Tim Beck faced an immediate challenge after Coastal Carolina announced on Dec. 4 that he was the school’s new head football coach, replacing Jamey Chadwell, who departed for the same job at Liberty.
A week later, Coastal Carolina’s three-time Sun Belt Player of the Year, quarterback Grayson McCall, announced that he was entering the transfer portal.
Nothing like coming onto the job with a major challenge.
Yet Beck, who had a long history of success as an offensive coordinator, most recently at North Carolina State, showed he had some recruiting skills as well.
Even though McCall was rumored to be an SEC target, he announced on Jan. 1 that he was withdrawing from the portal and would return to Coastal Carolina.
“A lot of people say who the No. 1 recruit in the nation is,” Beck said in an interview with HERO Sports. “For us, we got the No. 1 recruit in the nation as far as I am concerned.”
So much of a coach’s job is not only recruiting high school players but re-recruiting the ones on their own roster. Beck couldn’t be more thrilled to work with his No. 1 recruit McCall as he enters his debut college head coaching season.
“I am really excited for the opportunity to be around him, coach him and hopefully give him some pointers on how to play the position better and to continue to enhance his game and to help him have an opportunity to further his career,” Beck said. “I thought the world of him watching him play and thought he was a great player from afar at NC State.”
Beck felt that way for good reason. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound McCall has thrown for 8,086 yards, 78 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions. He has done this primarily over the last three seasons after attempting just four passes as a freshman.
There could be parallels between Beck’s new and old quarterback.
Beck just had success working with Devin Leary at North Carolina State.
In 2021, the 6-foot-1, 217-pound Leary, who transferred this winter to Kentucky, had one of the best seasons in NC State history, passing for 3,433 yards, 35 touchdowns, and just five interceptions.
Leary was limited to six games last season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. Beck sees similarities between the two.
“Both are students of the game and love football,” Beck said. “They love watching film, they love the game plan aspect and how to beat opponents and they love learning the game and studying defenses and both are great leaders.”
He does see one difference between the two.
“Grayson runs better than Devin and Devin probably has a stronger arm, but both guys are really tough players, physically and mentally tough,” Beck said.
Coastal Carolina should continue to be a high-scoring offense, especially with the return of receivers Sam Pinckney (71, receptions, 996 yards, three touchdowns) and Jared Brown (49 receptions, 789 yards, six touchdowns).
“We have dynamic players at the skill positions,” he said. “The biggest thing for us is defensively, where we are looking to improve.”
The Chanticleers were 13th in the Sun Belt in scoring defense, allowing 31.8 ppg.
Still, this is a team that should be a viable Sun Belt contender after a 9-4 season in which Coastal Carolina lost to Troy, 45-26, in the Sun Belt championship game.
Beck doesn’t get to ease into his head coaching debut. The Chanticleers will open their season on Sept. 2 at UCLA.
Beck, 57, has certainly paid his dues. He has been a head high school coach at three different schools and a college assistant at eight schools.
He returned to college coaching for good in 2005 as receivers coach at Kansas.
Since then, he has spent time at Nebraska, Ohio State, Texas, and North Carolina State, where he was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the past three years.
The fact that he had to wait so long to be a college head coach, makes it that much more special.
“I am very appreciative and don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “You envision these opportunities and plan them out, how things are going to be done and then you get that opportunity.”
And it is a job that has taken many years and many people to help him get to this point.
“This has come from a lot of sacrifice for me, my family, my kids and just we moved a lot to create this opportunity,” he said. “And so, we’re going to do the best to treat people the right way and do it the right way, is really important.”