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HCC shoe fitting fine for Beck

June 13, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Brian Beck slipped on some big shoes on Wednesday, but he plans on filling any roominess with a firm stance and some strong footing in the community.

Beck was named Hagerstown Community College's athletic director, vowing to make sure the school's sports programs make an impact in the Hagerstown community while continuing the level of excellence started by his predecessor.

Beck will be replacing Jim Brown, who announced his retirement as AD, basketball coach and athletic complex director in April after 23 years at the school. He inherits some high standards which he says still have room for improvement.

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"It's overwhelming at times," Beck said. "A lot of people will compare me to coach Brown. He's done some things that I can't do, but there are a lot of things out there that I can do well."

Beck inherits what outgoing school president Dr. Norman Shea called "the best program on the Eastern Seaboard." Under Brown, HCC's program has expanded to 13 sports with the participation of more than 150 athletes.

"Today is a special day for me," said Brown, who officially retires on June 30. "It's not often you are able to mentor your successor like I have for the last four or five years. He'll work hard and will get the job done. It's with a great deal of pleasure that I pass to torch to Brian."

With it, Beck plans to stoke a smoldering home fire. Despite recent successes on a national front, HCC sometimes gets lost in a crowded local athletic menu.

"I want to strengthen our community approach to the program," Beck said, referring to the introduction of outreach program geared toward athletes working with area children. "We have some quality athletes in our program. We want to try and have a program in place where people can call us."

Meanwhile, Beck says he won't forget the "athlete" part of student-athlete at HCC.

"I want to make sure our athletic team remain competitive," Beck said. "We want to make sure we have a full team (of players)."

Beck was one of two finalists interviewed on Tuesday by a school search committee. He accepted the job Wednesday morning.

Beck began his career at HCC in 1995, working part time as a facility aide and physical education instructor. He became assistant director of the HCC athletic complex in 1996 and is also the Hawks' softball coach.

Now, he is head of all of HCC's athletics programs. The required responsibility was immediate.

"It's a great opportunity," Beck said. "I've worked towards this. It's a little overwhelming. But right after I met with (dean of students Dr. Carl Galligan) this morning, a woman in the department had heard I was getting the job and came over and grabbed my arm because there was a problem we needed to take care of right away."

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