South Carolina football to interview top candidate on Saturday.
South Carolina is in the midst of a head coaching search following the firing of Will Muschamp just three short weeks ago. There has been a lot of noise surrounding the opening, as well as a long list of potential candidates, but the race seems to be down to two final options.
Early in the week, it seemed like the job was all but Shane Beamer’s to land, with some news sources even stating that an agreement was in place for the Oklahoma assistant coach to take the job at a price of $3 million per year. Former players like Melvin Ingram and Marcus Lattimore had been showing their support of the potential leader on social media, and it looked as though the Shane Train was prepared to leave the station in Columbia.
Fast forward a couple of days later, and that sentiment has changed. Louisiana head coach Billy Napier has gained some steam throughout the week, with rumors circulating that he is in line for an interview with South Carolina administration this Saturday. His Ragin’ Cajuns play in North Carolina on Friday this week.
This is a huge development in the head coaching search, as some believed that Napier was eyeing other possibilities. If true, it would show that Napier is genuinely interested in the position, though his asking price might come at a higher clip than Beamer’s. It’s been said that the Gamecocks want to have this vacancy filled by mid December, meaning time to name a replacement is running out.
What would South Carolina football be getting in Napier?
Napier has been a head coach at Louisiana since 2018, where his Ragin’ Cajuns have won 26 games following his arrival. The group is 8-1 this season, with an upset win of Iowa State, and they’ve won 19 of their last 23 contests.
Napier also has experience as a play caller, as he’s held offensive coordinator positions at both Arizona State and archrival Clemson. He also calls plays for the Cajuns. The Gamecocks have been adamant on making sure the new head coach will have an innovative offensive system that’s been proven successful at many levels.
On top of the experience, which his adversary lacks, Napier also has strong ties to the state. The Georgia native was a quarterback at Furman, and has coached at Palmetto State programs Clemson and South Carolina State.
Dave Bartoo, the founder of Matrix Analytics and consultant to national search firms, actually listed Napier as the best of South Carolina’s options, saying that he definitely “checks all the boxes” in what you look for in a head coach. Bartoo noted Napier’s ability to recruit, hire assistants, and win in his reasoning.
The plot continues to thicken in this head coaching race, but one thing is evident. This search is not over.
Stay tuned to Garnet and Cocky for the latest updates on South Carolina football.