your favorite movie?
SB: "Good Will Hunting," "The Goonies" and, probably, "Stand By Me."