Greg Beals, a Springfield, Ohio, native with 19 years of coaching experience, including eight years as head coach at Ball State where he won 243 games and three Mid American Conference West Division championships, is in his third season as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Beals was named to his position June 17, 2010, following a national search to replace the winningest coach in school history, Bob Todd.
In his first season in Columbus, Beals guided the Buckeyes to a 26-27 overall record, 13-11 in Big Ten Conference play, to earn a No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Under his tutelage freshman 1B/RHP Josh Dezse garnered Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and garnered Freshman All-America Laurels from the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball. Along with Dezse, three other Buckeyes earned All-Big Ten honors including senior right-hander Drew Rucinski and freshmen Tim Wetzel and Greg Greve.
Last season, Beals led the Buckeyes to a 33-27 record and a second Big Ten Tournament appearance in as many seasons. Under Beals' guidance, right-hander Jaron Long was named first team All-Big Ten and another right-hander, John Kuchno, was drafted in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Beals, who also guided Ball State to the first MAC Tournament crown in school history, to perhaps the biggest win in school history - a 2006 NCAA Lexington Regional win over No. 1 seed Kentucky - and who was named the "best game coach" in the MAC in 2009 by Collegebaseballinsider.com, thus became only the fourth coach in the last 50 years and only the 11th coach in 127 years of baseball at one of the nation's most comprehensive universities.
This hands-on teacher, team-builder, program-builder, family man - he and his wife Kathy, a four-year basketball letterwinner at Kent State, have three daughters: Kayla, Amber and Morgan - and administrator was clearly the right choice to assume responsibilities of coaching the oldest sport on Ohio State's campus.
During the interview process, Beals left the search committee somewhat stunned and speechless for a few moments when he initially introduced himself to the group. He spoke of families, including his personal family, his Athletics Department family and the family of young men he developed at Ball State. He also spoke of his career in the sport as a player and coach, and his strong desire - no, make that life-long dream bordering on passion - to be the next baseball coach at the state school located just an hour from his home town.
The committee of Ohio State administrators plus senior baseball players Tyler Engle and Dean Wolosiansky then proceeded to learn much more about this Springfield, Ohio native who has bachelor's (1995; human movement studies) and master's (1999; sports administration) degrees from Kent State, where he also played four years of baseball.
The committee liked what it heard, it liked the sincerity of his delivery, his enthusiasm for engaging various audiences - the surrounding community, alumni, the University as a whole and potential recruits - and his goal of taking Ohio State back to the College World Series.
"I cannot tell you how excited I am about this opportunity," Beals said in 2010 at his introductory press conference. "I look forward to donning the Ohio State Block `O' cap and representing The Ohio State University. I have surrounded myself with great people - administrators, coaches and student-athletes - that I will be forever grateful to. Now I join an Athletics Department that embraces the motto `You Win with People.'"
Beals led Ball State to a 243-202 record in his eight seasons as coach with three seasons of 36-or-more victories. After setting the school record for a first-year coach with 36 wins in 2003, Beals led the Cardinals to consecutive 38-win seasons, including the NCAA Regional appearance in 2006 - Ball State's first NCAA Regional since 1969 - and to MAC West Division crowns in 2003, 2005 and 2009.
His teams were 2-2 vs. Ohio State. They were 4-1 vs. Indiana, 5-4 vs. Purdue and a respectable 5-8 vs. Louisville. They were also known to play any team anywhere, including series vs. Arkansas, Miami (Fla.), Missouri and Vanderbilt on the road.
Beals' abilities as a recruiter - in terms of finding and then developing talent - have yielded most impressive results. He watched 21 of his Ball State players get selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, including four players in 2006 and three players in both 2009 and 2010.
Beals looked on as his 2010 first-team All-American utility player - Kolbrin Vitek, from Bryan, Ohio - was selected with the 20th pick of the first round by the Boston Red Sox and third-year sophomore pitcher Perci Garner, from Dover, Ohio, was chosen in the second round by the Philadelphia Phillies. A third Cardinal - Zach Dygert - was selected in the 22nd round by the Houston Astros.
Ball State players have thrived off the playing field under Beals, as well. His most recent team boasted a team Grade Point Average of 3.04 and 14 of his players were named to the MAC all-academic team.
Prior to his position at Ball State, he was an assistant coach for nine seasons at his alma mater, Kent State. He was a part of three Golden Flash teams to make an NCAA Regional - 1994, 2001 and 2002 - and three that won MAC championships. He also worked with 21 players who would sign professional contracts and 17 who would be named to the MAC all-academic team.
Beals, who spent three seasons in the New York Mets' farm system after his playing career at Kent State, attended Kenton Ridge High School in Springfield, Ohio, where he played baseball under Coach Tom Randall, a member of the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches' Association Hall of Fame.