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Beachler credits sister for competitive spirit

Friday, January 4, 2013

Preparing for the fall 2013 football season at Logan Field, NHS Head Coach Wes Beachler says character development and preparing his players for their lives as responsible adults is the central part of his program, which has returned the Tigers to competitive respectability in the past two years.
By James R. Campbell

Nevada Daily Mail

Nevada High School Head Football Coach Wes Beachler got his unyielding gamesmanship from a girl who beat him in every game they played.

She was his sister Kelli, a high school basketball and volleyball player six years older than him "who didn't ever let me win," Beachler says.

Recalling his upbringing at Axtell, a small town in northeast Kansas, he said that rivalry "made me pretty competitive at a young age.

"I wasn't the best sportsman, but it sure taught me how to compete," he said.

Known as a turnaround specialist whose teams win big everywhere he goes, Beachler has shown the same knack here, leading the previously futile Tigers to records of 6-4 in 2011 and 8-3 last year. "You've got to love being around kids and working with them," he said.

"My dad left when I was 5 and my high school coaches made me a better man, not just a better athlete. It's hard work and fundamentals. The big thing is getting kids to believe you care about them and that there is no substitute for doing things right and working hard."

Beachler, 44, threw the discus and hammer on the track teams of Highland Community College at Highland, Kan., and Emporia State University, where he earned a education degree in 1991. He and his wife Sarah have four sons, Trey, 12, Dylan, 10, Drew, 8, and 3-year-old Jacob.

He has an older brother, Shane of Wamego, Kan., and three older sisters, Kelli Webber of Milwaukee, her twin, Kerri Barker of Topeka, and Marcia Koch of Loveland, Colo. Their mother, June Woodyard, is in Wamego.

Taking a master's degree in secondary administration at Missouri State, Beachler variously coached middle school and high school eight- and 11-man football, track and girls' basketball at Bern, St. George and Hoxie, Kan., and Houston and Springfield, Mo., where he found Parkview High in the midst of a 38-game losing streak. "We didn't break the streak until the fourth or fifth week of the third year and we made the playoffs in the fifth year," he said.

"I'm pleased with how quickly the turnaround took place in Nevada. I always run the ball more than I pass because there is nothing you can do against a team that lines up and pushes the ball down the field five yards at a time.

"I don't think the defensive front matters a whole lot. Whatever you run, teach the kids the techniques they need to be successful in that defense. I take time to listen to them and let them know I'm having a good time at practice every day. They know I care about how they turn out as young men rather than just trying to win ballgames through them.

"I tell them all the time that I love them. I don't think there's anything wrong with that."

An aficionado of histories, books by coaches and Christian literature, Beachler is reading "Mission Compromised" by Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North (Ret.) and "Real Marriage" by the Rev. Mark Driscoll. A weightlifting injury necessitated shoulder surgery in 2000.

As NHS' weightlifting instructor, he likes to set an example and can benchpress 290 pounds, just 10 pounds shy of his personal best. "You can't say one thing and do another," he says.

"Life is about relationships. The kids need to understand that other than hard work and integrity, how you treat people and relate to them will take you further than any other attribute."

Beachler was reluctant to commend any Tigers by name because many have excelled, but he said seniors Bradey Denny, Dalton Hendren, Sam Ellifrits and Nick Conner have been particularly dedicated.

Asked if he lacks anything to take the crimson and gray deeper into the playoffs, he said a bigger weight room to let more than 30 players work out would be helpful because his team of 85 will grow into the 90s.

But Beachler said the parents, student body, middle school football program, administration, school board and city are giving him and his six assistants and players all the backing they need. "The type of program we're trying to get started is well supported across the board," he said.

"Football is a consuming job."

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