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Rams' Beane counter

August 23, 1998|By RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The lure of the NFL's big bucks calls to Shepherd College running back Damian Beane.

Beane is the leading returning rusher this season in NCAA Divsion II football. He's a candidate for the Harlon Hill (Division II's Heisman) Trophy and needs 1,420 yards to become the all-time leading rusher in Shepherd and West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history.

All well and good, but at 5 feet, 8 inches tall, Beane is not likely to be considered a strong NFL candidate. But that doesn't mean he can't cash in.

Although he said Saturday before a scrimmage that he'd like to play football beyond college, Beane figures his best shot at the big bucks is as a sports agent.

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He has 2 1/2 years left at Shepherd, and his degree will be in sports management. If he doesn't get into coaching or on the path to becoming an athletic director, he said he'd consider law school, followed by a career as a sports agent.

"I like money, but I don't like fast cars,'' said Beane, outlining a conservative approach to spending his hoped-for riches. "I'd probably invest my money, do something for my family.''

But he's not ready to cash in the joy of playing football, which he has done for two seasons at Shepherd and at Baltimore City College High School before that.

"I'd like to play maybe in the Canadian Football League,'' he said. "I'd play any football, except Arena Football. It's not real football.''

Shepherd coach Monte Cater, who led Shepherd to a 9-1 record and a conference co-championship last year, is just glad Beane is playing for the Rams now. Beane figures to be the centerpiece of the offense for Shepherd, which was picked to finish first in the conference this season.

"He breaks tackles, bounces off people,'' Cater said. "He has a low center of gravity, and he's hard to knock off his pins. He can make an awful lot out of a little.

"He has not great speed, but it's deceptive. He has very good balance.''

And very good numbers.

Last year, he rushed for 1,590 yards in 10 games, setting a Shepherd single-season record and a WVIAC record for a sophomore. His 159 yards a game ranked him sixth in the nation.

He was consistent, rushing for more than 100 yards in eight straight games, and nine of the 10.

Those numbers are pleasing to Beane, but he said he tries not to focus on his own goals.

"The main goal is to get to the playoffs,'' he said, wincing at the mention of Shepherd's coming within one game of the last year.

The Rams open the season Sept. 5 at Shippensburg. The home opener is Sept. 19 against Clarion.

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