Mack Brown might be seeing double.
Brown — the head coach at Tulane during the mid-1980s — walloped a Frank Beamer-led Virginia Tech team in Week 7 of the 1987 season.
In three weeks, he’ll square off against another member of the family when Shane Beamer and South Carolina take on his UNC team in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Dec. 30.
“Shane is a superstar in coaching,” Brown said on Wednesday. “He’s been all over the country at top jobs now and he’s been a coordinator at those places. I was so excited for him (when he got the South Carolina job).”
Brown has long been a close friend of the Beamer family. Shane noted Wednesday that Brown is one of his mother and father’s closest friends.
After Shane landed the head coaching job at South Carolina, he said, Brown was among the first people to call Frank and Cheryl Beamer and congratulate them on their son’s new gig.
“When we went to Virginia Tech this year, the first guy saw to hug my neck was Frank on the field before the game and he looks great,” Brown said. “Now he’s he’s spending all of his time in South Carolina pulling for his son, so it’s fun to watch him be so excited. He said, ‘It was easier to coach my own team than watch your son coach.’ ”
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Brown smirked when asked whether facing coaches like Shane — who he’s known for the bulk of his life — rejuvenates him. Certainly there’s some level of that. But it’s more than a simple energy boost.
Brown noted how Darrell Royal helped advise him as a young coach at Texas. Frank, too, has served that role for Shane, while Brown has kept up with the younger Beamer as well.
“It’s great to have a Hall of Fame father, but then also to have coaches like Mack Brown that are willing to help younger coaches in the profession,” Shane Beamer said. “It says what he’s about and something that I’m very thankful for also.”
Granted college football has changed in the decades since Brown first jumped into the business. The memories of his Tulane tenure are fleeting. Even his run at Texas is almost a decade past now.
Brown quipped on Wednesday that he and Frank are of a different era, as college coaching contracts have exploded to astronomical numbers this offseason and the transfer portal has created college football’s version of free agency.
There’s increasing pressure now on college coaches to perform quickly. If they can’t deliver, there’s always a newer, shinier name out there that fans will call for almost immediately.
“One year somebody in the media said, ‘If Frank (Beamer) can win five games next year, if he wins six games, he gets to keep his job,’ “ Brown recounted. “And I think I was 2-20 (at North Carolina), so I was trying to get to five (wins). So it’s funny when you look back and see those years and how people are firing people after two years and two and a half years. Back then Frank and I would have been fired really fast if we’d have been in in this modern-day scenario.”
Charlotte has been a stiff challenge for South Carolina in recent years. The Gamecocks are 2-2 in games played in the Queen City since 2015 and have lost their last two contests there against Virginia and UNC.
In less than a month, USC will return to Charlotte for a date with North Carolina. Brown will stand opposite Shane Beamer, like he and his father did so many years before.
Brown wants nothing more than to beat Beamer on Dec. 30. Any other day, though, Brown is among Shane Beamer’s biggest supporters.
“I’m a Shane fan,” Brown said. “I’m pulling for him. I don’t him to do well in our game. I don’t want him to do well in two years (when UNC and USC play again in Charlotte), but I want him to do well and be successful. When guys like him do well, it’ll help college football.”
How to watch 2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Who: South Carolina (6-6) vs North Carolina (6-6)
When: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 30
Where: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC
Line: North Carolina by 7