Aurora Christian’s Don Beebe guided the Eagles to a second straight 3A state football championship this fall, earning a repeat nod as Kane County Chronicle Coach of the Year.
Vying for a third title in 2013 firmly is on Beebe’s agenda. The graduation of his son and the team’s go-to wide receiver, Chad, is not a deterrent. And forget the idea the Eagles rest atop some corner of the football world.
“So many people thought I was going to retire, move on, especially with Chad now moving on,” Don Beebe said. “I coached six years before Chad even played on a varsity team. I got into coaching because I felt the Lord called me into coaching and I felt the Lord called me to mentor young men. Did I get in there to coach my son? No. Now, was that an additive? Of course. But I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere for now, that’s for sure.”
Call that a relief to both the ACS community and a strong band of Kaneland backers who still relish in supporting one of their favorite sons.
A 1983 Kaneland alumnus, Beebe is depicted on a Peterson Field mural centering on his six Super Bowl appearances as an NFL wide receiver in the 1990s. The display was completed in the late summer, or about the time Beebe reached motivational midseason form.
Aurora Christian has finished 13-1 the past two seasons, losing only to four-time defending 5A champion Montini. The results hardly have turned the Eagles bitter.
Before the teams met in Suburban Christian Conference Blue play on Oct. 12, ACS joined Montini in financial and emotional support of Broncos player Johnny Weigert, who was battling chronic myeloid lukemia. Beebe and his son were among a group of Aurora Christian mourners at Weigert’s funeral early last month.
“Coach has always been coach. He doesn’t change,” Eagles senior running back/linebacker Brandon Mayes said. “If you talk to him, he’s still fighting for the Lord. He’s helped me as a player and in being a Christian young man. I can’t thank him enough for his approach and the things he’s done for everyone.”
Beebe admits channeling his passion and motivational level are the biggest challenges.
Occasionally, remembering his playing career helps, but usually he finds renewed purpose simply in being around players. Beebe marveled at the group’s energy when it reconvened for a weightlifting session just days after defeating Tolono Unity for the state title.
“Sometimes it can be when a coach talks and says things, it’s superficial or fake, and the kids don’t really buy it,” Beebe said. “You have to live it yourself. The kids have to see me over there in the offseason as much as they are, and they have to see that passion in you, that you want to win and want to achieve things.”
That urge hasn’t escaped Beebe. For now, he can’t fathom the day when it will.