Alan Beck, the 2003 Southern Conference Player of the Year, returned to his alma mater this past year both as a member of the Catamount coaching staff and to pursue his Master's degree in Physical Education.
The Hudson, N.C., native was a 16th-round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles after the 2003 season. However, his professional career was cut short after suffering a severe wrist injury.
Beck played a key role in Western's resurgence as a power in the Southern Conference. After the team went 15-38 and did not qualify for the SoCon Tournament in his freshman year, Western would set a SoCon record the following season for biggest single-season turnaround (+14.5) in 2001, win 33 games and finish second in the league in 2002 and win both the SoCon regular-season and tournament titles in 2003.
He ended his four-year career as one of the best players in both Western Carolina and Southern Conference history. The three-time All-Southern Conference pick, including two first team honors, ranks on both the school and league lists in the career top 10 in several categories. On the SoCon all-time lists, he ended his career ranked fourth in RBI (222), fifth in total bases (488), fifth in walks (132), fifth in runs scored (216), eighth in hits (285), eighth in doubles (60), eighth in at bats (835), ninth in home runs (45) and 11th in games played (220). On the WCU all-time charts, he ended his career ranked fourth in hits, fourth in doubles, sixth in home runs, third in RBI and third in runs scores, while posting a .341 batting average.
En route to winning SoCon Player of the Year honors in 2003, Beck led the SoCon in home runs (18), RBI (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 and was a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Week honoree.
As a junior, Beck ranked among the SoCon's top 10 in nine of the 12 offensive categories. Starting his sophomore season and carrying over to his junior year, he had an impressive streak of reach base safely (hit, walk or hit by pitch) in 65 consecutive games and would reach base safely in 50-of-54 games played in 2002. In 2001, Beck was tabbed first team All-Southern Conference after ranking among the NCAA leaders in RBI (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 additionally ranked among the SoCon top five in nine offensive categories, leading the league in on-base percentage (.515) and walks.
Beck completed his undergraduate degree in 2004, receiving his B.S. from Western Carolina in Sport Management.