For Episcopal’s Chris Beckman the answer is easy - academics, of course. For 22 years now and with more than 580 wins, Chris has been at the helm of the Knights’ boys basketball team.
Chris is a believer in Episcopal, but not just Knights athletics. He is a proponent of the school’s academic rigor, the small class sizes and the opportunities made available for all students. So much a proponent that his oldest son is an Episcopal grad and his youngest son is currently in the fifth grade.
Chris' stature seems more befitting a baseball guy than what you’d expect on the hardwood. In fact, he says he was a good baseball player, but his heart was committed to basketball as soon as he began dribbling and shooting as a young child. “I was horrible at first,” he says, while seated in an office showcasing newspaper clippings written about his influence on the sport. However, Chris says he just kept trying and eventually fell in love with the sound of the ball going through the net. (Swoosh.)
That love of the “swoosh” led Chris to play for St. Martin’s in New Orleans and later Millsaps College. Fortunately for the Knights his path eventually led him to his current role on Woodland Ridge. Looking back, he remembers proudly that by his second year with Episcopal, the team had a winning season. “People said we couldn’t win and I took that as a challenge,” he says. A challenge he still enjoys even to this day.
Chris says athletics are an extra bonus at Episcopal. In a school boasting a design studio, integrated arts programs and abundant project-based learning units, having a winning basketball team is remarkable. Chris is a realist when it comes to the demands on his players. He knows that they are involved in multiple sports and activities, in addition to the high academic expectations. As a result, he says he keeps it simple.
Less Me - More We is the Knights’ basketball team motto. “If you’re going to work hard and be committed, I’m going to find a spot for you,” says Chris. He says the team is not a place for a loan superstar, but a place where students can be a part of a group and simply enjoy playing basketball.
Thanks to Episcopal’s PreK-3 through Upper School structure, Chris has the opportunity to get to know students and families early on. He enjoys working with students who have attended Episcopal since childhood. Like a proud dad he revels in seeing students grow and develop over the years. He says as players improve every year he’s watched less talented students improve and eventually become starters on good teams by their senior year. Chris says working with the students who have attended Episcopal for so many years makes the entire experience even more meaningful.
For Chris, winning is actually a by-product, a bonus, similar to his philosophy on athletics in general. When looking back on his own athletic experience Chris says in the end you don’t remember every win and every opponent. What you do remember is hanging out with your teammates, singing and dancing on the bus ride home or seeing your non-basketball-playing friends cheering you on in the stands with their faces painted in school colors. This is the feeling Chris hopes his players remember. His philosophy of creating athletes with students who have attended and been engaged in the school since childhood is sure to contribute to that feeling.
Don’t miss the Knights basketball team in action this season. Mark your calendar for these upcoming games:
Friday, January 19th – JV and Varsity at West Feliciana
Monday, January, 22nd – Freshmen at Woodlawn
Tuesday, January, 23rd – JV and Varsity at Jehoveh Jireh
Wednesday, January, 24th –Freshmen versus Woodlawn *Home Game
Friday, January, 26th –JV and Varsity versus Northeast PINK KNIGHT *Home Game
Saturday, January, 27th – JV at St. Michael’s