Interview with head football coach Mike Beam about the fall season
How did you feel about the overall success of the team this year?
Beam: “You know, it was really, I felt, like it was a very good year. Our record wasn’t very good, but I was really pleased with how the guys did, with how they worked throughout the year, and it was just, it was a fun group to coach.”
What was the difference in having about 17 seniors last year to having five this year?
Beam: “It was easier to keep track of all them, the seniors, and who’s gonna be a captain, because I rotate them through each game. There were not very many of them [this year], but they were good leaders, good guys, and… we really applauded those seniors this year for staying out and working hard for four years.”
How did the leadership itself change with the different numbers?
Beam: “Well, we kinda put the leadership on not just our seniors, but on everybody, so it doesn’t really affect it that much… because I expect all of our guys to be leaders whether they are freshman, or sophomores, or juniors, or whatever it is and so, it didn’t change a whole lot.”
Was there anyone in particular that really stood out in this and really took charge of the team?
Beam: “Just by probably his position, [senior] Cooper [Schlochtermeier]. He kinda stood out, but your quarterback does, I mean, because he’s the leader on the field, on the offense, and he kinda ended up doing that for us in defense, too. But, really like I said, most of all those guys really took a part in leadership.”
Did the team collaborate well this year?
Beam: “They did. I thought we gelled pretty well as a team. There were times where we, only a couple games, where we felt like we did not play well together or play well as a team. But, for the most part, I was pretty pleased. I thought the guys did a good job of working together and trying to get better and trying to do what we asked them to do. So, I was pretty pleased that way.”
So, did you think that the seniors really helped out the underclassmen this year?
Beam: “I think so. I think it all starts at the top. Everybody did their part, so it wasn’t just one group; everybody did their part.”
Are you okay with talking about your heart attack?
Beam: “Yeah, oh yeah.”
So, have you views on life and the team changed because of it?
Beam: “It has. When I first started coaching, everything was about win and win and win. I realized, 15 years ago, that wasn’t the biggest thing. It was about relationships. And, that’s what I usually preach to the guys anyway. But, it really hit home more this year than ever before, especially since I thought the possibly of not getting able to coach anymore. And, when the first day when I came back from the hospital to practice and just seeing the guys and how they reacted to me being there, I realized there’s a lot more to life than just a game. And, it’s all about the relationships. So, yeah, it did change my perspective.”
Do you think the players changed their perspective too about you?
Beam: “I don’t know, but I hope so! Because I think I changed, and I’m sure they saw that, especially the guys that have been with me for you know four years and three years, but maybe the younger guys didn’t see the change, but I’m a lot more mellow than I used to be!”
Do you think the team had a wake-up call because of it?
Beam: “I don’t know. There’s times I was afraid it was hurting us. I really worked hard at not being a burden and pulling my own weight, and every now and then, it wasn’t very easy, because I didn’t feel very good. I appreciate the players and the other coaches so much for all the extra effort they put in, when I maybe couldn’t put in as much as normal.”
What was the most memorable game or event from this year?
Beam: “I had a memory from the St. Mary’s game. Towards the end of that game, where it was a really dominating performance, but that all changed after last Friday night. I saw the underclassmen wait for the seniors to get off the field after we talked to them, and that’s the one memory that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Watching those guys applaud the seniors as they come off the field, that’s never happened in the 25 years I’ve been here. We usually are at the playoffs, and you end with a loss unless you’re a state champion, and we’ve never won a state championship. It was different, ending on a win, having these guys recognize the seniors. It was a pretty special moment, I think.”
Do you have any new ideas for the team next year?
Beam: “Actually, we have a coaches meeting tomorrow, and that’s what we’re working on. But, yeah, there are a lot of new ideas, none that I really want to share! We’ll probably do a lot more conditioning next year – no, I’m just kidding! We’re always looking to change, and so we’ll meet as a staff several times, and then those are things we talk about. It all starts tomorrow.”
How do you think the team will do next year with upcoming freshmen and the new seniors?
Beam: “Well, I think, with the experience some of the guys gained this year, because there were times when we were playing freshmen and sophomores, you know you expect juniors and seniors to play on your varsity, but not freshmen and sophomores, against the opponents we have to play, and so hopefully, those guys gained a lot of experience, valuable experience, and that should make us a lot better. Whatever doesn’t kill ya makes you better.”
Any advice for upcoming freshmen or new players
Beam: “Most of the work is done in the summer for the fall. So, you have to work out during the summer. And, if you don’t come out, you’re not gonna make the team any better, so I encourage everyone to come out and give it a shot!”
Interview by staff member Abby Ruder
Photo by yearbook photo editor Olivia Lee