Volleyball: Beck takes reins at Friendswood
This is full circle for Kelly Beck.
She's probably more familiar to Friendswood fans as Kelly Stanton, a former two-sport star in her early days as a Lady Mustang.
Coming into her junior year in 2002-03, the 6-1 Stanton (now Beck) had to choose between basketball and volleyball, and it wasn't going to be easy.
She led the Lady Mustangs basketball team in scoring as a sophomore, and played in the volleyball state tournament as a freshman, and really liked both sports.
There was even a Chronicle feature on her dilemma in June, 2002, and eventually, she went all volleyball before graduating in 2004.
What led to a four-year playing career at Texas A&M, and now being named Friendswood's new head coach, appears to have been an excellent move.
"I played one basketball game my junior year and that was it, and it was volleyball from then on," Beck said, "and it really did work out very well.
"This is a dream come true, first of all being able to come back to Friendswood, and now to become head coach at a school I really have such deep feelings for."
Beck played for former Friendswood coach Tammy Pipkin, who is a sixth-grade principal in the Friendswood ISD.
"I always wanted to be a coach, and I wanted to be a basketball coach at first, but then I played volleyball for coach Pipkin, and it switched to volleyball," said Beck, who is 26.
Following her standout high school and college careers, Beck immediately went to work as an assistant coach at Copperas Cove High School.
"My first day of work was Aug. 8, and that was also my graduation day at Texas A&M, so I didn't even walk across the stage," she said. "They had to mail the diploma, and that was a little disappointing, but being at work was more important."
A move to North Carolina to be near her fiance, now husband, Mike Beck followed, and after another year of teaching special education and coaching, and planning to stay there, the call of Texas was too much, and the couple returned with Beck taking an assistant's position at Friendswood.
With seven-year head coach Jerry Linch's self-appointed move to freshman coaching over the summer, Beck was promoted to the top spot, and the next couple of weeks can't go fast enough for her (workouts begin Aug. 1).
"I knew it would be an awesome opportunity just to ever get back to Friendswood, and now to follow coach Linch, and so many other great coaches, is just a tremendous honor, and I can't wait to get started," she said. "There's been tremendous success at Friendswood, and we have a big job to keep a strong tradition going, and we're ready to get to work.
"I'm so glad that coach Linch will be here with our freshmen, and I know I will turn to him often, and it's nice to have been here last season and know the players, and to have been able to watch them in the offseason."
Linch took two teams to the state tournament, six to the region finals and his other to the region semifinals while going 253-56 overall and 85-3 in district in seven seasons. He won five outright district championships and shared two others.
"I know I have some very big shoes to fill, and again, I'm so glad he's going to still be at Friendswood," Beck said.
Linch has total confidence in Beck.
"She's prepared and has worked hard to become a head coach, and she's going to do a great job," Linch said. "It's always hard to leave, but it makes it easier when you have someone like coach Beck taking over, and you know it's all going to be in very good hands."
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