Cullowhee, N.C. – A Western Carolina University baseball alumnus is coming home – again. A three-time All-Southern Conference selection and the 2003 SoCon Baseball Player of the Year, veteran assistant coach Alan Beck returns to Catamount Country as the baseball program’s 11th head coach announced today by WCU Director of Athletics Alex Gary.

Beck will be formally introduced as WCU’s head baseball coach today (Friday, June 10) in a special introductory press conference held in the Ramsey Center Hospitality Room. The press conference is open to the public and will be streamed online through WCU’s YouTube page and social media outlets, presented by the U.S. Army.

Beck, who has twice been an assistant coach in the Catamount baseball dugout during his career from 2005-06 and 2009-15, returns to Cullowhee to fill the vacancy left when Bobby Moranda retired from collegiate baseball following the conclusion of the 2022 season after guiding the program for the past 15 seasons.

“Alan Beck is a name that resonates within the history and storied tradition of Catamount baseball. It’s with great pleasure today to name him our next head baseball coach at Western Carolina,” said Gary. “As a former teammate, I remember Alan’s leadership. He led by example and his work ethic was unmatched. He was committed to the game and his confidence was infectious – our teams took on the attitude of our leaders. He brings that same approach to coaching and that’s what we want for Catamount baseball. We are very excited to welcome Alan, his wife Kim, and sons Easton and Eli back home to Cullowhee and Western Carolina University.”

He added, “The respect Western Carolina baseball carries is significant and was evidenced by the level of interest we received from qualified coaches across the nation. With all the interest we received, I felt strongly that this is a position that needed to stay in the Catamount Family. I feel 100-percent confident in where we landed with Alan Beck.”

Beck returns to Cullowhee after spending the last seven seasons at Georgia Southern University coaching alongside fellow WCU alum Rodney Hennon, who had recruited Beck to play at WCU while the Catamount skipper. As the associate head coach, Beck was primarily responsible for the Eagles’ hitting in Statesboro. He was a part of the 41-win 2022 Eagle squad that was one of 16 teams nationally to host an NCAA Regional – a first for Georgia Southern which returned to the postseason for the first time since 2014 when it was a member of the Southern Conference.

“I’m honored to be the next head baseball coach at Western Carolina University,” said Beck. “Cullowhee is a very special place and I cherish my time as a player and an assistant coach. My family – Kim, my boys, and I – can’t wait to lead this program.”

Last season, Beck saw the Eagles’ offense have yet another strong season, boasting a Sun Belt Conference-leading .296 team batting average and ranked inside the Top 50 nationally. Finishing second in the SBC and advancing to its sixth SBC Championship game, GSU scored 441 runs, third-most in the SBC, and led the league with 615 total base hits. He coached conference RBI leader Noah Ledford who finished the year with 70 runs driven in, while also ranking tied for fourth with teammate Jesse Sherrill with 79 base hits – 17 of which were homers by Ledford.

In Beck’s first season at Georgia Southern in 2016, the Eagles saw a 20-percent increase in run production in a 36-win season. The 2019 GSU squad saw another offensive surge, scoring 400 runs over 59 games while batting .280 as a team. Steven Curry won the Sun Belt Conference regular-season hitting crown and the Eagles claimed the program’s first Sun Belt East Division Championship. In 2021 under Beck’s guidance, Mason McWhorter broke the school single-season record for doubles, while also posting the program’s first cycle since 2011. GSU led the SBC in team batting average in 2021 with two players – McWhorter (84) and Christian Avant (78) – who led the conference in average and base hits with McWhorter, who also earned All-America honors, pacing the SBC in home runs and total bases.

Over his seven seasons on staff at Georgia Southern, the Eagles posted seven winning records including six, 30+ win seasons, and had an 11-5 mark in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.

Prior to making the move to Statesboro, Beck helped guide Western Carolina through an era of dominance in the Southern Conference which included regular-season championships in 2013 and 2014 and helped recruit much of the team that won the 2016 SoCon tournament and advanced to the NCAA Clemson Regional.  Over his seven years, he worked with six All-America selections, and 31 All-SoCon honorees, and had 14 players drafted including 12 who were drafted for the first time as collegiate upperclassmen.

In 2013 the Catamounts had one of the nation’s most prolific offenses as WCU led the nation in home runs per game, ranked third in slugging percentage, and ninth in scoring. The team went 23-7 in league play to set a school record and led the league in batting average. Over three years (2011-13) the Catamounts were ranked in the top-50 of every major offensive category.

On the recruiting trail, Beck has become adept at finding talent, bringing in some of the Catamounts’ biggest stars, including: Jacob Hoyle (Freshman All-American, All-SoCon), Tyler White (All-American, SoCon Player of the Year), and Bradley Strong (All-American, All-SoCon). Additionally, Beck also worked with Ross Heffley who was named SoCon Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American in 2009 and a first-team All-America selection as a junior in 2011.

Beck returned to Western Carolina in 2008 after having served as the first-ever Director of Baseball Operations under former Catamount skipper, Todd Raleigh, at the University of Tennessee.

Before joining the staff at UT, Beck spent the 2007 season as an assistant coach at Young Harris College in Young Harris, Ga. While coaching hitters and infielders, Beck mentored a club that led all Georgia junior colleges in 10 different offensive statistical categories. The 2007 Mountain Lions won the Region XVII regular season and tournament titles, in addition to claiming the district championship. Beck’s lone season at YHC was highlighted by the school’s first all-time appearance in the Junior College World Series.

Beck ended his four-year playing career as one of the most outstanding hitters in both Western Carolina and Southern Conference history. The three-time All-SoCon selection that includes a pair of first-team honors continues to rank on both the school and league career top-10 lists in several statistical categories. He currently ranks third in career runs (216), tied for third in career RBI (222), fourth in career total bases (488), tied for sixth in career walks (132), seventh in career hits (285), tied for seventh in career doubles (60), and seventh in career home runs (45), while posting a career .341 batting average.

Those numbers additionally ranked on the SoCon all-time lists as he ended his career ranked in the Top 10 in RBI, total bases, walks, runs scored, base hits, doubles, total at-bats, and home runs.

En route to winning SoCon Player of the Year honors in 2003, Beck led the SoCon in home runs (18), RBIs (71), runs scored (67), and walks (45), while ranking 30th in the NCAA in homers and tallying seven assists from left field. He was named to the TIAA/CREF Southern Conference All-Academic Team for Spring Sports, was a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Week honoree and was selected second-team All-Atlantic Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

The Baltimore Orioles selected Beck in the 16th round (464th overall pick) of the 2003 MLB draft, and he played for the Bluefield Orioles and Class A short-season Aberdeen IronBirds in 2003 before attending spring training in 2004. His professional career was cut short, however, after he suffered a severe wrist injury.

It was following his injury that Beck returned to his alma mater in 2005 as a member of the Catamount baseball coaching staff, working with the outfielders. He helped mentor outfielder Steven Strausbaugh to 2005 SoCon Freshman of the Year honors. The following year, Strausbaugh led the SoCon in home runs and RBIs and was tabbed first-team All-SoCon, and was eventually drafted in the 37th round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.


In the summer of 2006, Beck served as manager of the Thomasville Hi-Toms of the Coastal Plains League. Under his direction, the HiToms not only won a then franchise-record 33 regular-season games, but also the club’s first-ever league championship. The team finished with an impressive overall record of 37-23, leading the Coastal Plain League in hits, doubles, home runs, and total bases.

Beck completed his undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University in 2004, receiving his B.S. in Sport Management. He later attained his Master’s degree during his first two-year coaching stint at his alma mater, earning an M.A. in Education in 2006.

Married in August 2008, Beck, and his wife Kim – a 2001 graduate of Western Carolina and former cheerleading captain and later head coach – have two sons, Easton and Eli.

The Alan Beck File:

FAMILY:

Wife, Kim Cherry Beck

Sons, Easton and Eli

EDUCATION:

Western Carolina University, B.S. in Sport Management, 2004

Western Carolina University, M.A. in Education, 2006

PLAYING EXPERIENCE:

Western Carolina University, 1999-2003

– Four-year letter-winner

– Three-time All-Southern Conference selection – 1st team in 2001, 2003; 2nd team in 2002

– Southern Conference Player of the Year (2003)

– Three-time SoCon Player of the Week (2001, twice in 2003)

Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles – 16th round (464th overall pick)

– Played for the Bluefield Orioles and the Class A short-season Aberdeen IronBirds in 2003

BASEBALL COACHING EXPERIENCE:

Western Carolina University, Volunteer Assistant Coach, 2005-06

Thomasville Hi-Toms (Coastal Plain League), Head Coach, Summer 2006

Young Harris College, Assistant Coach, 2007

University of Tennessee, Director of Baseball Operations, 2008

Western Carolina University, Assistant Coach 2009-15

– Was a part of WCU’s back-to-back regular-season SoCon championships in 2013 and 2014

Georgia Southern University, Associate Head Coach, 2016-22

– Seven winning seasons as an assistant coach on staff

– Helped the Eagles to six, 30-win seasons

– Part of returning GSU to NCAA Regional play in 2022, the first time since 2014

– Georgia Southern hosted an NCAA Regional in 2022 for the first time in program history

What they are saying about Alan Beck:

Rodney Hennon, head coach at Georgia Southern; WCU baseball alum and former head coach at Western Carolina:

“Alan Beck is an outstanding coach and a leader, but an even better person. Coach Beck will take tremendous pride in leading the Catamount baseball program and will put together a tough, competitive, disciplined team that will represent the proud Catamount tradition both on and off the field. He will impact the lives of Catamount players beyond just the baseball field. Alan, Kim, Easton, and Eli are great additions back to the Western Carolina family and Cullowhee community. I am so happy for the Beck family and Western Carolina University!”

Todd Raleigh, WCU baseball alum and former head coach at Western Carolina and Tennessee:

“Alan Beck is a great hire. He is a high-character guy with a great passion for his university and for the game of baseball. This is home for him and his family. They bleed purple and that never hurts. He was one of the best to ever wear the uniform at WCU and the future is exciting.”

Bobby Moranda, former head baseball coach at Western Carolina:

“First off, I think Alan Beck is an excellent choice as the next head coach at Western Carolina – he was my first choice, for sure! The thing about Alan is that he truly bridges the gap between the last four decades at WCU and enhances the ‘Leggett Legacy’ deep within Catamount baseball. He was recruited by and later worked for Rodney Hennon, who played for both Jack Leggett and Keith LeClair at WCU. Alan was coached by and worked with Todd Raleigh, who was Keith’s teammate and played for Coach Leggett. And of course, Alan was my right-hand man for seven seasons as an assistant coach and coordinated the recruiting of three Southern Conference championship teams. I know that the program is in great hands with Alan and his family. He will do an outstanding job for Catamount baseball.”