One year away from the sidelines was enough for John Beck, who was hired Monday as head football coach at Grant High in Portland.
“I feel like I’m in a blender, but I’m really excited,” Beck said Tuesday after a day of meeting with coaches, players and administrators at Grant. “I think the opportunity for not just myself but for my family is outstanding. The tradition at Grant High School is kind of overwhelming. They have players in the NFL and NBA, astronauts and public officials, and the connections in the community are outstanding and the academics are top-notch. Even though it’s in the city, the tight-knit element of the community is really what brought me to Grant.”
Beck coached 13 seasons at Crater following a three-year run at North Medford before stepping away from coaching last February. Beck replaces Randy Heath, another former Crater head coach who guided the Generals the past three seasons.
Heath went 15-12 at Grant after being promoted from defensive coordinator. He previously served as an assistant coach at Jesuit for 18 years and was head coach at Crater for four seasons, resigning in November 2001 with an 8-28 record.
“This is a weird, small world,” said Beck. “Randy just kind of wanted to take a break and I totally understand how the grind is on you. He did a good job and he’s a good man and he really loves kids. It’s not like I’m rebuilding, what I’m doing is restructuring and trying to get the program to where it’s consistently good and get the numbers to where we want them to be.”
Grant went 8-3 in 2017 and finished second in the Portland Interscholastic League. The Generals lost in the second round of the state playoffs.
Beck said he will try to finish up his coaching interviews today in hopes of having his staff picked out as soon as possible given the narrow time frame he has until having to get spring and summer plans formulated. He will retain his teaching position at Crater High until the end of the school year, and then move to Portland with his family.
At Crater, Beck compiled a 69-68 record with four conference championships. He guided the Comets to the Class 5A state semifinals for the first time in school history in 2015, finishing a program-best 11-1. Prior to his taking over at Crater, the football program had not had a winning season since 1994, zero playoff berths since 1985 and zero playoff victories.
At North Medford, Beck finished with a 28-7 record after spending 16 years overall as an assistant coach prior to ascending to the role of head coach. He led the Black Tornado to a state runner-up finish in 2003. His career record stands at 97-75.
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