Beloved Saints coach John Beerman retires
For Saint Paul Lutheran High School students, athletes and fans, the thought of a girls basketball game without head coach John Beerman roaming the sidelines is a beleaguering thought. But after 25 seasons, Beerman has elected to ride into the sunset and retire.
It’s been one heck of a ride for Beerman, who started teaching English and history at SPLHS in the 1994-1995 school year. That same season, Beerman took over the Lady Saints basketball team. They would finish with a 21-6 record, good for second in the I-70 Conference.
“I inherited a senior-laden team that played well together and really worked well together,” Beerman said.
A beloved pillar of the Concordia community, Beerman rejoices in knowing his teams always gave their all for him and the program.
“I’m proud of the fact that our teams played hard every night and, regardless of the outcome, they always showed up the next day and worked hard at practice to improve themselves and the team,” Beerman said.
Under Beerman, the Lady Saints have had some of the most dominant teams in the state, practically establishing a dynasty in the late 1990s and early 2000s, beginning with a district championship in the 1996-1997 season.
“That was the first of six straight district championships for the Lady Saints,” Beerman explained. “We were 1A at that time and competed on a level field. Since the inception of the multiplier and getting bumped up to the 3A level, we’ve been competitive but have not been able to win another district championship. We play hard, but the cards haven’t fallen our way.”
Despite this, he broke 200 career wins on Jan. 2, 2015, and has coached some very talented Lady Saints teams with a number of assistant coaches, including Tiffany Bennett and Eric Gramenz, his current corps.
If you don’t know Beerman but think you recognize him from a different sideline, that is entirely possible, as he was head baseball coach for a half-decade and was an assistant coach with the football team for roughly six years, as well.
Sports have been one of Beerman’s backbones his entire life. The Concordia High School graduate had the opportunity to play four years of basketball under the late coach whose name CHS’s gymnasium bears, Artie Elwell.
“I learned so much from him,” Beerman said.
He also played two years of baseball before the program was dropped, and then played football when it was incepted.
Following graduation, Beerman attended the University of Central Missouri — Central Missouri State University, as it was known until recent years — for a year, where he spent a season as a walk-on, and then transferred to St. Paul Junior College for a year.
Following his stay at SPJC, Beerman relocated his studies to Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Neb., and — like another beloved and long-tenured member of the Saint Paul family, head football coach Larry Laubenstein — played football for the Bulldogs before his graduation.
Beerman said he will miss coaching, but believes it’s time to have someone else take the reins for the Lady Saints.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 25 years of coaching basketball at Saint Paul,” Beerman said. “Teaching the game and interacting with my players has been such a joy. To see them mature into fine young Christian women, many of them with children, is so special and such a joy.”
Despite the lifestyle change that inevitably accompanies the decision to retire, Beerman won’t be hard to find.
“As far as the plan for retirement, I’m going to work part-time for a year in administration at Saint Paul. Jan (Beerman’s wife) and I have plans to do some traveling, visiting our children who live in the area and watching our grandchildren participate in their activities.
He also wants to maintain his role in the community.
“I want to remain active in supporting the Saint Paul ministry, the ministry of my church and with some volunteer activities,” Beerman said.
While Beerman will be missed, you can expect to see the vibrant man with the soft smile at area sporting events moving forward, albeit now the memories he will be making will be with Jan.
“I am so thankful for all the support given to me over the years,” Beerman said. “My wife has been travelling to games alone many times; now I can be with her. We enjoy watching sporting activities, so I’m sure we’ll continue that. We continue to pray that God would bless us in the future.”
The Concordian would also like to congratulate Coach Beerman on his retirement. May God bless you as you transition to the next chapter in your life!