After six seasons trying to turn the Desert Mirage baseball team into a consistent contender in the De Anza League – four of which while watching his son Darian on the Shadow Hills squad cruise into the playoffs each year – head coach Jason Beck had decided he was done with losing and had thrown in the towel for coaching for the foreseeable future.
Until his dream job came calling.
“I was perfectly fine with taking a break, recharging my batteries and doing other things, and then a couple weeks into summer break, I got a text basically asking me if I’d consider applying for the open position at Shadow Hills High School,” Beck said.
Even still, he took 10 days to mull it over with his son and his wife. Six seasons where his teams combined for just 11 wins will take that kind of toll on your psyche.
But his son, who’s now playing baseball for Fullerton after a star-studded four seasons at Shadow Hills, urged his father to take the chance to take over a program he already knows so well.
“He told me ‘You’ve gained instant credibility with a reputable program right away’ and knowing he was a part of that program, he gave me his confidence in knowing I’d be able to continue what Teg (Diffey) started,” the elder Beck said.
So now, when the Knights take the field as the newest member of the uber-competitive Desert Valley League next spring, Beck will be in the dugout as one of the Knights’ newest members, hoping to carry on a playoff tradition he’d only experienced from the bleachers.
Shadow Hills athletic director Ron Shipley said he wasn’t deterred by Beck’s lack of success at Desert Mirage. Because the Knights’ new baseball coach had a son on the team for four years, the elder Beck had become a familiar face and name to those closest to the team, earning him the credibility that no amount of wins would produce.
Now, with the tools that a perennial postseason contender can provide, Shipley expects Beck to continue the traditions that Diffey began six years ago.
“The good thing he’s got going for him is he has a great team coming back. I think they may have lost only one or two starters from that team, so he has a great core coming back,” Shipley said. “He was at an unsuccessful program, so I think he’s excited to get into a place where he has a lot of support, a lot of talent and a great group of parents.”
Because of Beck’s familiarity with the program, he knows full well that what Diffey did has worked, and all he hopes to do is push forward a program that has struggled to get past the second round of the playoffs to the next level.
“The wheels are spinning for me, knowing the kids and knowing how the program has been progressing along,” Beck said. “By no means do I want to come in and rock the boat or turn things around. … I’ve seen what he’s done there and what he did with my son, and it’s proven. The program gets results, and I want to keep moving in the direction that Teg put this program in.”