June 17, 2010

Courtesy of Ohio St. Athletics

Somewhat stunned and speechless for a few moments: that was the reaction of the search committee with a charge of recommending a new baseball coach at The Ohio State University after Greg Beals introduced himself to the group. He spoke of families, including his personal family, his Athletics Department family and the family of young men he has developed as the head coach at Ball State University. He also spoke of his career in the sport as a player and coach, and his strong desire – no, make that passion – to be the next baseball coach of the oldest sport at Ohio State.

The committee of Ohio State administrators plus senior baseball players Tyler Engle and Dean Wolosiansky then proceeded to learn much more about this Springfield, Ohio native who has bachelor’s (1995; human movement studies) and master’s (1999; sports administration) degrees from Kent State University. And it not only liked what it heard from Beals, but it liked the sincerity of his delivery, his enthusiasm for engaging various audiences – the surrounding community, alumni, the University as a whole and potential recruits – and his goal of taking Ohio State back to the College World Series.

Beals, head coach the past eight years at Ball State and who led the school to three MAC West Division titles and the first MAC Tournament crown in school history, was named today to lead the Ohio State baseball program. He becomes just the third head baseball coach at Ohio State in the last 48 years and the 11th in 127 years of baseball at one of the nation’s most comprehensive universities.

“I can not tell you how excited I am about this opportunity,” Beals said. “I look forward to donning the Ohio State Block ‘O’ cap and representing The Ohio State University.  I have surrounded myself with great people – administrators, coaches and student-athletes – that I will be forever grateful to.  Now I join an Athletics Department that embraces the motto ‘You Win with People.’”

Ohio State Associate Athletics Director Chris Schneider, the sport administrator for the program, announced the hiring.

“Coach Beals has all the attributes we were looking for in a head coach,” Schneider said. “He has achieved success as a head coach, he is a proven recruiter, he is a developer of talent and he is extremely passionate about developing student-athletes in all aspects of their lives.

“Plus, head coach at Ohio State was a dream position for him and his deeds supported that fact: he accepted the position on the spot when we offered it Wednesday evening. He did not need to give it any more thought.”

Beals, named “best game coach” in the MAC in 2009 by Collegebaseballinsider.com, led Ball State to a 243-202 record in his eight seasons as coach with three seasons of 36-or-more victories. After setting the school record for a first-year coach with 36 wins in 2003, Beals led the Cardinals to consecutive 38-win seasons, including an NCAA Regional appearance in 2006 – Ball State’s first NCAA Regional since 1969 – in addition to MAC West Division crowns in 2003, 2005 and 2009.

His 2006 team knocked off top-seed Kentucky in the NCAA Lexington Regional for, perhaps, the school’s greatest victory on the diamond. His teams were 2-2 vs. Ohio State.

His abilities as a recruiter – in terms of finding and then developing talent – have yielded most impressive results. He has watched 21 of his Ball State players get selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, including four players in 2006 and three players in both 2009 and 2010.

Last week, in fact, Beals looked on as his 2010 first-team All-American utility player – Kolbrin Vitek, from Bryan, Ohio – was selected with the 20th pick of the first round by the Boston Red Sox and third-year sophomore pitcher Perci Garner, from Dover, Ohio, was chosen in the second round by the Philadelphia Phillies. A third Cardinal – Zach Dygert – was selected in the 22nd round by the Houston Astros.

Ball State players have thrived off the playing field under Beals, as well. His squad boasts a team Grade Point Average of 3.04 and 14 of his players have been named to the MAC all-academic team.

Beals has been a collegiate coach for 17 years. Prior to his position at Ball State, he was an assistant coach for nine seasons at his alma mater, Kent State. He was a part of three Golden Flash teams to make an NCAA Regional – 1994, 2001 and 2002 – and three that won MAC championships. He also worked with 21 players who would sign professional contracts and 17 who would be named to the MAC all-academic team.

Beals, who spent three seasons in the New York Mets’ farm system after his playing career at Kent State, attended Kenton Ridge High School in Springfield, Ohio, where he played baseball under Coach Tom Randall, a member of the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame.

Beals and his wife Kathy, a four-year basketball letterwinner at Kent State, have three daughters: Kayla, Amber and Morgan.

“Kathy, the girls and I look forward to getting entrenched in the University and the Columbus community,” Beals said.