Retirement Beckons Beckham

Head varsity football coach Beckham retires


Recently retired coach Mark Beckham speaking to next years’ varsity football players.

Juan Quero, Editor-in-Chief

“When I came here sixteen years ago, my plan and goal was to build a program and compete in league and in the playoffs,” said recently-retired Oxnard High School head varsity football coach Mark Beckham.

With a total of thirty-six years of athletic coaching, he spent sixteen of those years dedicated to the Oxnard football program. “Really, my highlight in everything here at Oxnard High School has been the students and the players…because they are my kind of players.”

The feeling is mutual, as evidenced by the players’ appreciation of the man who led them to the playoffs this past season. Despite his winning record during the 2014 campaign, the players appreciate him even more for his contribution to them as people.

Varsity football player Rico Telles said, “Coach Beckham is a very special coach. There aren’t very many coaches like him. He isn’t all about winning. He cares a lot about his players and he doesn’t just make great players out of his team — he makes great people out of them.”

Referring to himself as a “blue collar kind of guy”, Coach Beckham said, “My goals as a coach on the field and off the field were to build young men and if I built the young men and they grew as people, then they can be successful.” Aside from building great character and work ethic in his players, his main focus was ensuring his students made their education a priority.

He said, “A lot of guys can start but not many people can finish sometimes, and it’s not always about the person who finishes first that’s important. It’s just finish — period. So if you build a person, then football becomes easy to teach.”

“The main reasons that I am retiring [involve] two things — I had two knee replacement surgeries in the last two years and I never took any time to really rehab and take the time to do the things I needed to do. I had the surgery, and a month later I was back at practice. I haven’t been able to take care of [myself],” he said.

Even with the distraction of Coach Beckham’s surgery, varsity football cornerback Joshua Cervantes said, “[Coach Beckham] came out to practice with the attitude that we were going to dominate.”

Coach Beckham said, “The other thing is [that] my wife retired in June. She has gone without me for a long time — I’m never around because of football. It’s not like I am getting younger, so I need to do some things to take care of [myself] so we can have a good quality of life after my teaching career.”

Varsity football player Blake Kilgore said, “As we saw in the paper, he said ‘first you are going to hate me, then you are going to understand me, then you’ll forgive me.’ It hurts to lose him [to retirement], but we understand.”

Coach Beckham said, “I love being a Yellowjacket. My sixteen years were awesome. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I left it better than I found it…I am a better person because of all the experiences I have had with the young people of Oxnard. They have made my life better and they have touched my life and, hopefully, I have touched theirs.”