Something made this play memorable. B.G. Gould has seen about a bazillion football games. Yet, he described one incident in a low-level contest some 50 years ago with such clarity that, well, it had to be the most special of plays.
Gould, known in these parts and others as, simply, “Beeg,” ambassador for all things Medford sports, recalled a sophomore defensive back, apparently with a bit of scrap in him, zeroing in on a ball carrier, then launching, torpedo-like. It was a direct hit. The ball became shrapnel, falling to the ground. The little defender covered it.
A play for the ages? No doubt.
It was Beeg’s moment.
The longtime team manager, scorekeeper, game-management guru, overseer of things outside the lines, played football one season. And he made one very good play. As a listener recounted it, Beeg giggled and nodded and giggled some more.
“That’s right,” he said, gleefully reliving the play. “That’s right, that’s right.”
It was a reaction one would expect. Sports excite Beeg. They have since he was barely free of his toddler years, following his sports-reporter father to games, serving as a ball boy at some, often watching as his dad kept play-by-play and stats.
That would turn out to be his calling, too. Not the newspaper gig, but the keeping of numbers.
Beeg has worked for the Medford School District since 1986. Few things have been as constant as him at sporting events, scoring games, getting to know players and parents, coaches and officials. He greets opposing teams, he aids the media.
He’s been honored by the state baseball coaches association. He’s in the Medford Sports Hall of Fame. He counts sports royalty among his friends. Coach K, Mike Riley, Pat Casey, Ad Rutschman.
It’s appropriate, then, that Beeg is this year’s recipient of the Southern Oregon Sports Commission Sports Advocate Award. He will be honored at the fourth annual awards banquet Thursday at Santo Community Center.
The program will include recognition of the Mail Tribune’s top 10 stories of 2017, the honoring of Dan Bulkley as the inaugural Spirit of Competition Award winner and the announcement of the SOSC’s male and female athletes of the year.
Beeg is touched to be receiving the award.
“I thought it was very nice of the commission and very appreciated,” said the 66-year-old. “I have the utmost respect for the city of Medford and the history behind it, ever since I first knew of it.”
He remembers exactly when that was, too.
Beeg wasn’t Beeg then. He was Bill. More formally, William Edward Gould III. The “B.G.” would come years later and, naturally, sports played a part.
But it was 11-year-old Bill who was awestruck by the overwhelming force that was Medford High sports in its heyday. He was a ball boy for the 1962 Oregon City football team, and the Pioneers came south to play the Black Tornado in the state semifinals.
He remembers well the game. Medford won, 20-7. Its quarterback, Danny Miles, appeared trapped near midfield, but wriggled free and ran to about the 3, setting up a pivotal score. Oregon City was one of three teams to score on Medford that year, Beeg recalled.
But the impressionable thing about that night? The community outpouring.
“Standing on the sidelines and seeing 8,000 to 10,000 people, I’m going, ‘Holy cow, I want to be a part of this program,’” said Beeg.
That would come.
To pursue his craft, father Bill had the family in Prineville, where he worked in radio at the time Beeg was born. Then it was to the newspaper in Roseburg, and ball-boy Beeg chased footballs and delivered players water when the Indians won the 1961 state championship.
The Goulds were there during “The Blast.” In August 1959, a fire at a building supply company ignited a nearby truck carrying two tons of dynamite and 4½ tons of ammonium nitrate. The explosion leveled eight city blocks, killed 14 people and injured many more.
The concussion broke a window of the Gould house, but young Bill slept through it.
“My dad left the newspaper about an hour before, or he would have perished,” said Beeg.
The clan moved to Oregon City, then Klamath Falls, then Fremont, California, and, finally, Medford, in 1967.
Beeg arrived as a sophomore, enrolling at Medford Mid High. He tried his one season of football, and his big play notwithstanding, moved on.
“I decided, well, I might still be a little too small,” he said, “so I decided I’ll be safer standing on the sideline keeping stats for Spieg (coach Fred Spiegelberg).”
He still had a ball in his hands from time to time. It was as a junior that he was “dinking around shooting baskets” and caught the attention of Dave Orr, a senior varsity player.
Orr called Bill Gould “B.G.” but not for the obvious reason. Orr referenced Klamath Union’s B.G. Brosterhous, who would go on to star at Texas.
“He thought I was as good at PE basketball as B.G. Brosterhous,” Beeg said with a chuckle. “It’s stuck ever since.”
That’s what they called him in the spring of his senior year in 1970, when he served as “an honorary trainer,” he said, for the Black Tornado track team, specifically the short relay squad of Bill Singler, Mike O’Grady, Ross Cook and Steve McIntyre.
Beeg rubbed down their ankles and calves for the last three dual meets, he said, “and we kept chopping down the school record.”
The 440-yard relay unit went on to win state with a time of 43.3 seconds.
Upon graduation, Beeg served in the National Guard for six years and worked in a couple sports shops. One he owned with his brother, Curt, but they were displaced by the Rogue Valley Mall in the ’80s. He worked as a salesman at another shop before latching on with the Medford School District in 1986.
For years, he kept the books for South Medford and Don Schneider did so for North Medford. Beeg has also worked each summer for minor league and wood-bat college baseball teams, and he served as a youth umpire for 20 years. He even commuted to be a equipment manager for the Portland Breakers in their lone USFL season in 1985.
A story in the Mail Tribune in August 1999 chronicled Beeg’s 1,000th game as the Southern Oregon A’s/Timberjacks scorekeeper. He went a stretch of 13 years without missing a game, home or away.
Beeg’s iconic persona has mushroomed over the years.
He’s the consummate greeter for visiting teams.
“It gets passed around up north from all these other coaches from Portland, Salem, Eugene,” said Beeg, “that when they come to Medford, they don’t have to worry about knowing where to go. B.G. will be there to meet you and get you in. That’s how I got my relationship with coaches around the state.”
It goes beyond that, of course.
For instance, Beeg went a number of times to watch Medford’s Kyle Singler play at Duke. Coach Mike Krzyzewski sometimes stopped what he was doing to go over and visit with Beeg, who was also afforded rare access to practice.
The last two baseball coaches at Oregon State, Jack Riley and Pat Casey, welcomed Beeg into their programs. He’s gone on road trips with the Beavers to nearly every Pac-12 Conference school. In 2006, when Beeg was honored by the Oregon High School Baseball Coaches Association for his contributions, Casey — fresh off the school’s first College World Series championship — presented the award.
Linfield’s Rutschman is the only college coach to have won national titles in football and baseball.
Beeg contributed to some of them.
Rutschman would set up a recruiting station in a local motel and invite high school players to visit. Beeg often introduced players to the revered coach, and knew well Rutschman’s creed.
“To this day,” said Beeg, “I tell kids to go to the school that’s best for you. Don’t go because your father went there or your mother went there. Go to the school that’s best for you because you’re the one who’s going to be there for four or five years.”
One year he introduced Rutschman to several prominent players. North Medford’s Mike Morrell and Grants Pass’ Joe Smith were among them. Morrell was all-conference in college, and Smith was All-American before eventually becoming the Wildcats’ head coach, a position he still holds.
“Every time I go up there,” said Beeg, “Joe introduces me to the team and tells them about my relationship with the program. It’s been like that since 1976.”
Beeg has enough memories to fill a book, some more meaningful than others.
His top three?
The Kyle Singler-led South Medford team that toppled Kevin Love and Lake Oswego in 2007 for the Panthers’ only boys basketball state championship.
For years, Beeg traveled to the tournament, often keeping stats for Jerry Allen as he broadcast games on a statewide radio network.
“We’d been so close over the years,” Beeg said of local teams at state. “I would go up there and hopefully watch Medford someday, North or South, but watching a Medford team win state. And finally it came.”
Also at the top of his list is the Black Tornado’s football state title his senior year, beating Corvallis, led by Mike Riley and Donnie Reynolds, 27-0. Bill Singler caught three touchdown passes in that game.
The magical 2012 basketball season by the South Medford girls, who went 30-0 and claimed the state crown, is up there, too.
“That was pretty impressive,” he said.
So, too, is Beeg’s involvement in Medford sports.
“I’ve made a lot of friends and a lot of memories,” he said.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or firstname.lastname@example.org