WCU to celebrate back-to-back regular season SoCon championships
Senior to wear the No. 7 jersey made famous by former coach Jack Leggett
Best-of-three intrasquad scrimmage series to conclude Fall, 2013 drills
WCU visits Tennessee, hosts Elon in league play this week
WCU opens three-day tourney on Friday afternoon
Dykota Spiess broke a 6-6 tie with a three-run home run to lead the Catamounts to a 9-7 win over No. 24 Appalachian State to claim the series.
It is the second-time that the Hudson, N.C., native has coached in Cullowhee. He was on staff as a graduate assistant for two seasons from 2004 and `05.
Beck returned to Western after having served as the first-ever Director of Baseball Operations under former Catamount skipper, Todd Raleigh, at the University of Tennessee. His primary responsibilities at Tennessee included managing all baseball camps, oversight of student managers, serving as an academic liaison and assistance with on-campus recruiting.
Prior to joining the staff at UT, Beck spent the 2007 season as an assistant coach at Young Harris Junior College in Young Harris, Ga. While coaching hitters and infielders, Beck mentored a club that led all Georgia junior colleges in 10 different offensive statistical categories. The 2007 Mountain Lions won the Region XVII regular season and tournament titles, in addition to claiming the district championship. Beck's lone season at YHC was highlighted by the school's first all-time appearance in the Junior College World Series.
Beck ended his four-year career as one of the most outstanding players in both Western Carolina and Southern Conference history. The three-time All-SoCon selection (including a pair of first-team honors) ranks on both the school and league career top-10 lists in several statistical categories. He currently ranks third in career runs (216), third in career RBI (222), third in career total bases (488), fifth in career hits (285), fifth in career doubles (60), sixth in career walks (132) and seventh in career home runs (45), while posting a career .341 batting average.
Those numbers additionally ranked on the SoCon all-time lists as he ended his career ranked fourth in RBIs, fifth in total bases, fifth in walks, fifth in runs scored, eighth in hits, eighth in doubles, eighth in at bats, ninth in home runs and 11th in games played (220).
En route to winning SoCon Player of the Year honors in 2003, Beck led the SoCon in home runs (18), RBIs (71), runs scored (67) and walks (45), while ranking 30th in the NCAA in homers and tallying seven assists from left field. He was named to the TIAA/CREF Southern Conference All-Academic Team for Spring Sports, was a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Week honoree and was selected second team All-Atlantic Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Beck's collegiate playing career included numerous other impressive achievements as well. As a junior, he ranked among the SoCon's top 10 in nine of 12 offensive statistical categories. From his sophomore to junior seasons, he authored an impressive streak of reaching base safely (hit, walk or hit by pitch) in 65 consecutive games, and he reached base safely in 50 of 54 games played in 2002. He earned first-team All-SoCon acclaim in 2001 after ranking among the NCAA leaders in RBIs (16th with an average of 1.29 per game), walks (22nd with an average of 0.85 per game) and doubles (23rd with an average of 0.42 per game). He also ranked among the SoCon top five in nine offensive categories, leading the league in on-base percentage (.515) and walks.
The Baltimore Orioles selected Beck in the 16th round (464th overall pick) of the 2003 MLB draft, and he played for the Bluefield Orioles and Class A short-season Aberdeen IronBirds in 2003 before attending spring training in 2004. His professional career was cut short, however, after he suffered a severe wrist injury.
It was following his injury that Beck returned to his alma mater in 2005 as a member of the Catamounts coaching staff, working with the outfielders. He helped mentor outfielder Steven Strausbaugh to 2005 SoCon Freshman of the Year honors. The following year, Strausbaugh led the SoCon in home runs and RBIs and was tabbed first-team All-SoCon and was eventually drafted in the 37th round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.
In the summer of 2006, Beck served as manger of the Thomasville Hi-Toms of the Coastal Plains League. Under his direction, the HiToms not only won a then franchise-record 33 regular-season games, but also the club's first-ever league championship. The team finished with an impressive overall record of 37-23, leading the Coastal Plain League in hits, doubles, home runs and total bases.
Beck completed his undergraduate degree in 2004, receiving his B.S. in Sport Management. He later attained his Master's degree during his two-year coaching stint at WCU, earning an M.A. in Education in 2006.
He was married to current Catamount cheerleading coach, Kim Cherry, of Denver, N.C., in mid-August of 2008. The couple had their first child, Easton, in April of 2012.