Coaches Corner: David Beckley


beckleyd-head08.jpgDP Spotlight-David Beckley: The Citadel’s David Beckley starred as a prep at Stratford HS then spent time as an all-conference collegiate infielder for the Bulldogs. He found his future niche in the coaching profession with high school stops at James Island, Barnwell and Berkeley before returning home to the military academy over the past the eight baseball seasons. In his Diamond Spotlight, Beckley provides DP responses on a number of questions. Get to know Beckley better here:

DP-How many years have you been in coaching? What got you into the business? 

DB-This year will start the beginning of my 13th year in coaching. Upon graduation of The Citadel, I coached one year at James Island High school, one year at Barnwell High School, three years at Berkeley High School, and I am starting my 8th year at The Citadel. I got into coaching because of my love for sports. I have so much respect for the coaches in my life. I wanted to influence ballplayers the way my coaches influenced me when I was a player.

DP-What is the most rewarding thing about being a baseball coach? 

DB-I get to coach at my alma mater and develop relationships with ballplayers that last forever! 

DP-What does the term "coach" mean to you? 

DB-We are teachers but we take it way beyond the classroom, or in our case, the baseball field. We teach fundamentals, techniques, and strategies, as well as life skills that will help them cope in the real world. 

DP-You spent five years coaching at the high school level. In what ways did working with prep athletes help you when you made the move back to college baseball?

DB-First, I was able to get my feet wet in regards to experience. Secondly, I knew the area real well and knew who some of the better players were, as well as some of the sleepers who may not shine at just one evaluation. The transition was pretty smooth. I knew The Citadel system, and not many things had changed, so on the field I felt back at home. 

DP-What is something you wish everyone knew about your profession?

DB-The long hours, the long drives, the time that you miss with family, and the work that we do in the office…so many people think that all we do is play games. But, I wouldn’t want to do anything else! 

DP-We all know there is very little money in getting started in coaching at the college level yet the time involved is mind-boggling, why did you do it?

DB-Hard to describe…I love competing, it’s what motivates me! I really enjoy the relationships that are built, and I love seeing our guys succeed! 

DP-Describe your coaching experience at The Citadel, from how it began to some of your highlights while there. 

DB-It all started in June of 2002 when Coach Jordan called me after one of our legion games at Berkeley High School and I jumped in! We won the regular season in 2002! It’s always nice to beat some of the "Big Boys"! Since 2002 we have beaten: USC, Nebraska, Miami, Oregon State, NC State, Louisville (just off the top of my head). Nothing to this point has topped winning the SoCon tournament in 2004!

DP-You chose a military school to play at and now coach there too. What is the benefit of obtaining a degree from a military school?
DB-The military is the world’s best teacher in regards to discipline, respect, time management, organization, dealing with stress and leadership. People out in the real world really like a graduate who has these qualities already instilled in them. Not everybody needs it as much as others, but it can’t hurt anyone! If you graduate from The Citadel you instantly join a brotherhood for life and Citadel guys tend to take care of each other (Citadel grads hire each other). I think you can get the best of both worlds here…great baseball, great education and take away with you some real life skills that will be needed to make it in whatever field you choose! I really appreciate the opportunity to showcase The Citadel and all it stands for!

DP-You get to work at your alma mater, tell us what that means to you:

DB-I love The Citadel and all it stands for! It means the world to me! This is where my heart is…I bleed Citadel blue, and to have the opportunity to coach here is a true blessing!

DP: How do you balance the time demands of coaching and your family?

DB-It is hard! I have a very understanding wife! But, I miss a lot of valuable time with my kids. Basically, I balance my time very wisely…when I’m not recruiting or at work, I spend time with the family.

DP-When you hear the expression "old school baseball", what does that phrase mean to you? 

DB-The Citadel Baseball and our style! 

DP-What is the definition of a "student-athlete"? 

DB-Person who understands the importance of academics and has the ability to balance their time to fulfill requirements to play.

DP-What MLB feat in history do you wish you’d been inside the stadium to witness and why? 

DB-Not sure? But, I know the one I want to be at hopefully this year?? Cubs vs. whoever in the 2008 World Series!! We’ve gotta a chance!!

DP-What is your most memorable experience as a baseball coach? 

DB-Winning 2004 SoCon Tournament

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a baseball coach and why? 

DB-Fred Jordan. I have been with Coach Jordan a long time! I played for him at Stratford HS for three years, four years at The Citadel and am starting my 8th year as a coach. He has taught me so much and I am so grateful he gave me a chance here at The Citadel! Chris Lemonis (now at Louisville) taught me the ropes and showed me the way. Dan McDonnell (also at Louisville) inspired me as a player and inspired me to coach!

DP-As you noted, your history with Coach Fred Jordan goes way back. Give us some idea of what he is like as a coach, as a mentor and what he has meant to your career as a player, then later as his assistant:  

DB-Coach Jordan is a great person!  As a coach, he preaches the fundamentals and we only play one way! There is nothing fancy about Coach Jordan, nor The Citadel Baseball program! Don’t get me wrong, we have great facilities, and uniforms and things like that, but we are not real interested in the way we look, or what others think about us! We just play as hard as we can, and he instills that into our players daily! It’s not just about baseball with Coach Jordan either…he will do anything for the guys! He is very instrumental in their lives after baseball. He has meant the world to me as both a player and as his assistant. He has given me opportunities that I am so thankful for. Words can’t describe how I feel about him and what he has done in my life, but I think of him like a second father.

DP-Who are the best three players you have ever coached against? 

DB-Justin Smoak, Ryan Braun (Brewers), Brett Gardner (Yankees)

DP-What does it mean to be a good teammate and is that important? 

DB-Baseball is a tough game, and you will fail a lot. A good teammate shows faith in you at all times, picks you up when you are down, is unselfish, plays to win, plays for the team first! Very important for chemistry…seems like the teams that have special years, have special chemistry!

DP-What do you see as the biggest difference in high school-aged players today versus when you played? 

DB-Probably more polished, because many of them only play one sport and they do it year round.

DP-Now switching gears, think back to your days as a baseball player, please list any notable accolades: 

DB-I had a pretty good career at The Citadel, but my most notable accolade was being the lead-off hitter and second basemen on three SoCon championship teams! Our group is remembered for being champions, not our stats!

DP-What is your greatest high school thrill? 

DB-Playing in the Shrine Bowl Football game, and nothing like strapping it up on Friday nights in the fall!

DP-What is your greatest thrill, or two, beyond high school?

DB-Getting married and the birth of my daughter Payton, and son Tanner.

DP-Who were the three best players you played against? 

DB-Jacque Jones, Todd Helton and Todd Greene

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why? 

DB-My father. You wouldn’t have enough room for my answer! Teacher, motivator, counselor, friend, works hard, successful, supportive, etc. "Stan the Man"…I love him!

DP-Who is you favorite athlete outside of baseball?

DB-Walter Payton…God rest his soul!

DP-Who is your favorite MLB pitcher and position player and why? 

DB-Carlos Marmol for the Cubs…electric stuff! Ryan Theriot…little guy getting it done, plays hard!

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team? 

DB-Should know by now. The Chicago Cubs!

DP-What is your favorite sport to play other than baseball? 

DB-Whiffle ball or tee ball with my kids!

DP-What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball? 

DB-College football and March Madness

DP-What are some of your hobbies? 

DB-Like to hunt, but haven’t gone in 2 years! I guess recruiting and talking on the phone to recruits. My wife hates my cell phone.

DP-What is something people don’t know about you? 

DB-I was a better football player than a baseball player.

DP-If you could have dinner with three people in history, who would they be and why?

DB-Walter Payton, Michael Jordan and either Ryne Sandberg or Bobby Knight. Favorite players of all-time and favorite coach of all-time!

DP-Where do you see yourself in ten years? 

DB-I want to be a head coach someday…hopefully right here at The Citadel!

DP-What is your opinion on the new rules that the NCAA recently adopted in regards to roster limitations, the APR and the 25% scholarship rule?

DB-I like it…we know where most kids want to go, I did too! Bigger schools can’t stock pile as much, and like Kevin Schnall said, it makes you really evaluate someone! With the numbers crunch that they have implemented, if you miss on a recruit…it hurts a lot more now! But, I think it is good for college baseball, it was getting out of control with all the transferring.

DP-Tell us something about The Citadel and the baseball program there:

DB-A lot of people do not know that we have been to The College World Series! One of the few Mid-Majors to reach Omaha! We have also won a combination of 14 championships in the last 18 years!! Not many programs can say that!

DP-Why should kids consider coming to play at The Citadel? 

DB-The Citadel is a special place! We have a very prestigious degree, championship traditions, great facilities, fan support, administrative support and a flourishing network of alumni that is second to none!

DP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice. 

DB-Play harder! Study! Pain is temporary…Pride is forever! Always liked that one, but it is so true.

DP-Beck, we appreciate your giving us a better glimpse into the Bulldog program and your life in general!