LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) - Mark Stoops and Shane Beamer took similar footsteps climbing to the top of the coaching tree while in the shadow of their respective fathers.
Ron Stoops served as a longtime assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio. His sons - Mark, Bob and Mike - took what they learned from their fathers and others on their way to successful coaching stints at the collegiate level.
Although schemes are a big part of the equation when it comes to coaching the game of football, Mark Stoops took a simple takeaway from his father and applied it to his own approach both on the sidelines and behind the scenes.
“I think the big thing (I learned) is the work ethic, the discipline that comes with it,” Stoops said earlier this week. “Philosophically, not very much for me. Even if you go back and pull up some of my dad's films you will see some carryover, you will see a lot of similarities but that is just by accident a lot of times.”
Mark Stoops coached alongside his brother, Mike, at Arizona but eventually learned he couldn’t rely on his father’s background in order to become a successful coordinator and coach, especially at the collegiate level.
“You have to be your own self and have to be authentic,” Stoops said. “(Shane Beamer is) obviously being him, with I'm sure taking all the lessons and being around his father his whole life. I can't get in his head, I think he has done a very good job and seems to be authentic. Because if you're not authentic in this business, it's not going to work.”
Much like Stoops, Shane Beamer left his father’s shadow at an early age and started from the bottom up while at Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Georgia, and Oklahoma. He played for his father at Virginia Tech as a wide receiver and long-snapper. Mark Stoops was a defensive back at Iowa.
Shane Beamer never wanted to use his father’s impressive credentials in order to achieve success in the coaching profession.
“I always tried to keep that chip on my shoulder or edge about myself to prove myself for sure. Certainly, I'm very proud of that,” Beamer said. “It was important for me to go out and develop my own reputation and contacts. I did that, and I was thankful to be part of fantastic programs during that time and places I coached.”
Beamer eventually coached with his father at Virginia Tech as Frank Beamer’s illustrious coaching career drew to a close from 2011-2015. He then took what he learned, which proved to be beneficial for the father-and-son coaching duo.
“I went back and worked for him — very, very proud of him,” Beamer said. “I learned a lot from him. I still rely on him a lot now for advice and things like that as well. I know he's excited about me being in this position and excited to be around Columbia quite a bit also.”
While at Florida State as defensive coordinator, Stoops coached against Virginia Tech and walked away with respect for the Hall of Fame coach and the success he enjoyed in Blacksburg.
“(I) can't help but have great respect for his father,” Stoops said. “We all do as coaches have great appreciation. I had some great games, I have been at Miami and Florida State, so we have had some tough games at Virginia Tech. It was always fun competing against them (Virginia Tech). They were always a good team.”
Stoops is expecting the same from Shane Beamer's Gamecocks Saturday night.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him ay Keith.firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at keithtaylor21