HC Sure Shot Lands in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
Throughout his life, Harold “Hilly” Beck ’56 has earned multiple awards for his basketball prowess.
In 1952, the Omaha World-Herald named the Minden (Neb.) High School Whippet as Nebraska’s best high school basketball player.
In 1956, he earned third team All-American status after amassing a then-record 1,175 points on the court as a Hastings College Bronco. (Beck remains 8th on the all-time scoring list for the Men’s Basketball team.)
He has been inducted into the Hastings College Hall of Fame (1990) and the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame (2002).
In early November 2011, Beck earned yet another basketball award as he was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for his service as Head Coach of the Baptist Bible College Men’s Basketball team from 1987-2002.
Those who have followed his career, which included lettering four years as a Bronco Football lineman, are pleased but unfazed by his latest achievement.
“It didn’t surprise me that Hilly was honored and inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, as he epitomizes all the qualities that this award represents,” Tom Jorgenson ’53 said. Jorgenson served as a Hastings College admissions counselor while Beck was playing for the Broncos.
“Hilly was also recognized for his leadership, character and citizenship while a student at Hastings College, having been selected as a member of Who’s Who his senior year. He is indeed a great alumnus and a continuing supporter of his Alma Mater.”
After graduation from HC, Beck served in the US Army Reserves and later taught and coached at Albion (Neb.) High School. In 1967, Beck moved to Springfield, Mo., where he worked for Paul Revere Insurance Company. He and his wife of 55 years, Nadine (Cowan) ‘59, remain in Springfield.
When the athletic director at nearby Baptist Bible College needed an assistant men’s basketball coach, he asked Beck to help. Still an active basketball player at the time, Beck agreed.
Several years later when the head coach quit, the athletic director once again sought Beck’s assistance, asking him to serve as head coach for one year.
“Of course a year turned into 15 years,” Beck, who coached without compensation, said. “I enjoyed the game so much and enjoyed the kids.”
His tenure included winning honors as Regional Coach of the Year and Conference Coach of the Year.
Upon his coaching retirement, Beck served as Athletic Director – again, a position he did pro bono – until 2007.
Only recently did Beck retire from playing basketball -- on his 77th birthday. The 2006 HC Outstanding Alumnus of the Year remains active but the post-game recovery was too much for him.
The game that he so loves has changed, too.
“It’s more of a power game with bigger, stronger players,” Beck said. When he was a Bronco, it was about finesse.
Among his continuing inspirations is his basketball coach at HC, Russ Bouge, who coached him at Minden before becoming Head Coach of the HC Men’s Basketball team during Beck’s senior year of high school.
“I keep in touch with him,” Beck said. “He’s in Lexington, Ken., and is just a good guy.”
Beck also recalls playing basketball with former Bronco and current University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletic Director Tom Osborne ‘59.
“It was always a joy to play with him,” Beck said.