By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE November 30, 2001 Chad Beeten, who was recently named coach of the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) mens basketball team and assistant athletic director, has a big pair of shoes to fill in the wake of former helmsman Will Browns departure for the University of Albany.
Brown took over as head coach of the Generals in the wake of the Dave Possinger/Mike Kelly era scandals, in which SCCC was put on probation by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) for alleged recruiting violations.
In 1999, the Generals made the final four, placing fifth in the national rankings at Delhi. They made sweet sixteen this past spring.
Under Possinger, the Generals won the national title in 1992 and 95, followed by a repeat performance in 1996 with Kelly as head coach.
While the Generals never quite managed to grab the brass ring under Brown, he proved his teams were winners who could hit the books as well as the floor.
Before Brown left for Albany, SCCCs athletic director Jack Mager threw in the towel at the local community college and moved on to become a physical education teacher in the Newburgh School District.
Former assistant AD and assistant mens basketball coach Chris DePew was given the nod to take over the SCCC athletic program, and the search was on for a new mens hoops coach.
According to DePew, the college received nine applications for the vacant position, offered four interviews (one declined) and actually interviewed three contestants.
Im extremely happy that we got Chad, DePew said. I think hes going to do a fantastic job and I look forward to him keeping up the tradition here at Sullivan. Hes highly motivated, and knows the game very well . . . Im confident he can step in and keep us where were accustomed to being at . . . a history of being very competitive within the region and nationally.
Beeten, 29, was born in Allentown, Pa. and spent his early years in the Philadelphia area. He attended junior high and high school in New Jersey.
In 1990, Beeten graduated from Washington Township High School, located in South Jersey.
After a freshman year at George Washington University, Beeten transferred to Goucher College in Baltimore, where he played basketball for three-and-a-half years as a guard for the Gophers, helping his team to a couple of championship titles. In 1996, he graduated with a degree in communications.
The Gophers were not very intimidating, but it worked, he said of playing for a team named after a rodent.
Beeten is from a basketball family, as his father, Scott, was coaching when I was born. The elder Beeten is in his second season as head coach at Albany, and Brown is serving as second in command of the Great Danes.
When I realized I wasnt going to be good enough to play in the NBA,, I decided to coach basketball, said Chad Beeten. I wanted to stay in the game.
After college, he accepted his first assistant coaching job at Marymount College in Arlington, Va. under veteran coach Webb Hatch. After the long-time head coach left the following year, Beeten decided to give up the world of hoops for a shot at the corporate scene. While working as a general manager for several restaurants on the Caribbean island of Aruba, he kept active in basketball as a player/coach for the Aruba Juniors.
It was a good education in a very diverse area, he said of his experiences in the islands.
Beeten and his wife, Tamara, then moved back to the United States after Beeten decided he wanted to get back into coaching on a full-time basis. The Beetens are proud parents of a six-week old daughter, Alexandra.
After we ended up in California, I got hooked up with a program called the Oakland Slam & Jam, he said. Beeten was a marketing manager for Wells Fargo while working part-time for the AAU program.
I enjoyed basketball a lot more than the corporate world, he said.
When he heard of the opening at SCCC, Beeten called Brown who said to call DePew. He arrived at Sullivan last Sunday night, and promptly got involved with his first official Generals practice session.
On Monday afternoon, Beeten and DePew were back at it, putting the newest crop of hoopsters through their paces. On Tuesday, everyone was up bright and early for a 6 a.m. practice.
For the time being, Beeten and DePew are in effect sharing coaching duties at the mens basketball program, as the team makes the transition from interim coach to new head coach.
I think it will be a smooth transition, said Beeten. I think Chris and I will work really well together . . . the most important thing for the kids is to have a smooth transition and have Chris step up and be involved as much as he can.
What are Beetens goals for the Generals this year?
I want to continue their success, he said. I know theyve had some down years, but this is a good team.
His take on making it to the NJCAA nationals at Delhi?
I think we have a good chance, but we have a long way to go, replied Beeten. If we had to play for the championship right now, I dont think wed make it in.
In sizing up the Generals early on in the 2001-2002 season after five games, Beeten said, I think theyre good, but we need to take care of the basketball, cut down on the turnovers and play defense from start to finish.
What is it like so far taking over after Brown?
He did a great job, said the Generals new helmsman. Guys are calling all the time and saying they have this guy or that guy, and thats a direct reflection of what Will did with this program and how he built it up . . . it was real hard for Will to come in and build up this program from scratch after the probation.
Chad Beetens coaching philosopy in a nutshell?
I demand that we play hard, just play hard, he said. Playing hard makes up for a lot of mistakes.