Former Bobcat Basketball Player And Coach Joins Allegheny College Staff (08/21/19)

(All photos submitted) Above: Coach Bean on the bench with the Cats.

Former Clarion Bobcat Basketball player and coach Greg Bean recently named the top assistant for the Allegheny College Gators basketball team.

Allegheny College, located in Meadville, is an NCAA Division III school. The Gators compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) against seven Ohio schools: Denison, Hiram, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Wittenberg and Wooster, and two schools from Indiana: Depauw and Wabash.

Allegheny Head Coach Bob Simmons had this to say about having Coach Bean joining his staff, “I am very excited to work with Coach Bean and have him help mentor our men’s basketball student-athletes.

“He is extremely respected in the coaching community both for his work on and off the court. Everywhere Coach Bean has been, he has won in the classroom and on the court. He is a man of integrity, passion, and a wealth of basketball knowledge. I look forward to great things for Gator basketball!”

Coach Bean with former Bobcat Jonathan Smith

Coach Bean will have a variety of duties with the Gators. Coach Simmons shared, “Coach Bean will be our recruiting coordinator which means he will set our recruiting calendar, coordinate all of our on campus visits, calls, emails and mail-outs. 

“He will also have academic support responsibilities which means he will meet with 5 of our men on a regular basis.  He will prepare scouting reports on 12 of our opponents as well as work with our perimeter players and coordinate our team travel and coordinate our social media pages.”

Coach Simmons concluded, “I am very happy to welcome Coach Bean to Allegheny College and our Men’s Basketball family.  I am looking forward to working with him to help our men achieve their goal of winning a North Coast Athletic Conference championship while earning an Allegheny College degree.”

Coach Bean is looking forward to this new adventure. “I am excited for the opportunity Head Coach Bob Simmons has given me. Allegheny is an incredible institution that values success in the classroom and on the court.

“I have had a few friends that have attended that speak very highly of Allegheny College and the Athletics Department.

“The staff has done an excellent job in bringing in quality people. I am excited for the challenge of helping elevate this program.”

He is impressed with the NCAC, as well. Coach Bean stated, “The North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) is an outstanding league with two of the most successful basketball programs in NCAA Division III history.”

Coach Bean had a very good impression of Allegheny, early on. “One thing that stood out in my interview at Allegheny was the people of the college community. They were passionate about Allegheny College and there was excitement in their voices when they talked about men’s basketball.” 

Now the real work begins for the 2019-20 campaign. “Being so new, we are still organizing duties among the staff but recruiting will be a big part of the job. Being present and seen by as many recruits and new faces as possible is probably the primary objective at this stage before our players return from Summer Break,” Coach Bean said.

(Photo by Mike Schnell) Coaching the Bulldogs

Coach Bean has had quite an odyssey, in his basketball quest.

Coach Bean graduated from Clarion Area High School in 2003, where he played for Coach Rob Leone and Assistant Jess Quinn on the Bobcats’ last District Nine Championship team.

Sports runs in the Bean family. “My mom was a professor and the gymnastics coach at Clarion University. My dad ran the scoreboard for home men’s and women’s basketball games at Clarion U while I was growing up. I think being exposed to collegiate athletics at an early age really impacted my life.

“My sister Erin bounced around in Division I at Tennessee Tech, the Northeast Conference and the University of South Florida. She is now the Assistant Athletic Director-External Operations at Saint Leo University, just outside Tampa, Florida and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

“I think we both owe our passion for athletics to our parents and extended family.”

After high school he attended Ohio Northern University to play basketball and major in mechanical engineering, but was eventually cut from the basketball team and he didn’t care for physics.

He transferred back home to Clarion University and taking the advice of then Clarion Area athletic director Keith Murtha, began helping out with the Bobcats’ Basketball program. Coach Bean said, “(He) knew way more about me than I did myself. As the saying goes, ‘Those who can’t do, teach.’ I couldn’t do either of those so I decided to coach basketball as something to do and stay around the game.” He was also a member of the Clarion University Women’s Basketball practice team at that time.

He was the Assistant Varsity and Head Junior Varsity Coach, for the Bobcats, under Jim Harmon from 2005-2010.

Greg at the line for the Bobcats

Coach Bean said, “Looking back, all these signs pointed to trying (coaching basketball) as a profession. I struggled with finding a passion until my time at Redbank Valley. Everyone’s path is different, but the perseverance I have learned during my journey has made me who I am.” He shared a quote, “If you’re good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can’t be wrong.” – Sherman Alexie

A highlight of his coaching career came early on. “One of the fondest memories was during my first game as a coach at my Alma Mater. We played Shaler High School. A scheduling conflict had us playing the JV game in the Auxiliary gym and my great uncle, Frank Truitt showed up unannounced to the game. He won a National Championship at Ohio State as an assistant coach in 1960 (Bobby Knight, John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas). He was the Head Coach at LSU (Before Pistol Pete) and Kent State. (I believe he has a Wikipedia page). He walked over after the game with a notebook full of notes that I still have to this day. Just was special to be able to share a few moments and talk hoops with him.”

Coach Bean also has fond memories of times with some of his pals from high school. “(I) graduated with lifelong friends. We would still hoop together every Sunday up until I left Redbank Valley in 2015. The impact that basketball and our coaches had on us was unusual for basketball at Clarion Area. We were fortunate to have some guys on that team that were committed to winning and focused on basketball.”

Following his time at Clarion Area, Coach Bean moved on to neighboring Redbank Valley, where he was the head coach from 2010-2015.

The Bulldogs won the 2014-15 District Nine Class AA Championship (first District Championship since 1980) after finishing second the previous season. They were 2014-15 PIAA Class AA quarterfinalists.

Redbank was the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference (KSAC) South Division Champions and Conference Runner-up (Program’s 1st and 2nd appearances).

Coach Bean shared this about his time at Redbank Valley: “(I) was fortunate to have some fantastic people come through the gym at Redbank. I know the success came in the last two years there, but the kids that showed up to practice in the first few years really set the table to make it easier.

“Tom Logan was the Athletic Director who hired me. Brian Dougherty was the school board member in the interviews. Roddy Hartle was the athletic director during the last 3 years.

“I think the most telling part of the years at Redbank was how many guys would come back and play “Sunday Hoops” with us after they graduated. It was kind of a rite of passage to get to play with the guys I had been playing with for the majority of my life. Roddy Hartle and Pat Craig were always willing to help and were both teachers at the school. I brought Doug Dorio as an assistant coach my first year with me from Clarion Area while we both finished up school. Mike Sherry was an assistant with me my second year after his playing career was over at Clarion U.

(Photo by Kennedy Heeter) Passing on basketball wisdom at Waynesburg

“I also had Cody Renninger who played at Clarion Area with Coach Harmon and myself help out that year. Vinnie Granato and Jon Joy did some neat things while they were on staff. Brandon Bain who played his senior year with me my first year at Redbank, was my assistant coach my last two seasons. AJ McCrea and Mike Dawson were also alums that helped out the last two seasons. Vinnie is an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team at Goshen College in Indiana. Mike Sherry went on to be an assistant coach at Chatham University after our time together. All of those guys deserve a lot of the credit for helping the day to day to really make an impact on that program.

“Chris Edmonds who is the girls coach now at redbank as well as so many other parents that helped with the Elementary program really helped start a skill base in the younger ages that will hopefully continue to raise the level of both programs there! The parents and boosters at Redbank were unbelievable in keeping me organized and connecting the dots. We were always able to outfit the players with some neat stuff and were always able to fundraise enough funds to do so. The connections I still have with former players, coaches, parents and staff from Redbank are very special to me.”

Coach Bean had a number of players win post season awards. And he was awarded two pretty prestigious awards: the 2014-15 All American Awards & Engraving/ Coach of the Year and the 2014-15 Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express Coach of the Year.

Following his tenure at Redbank Valley Coach Beam moved on to Medaille College, a Division III school at Buffalo, where he was an Assistant Coach 2015-2018 (Associate Head Coach 2016-2018, Head JV Coach 2015-2016).

Of the move to Medaille, Coach Bean shared, “That last year at Redbank I caught the bug. I wanted to see if coaching was really for me and could I do it for a living.

“I am very fortunate Head Coach Mike Blaine took a chance on me. He played at Johns Hopkins  with Clarion Area grad Matt Righter (son of Clarion U Head Coach Dr. Ron Righter) and worked Clarion University basketball camps. So when my resume came across his desk, he called Coach Al Modrejewski about me. IT IS ALL ABOUT CONNECTIONS!! I had never really been to Buffalo. I had to work 3-4 jobs to be able to live but when you’re chasing your passion it is all worth it.”

The Mavericks won the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) regular and post season titles in 2017 They received an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Bean said that “NCAA Division III has the most schools in any division of the NCAA (Over 400) and 2017 was the first year that they allowed 64 teams into the tournament so there were 43 automatic bids and 21 at-large bids. Your chances for an at-large bid are slim.”

That team had some great camaraderie. “What was special about that year were the relationships between our staff and the relationships I had with our players. I think the special teams at any level are outstanding people, outstanding in the classroom and outstanding on the court. That year we had our highest GPA during my time, won the most and had an entire team of young men with great character. The stories that I exchange daily with some part of that team are unbelievable. You’d think we were still in the middle of that season. The people with that group were SPECIAL!”

In Coach Bean’s last year at Medaille, the Mavericks lost in the conference tournament semifinals. They received a bid to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament (The Division III version of Division I NIT).  Coach Bean shared, “I’ve said it since I was a player at Clarion Area, any time you are playing basketball in March you are pretty good. Another postseason opportunity with another GREAT group of guys (we had only lost one player off of our championship team). I still communicate with those guys on the regular.”

He shared about a Clarion Area connection at Medaille. “Another piece to that team was another Clarion Area product Jonathan Smith. I remember getting a phone call from Erika Bevevino saying ‘I just saw this kid at one of our volleyball games. He just transferred in and looks the part.’ Drew Vandermeer (Another Clarion Area grad who I coached) was helping out with the boys’ basketball team that year called me about a week later and said the same thing.

“I made a special trip home during the week that fall to be able to check out an open gym with Coach Quinn and see Jon for the first time. It was a little difficult to get him to open up at first, but after some time we were in constant communication.

“Recruiting is arguably the most important part of my job and I try to establish a great relationship with a prospective student athlete first and foremost. Basketball is a sport that spans both semesters of college. There is a lot of time over winter break where you are only with your teammates and coaches. You need to have close relationships.

“Jon came to Medaille as a freshman during our championship season. He was a great piece to have and could impact games by rebounding the basketball.

“I remember him coming up to visit Medaille with his Mom and brother. His brother got out of the car and recognized me from the Clarion University Rec Center and his mom had all the hand written notes I had sent to Jon that year. I knew we were going to get along great after that.”

From the big Western New York city of Buffalo to the small Southwestern Pennsylvania town of Waynesburg: Coach Bean moved on to Waynesburg University as an Assistant Coach for the 2018-19 season. Waynesburg is a member of the Division III Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC).

Again, a past connection came into play. Coach Bean said, “Waynesburg provided a unique opportunity for me. I had met Head Coach Mark Christner during his recruitment of Jake Dougherty at Redbank Valley. He called me in April and said he had a position open and thought I would be a great fit. I had kept in contact with Coach Christner during my time at Medaille and already had a great relationship with him. It was a no brainer to get a little closer to home and have the chance to impact a program.”

And how often does this happen?! “What made Waynesburg even more special was the opportunity to get to work with two guys I had coached at Redbank Valley in Sam Heeter and Jake Dougherty. It was really neat to be able to expand my relationships with those guys as their coach on a collegiate level.

“Its interesting though, we have so many restrictions set by the NCAA, that I was around them in the gym more when I was at Redbank Valley. It allowed me to get a first hand look at how much they had grown off the court, in the three years we were apart.

“Waynesburg had some tremendous people. The other coaches in the department and our assistant chaplain are people I will continue to build with from afar.”

So now it is on to a new adventure for Coach Bean. Greg we wish you all the best at Allegheny. You make us Clarion Proud!!!!