South Carolina Football: Shane Beamer called one of SEC's worst coaching values

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer ranks near bottom of SEC in contract value, according to major outlet.

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer
South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football fans know that 2023 was not a banner year for their favorite team, but it seems as if they receive constant reminders of the fact.

In their weekly "power poll," Saturday Down South's Matt Hayes ranked the 16 (yes, 16; Texas and Oklahoma are part of the league in football now) SEC head coaches based on contract value in 2023. Essentially, Hayes sought to rank the best "bang for your buck" coaches in the Southeastern Conference from last season.

After what was a very disappointing fall, Shane Beamer came in near the bottom of the list at #14, only ahead of Arkansas' Sam Pittman and Vanderbilt's Clark Lea.

Hayes' entire list can be seen below:

  1. Kalen DeBoer: $4.2 Million; Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Steve Sarkisian: $5.6 Million; Texas Longhorns
  3. Lane Kiffin: $9 Million; Ole Miss Rebels
  4. Eli Drinkwitz: $6 Million; Missouri Tigers
  5. Kirby Smart: $10.7 Million; Georgia Bulldogs
  6. Brent Venables: $7.1 Million; Oklahoma Sooners
  7. Mike Elko: $3.5 Million; Texas A&M Aggies
  8. Brian Kelly: $9.97 Million; LSU Tigers
  9. Josh Heupel: $9 Million; Tennessee Volunteers
  10. Hugh Freeze: $6.5 Million; Auburn Tigers
  11. Jeff Lebby: $1.9 Million; Mississippi State Bulldogs
  12. Mark Stoops: $9 Million; Kentucky Wildcats
  13. Billy Napier: $7.27 Million; Florida Gators
  14. Shane Beamer: $6.12 Million; South Carolina Gamecocks
  15. Sam Pittman: $6.35 Million; Arkansas Razorbacks
  16. Clark Lea: $3.05 Million; Vanderbilt Commodores

Hayes' list is a bit of a mess. At times, he seemed to rely strictly on the objective "dollars per win" metric, while other times, he was more subjective in his rankings. Plus, making a list like this is strange, as Jeff Lebby wasn't even a head coach in 2023, and Kalen DeBoer and Mike Elko were at different schools where they made much less money than they will at Alabama and Texas A&M.

Even with the list's flaws, Beamer's ranking is relatively appropriate for how 2023 went in Columbia. He probably should have been ahead of Florida's Billy Napier as the two coaches had the same record, Napier made more money, and Beamer has a bit more job security than the Florida headman. However, even if he was ranked 13th instead of 14th, it is still a reminder of just how bad 2023 was.

The Gamecocks lost to the aforementioned Gators with a late-game collapse. They also blew a 2-score lead in the 2nd half to Georgia, got completely embarrassed by Missouri and Tennessee, stumbled through a win over Jacksonville State, and lost winnable games against rivals North Carolina and Clemson thanks to bad offensive line play.

2024 will serve as a litmus test for the Shane Beamer era. With another difficult schedule ahead for this year's version of the South Carolina football team, making it to a bowl game is still the minimum standard for the Gamecocks. If '24 mirrors '23, the fanbase will get restless, and there will be loud cries for change. If the team improves, however, Beamer will be able to sell recruits on a possible College Football Playoff berth in 2025 (thanks, 12-team format).

Spring practice will start next week for the Gamecocks, and year 4 of the Shane Beamer era, the most important to date, officially will have begun.

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