South Carolina Football: Gamecock assistant coach fired

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer has fired assistant coach Montario Hardesty who oversaw the running backs position for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina football helmet
South Carolina football helmet / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After a less-than-stellar 2023 campaign, South Carolina football fans have been waiting to hear if head coach Shane Beamer would keep his same coaching staff intact heading into the 2024 season.

The wait is over.

On Wednesday, according to a report from TheBigSpur's Tony Morrell and John Whittle, Beamer has fired an assistant coach, and it is one whose job has been called for by the fan base all season. Running backs coach Montario Hardesty, who played at Tennessee and came to South Carolina from the Charlotte 49ers in 2021 after Des Kitchings accepted a job in the NFL, has been fired.

The firing can't come as too much of a surprise. The Gamecocks' running back situation has been awful during Hardesty's time in Columbia.

After leading the SEC in rushing in 2020, Kevin Harris wasn't the same back in 2021 and was in and out of the starting lineup as he split time with Zaquandre White. Both players elected to leave the program after the season despite unfavorable draft grades. Harris was a late-round pick, and White went undrafted.

In 2022, MarShawn Lloyd was healthy to start the year and was productive, but when he went out with a minor injury, the backs behind him were so ill-prepared to play that tight end Jaheim Bell was moved to the position. Lloyd and high-upside backup Rashad Amos left in the transfer portal after the season. Lloyd then was an All-Pac 12 contributor for Southern Cal, and Amos rushed for over 1000 yards with Miami (OH).

In 2023, the situation was even worse. DK Joyner was forced to move to running back to help out because no one was ready to play. Mario Anderson eventually showed himself to be the top back, but even he had some holes in his game. The Gamecocks averaged their lowest rushing average per game (85.1 yards per game) in the history of South Carolina football. After the year, Anderson left via the transfer portal.

Now, Beamer will need to find a replacement for Hardesty, but given how long it took him to fire him (the season ended over a month ago), it seems reasonable to suspect that the Gamecock headman has an idea in mind for Hardesty's replacement.

There have been rumors about Arkansas running backs coach and associate head coach Jimmy Smith for years, but there hasn't been anything to report yet (at least not publicly).

Whoever replaces Hardesty in Columbia will inherit a much better situation than one might expect. Thanks to the work the Gamecock staff put into their transfer portal efforts, USC has flipped its running back room completely, adding Rocket Sanders (Arkansas), Oscar Adaway (North Texas), and Jawarn Howell (South Carolina State) to the South Carolina football program. 2023 4-star Djay Braswell and 2024 4-star Matthew Fuller are also in the room.

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