Eagle: Beasley is Flight Days grand marshal | VailDaily.com

Eagle: Beasley is Flight Days grand marshal

Eagle Valley EnterpriseBill Beasley is the grand marshal of Saturday's Flight Days parade in Eagle
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EAGLE, Colorado – This year’s Eagle, Colorado Flight Days theme urges downvalley residents to “get in the game.”

Bill Beasley has always done just that – as a player, coach, team sponsor, referee, umpire and volunteer. His willingness to always get in the game earned him recognition as this year’s Flight Days Parade Grand Marshal.

Beasley has spent all of his 55 years in Eagle. He grew up playing recreational sports in the community. Later he donned Eagle Valley High School Devils uniforms. But his sports career didn’t end when he graduated. In addition to playing recreational sports, he’s been a dedicated coach for decades.

“He loves sports and what they do for kids,” said Sonja Beasley, Bill’s wife. “Coaching and refereeing are a way for him to stay in the game.”

While many dads start coaching when their own children start playing sports, Beasley was coaching teams long before he became a father. He coached women’s softball and youth baseball and basketball before his own daughters, Lyndsay and Whitney, were born. His first team was a group of 9- and 10-year-old Little League baseball boys back in the late 1970s. He hasn’t stopped since.

“It’s not only a love of the game, its a love of working with the kids,” said Beasley of his long-time coaching tenure.

Beasley says was inspired by former Eagle Valley coach and athletics director Pete Nolan’s example to get involved in working with kids.

Over the years, Beasley’s sports interests have expanded to refereeing high school basketball and umpiring high school baseball. He currently serves area officials director for the Colorado High School Activities Association.

He’s been the head coach for girls softball at Eagle Valley for the past four years. But long before taking over head coaching duties for the team, he worked with the girls as an assistant coach.

“Bill is very level-headed and he would keep us focused on supporting each other during games,” said Elise Byron, recent Eagle Valley graduate who played for the Lady Devils. “At practice he worked us hard, but he never yelled.”

Jessie Zatarain, a 2001 Eagle Valley graduate, said Beasley coached her for years. “I just remember him always being in a good mood. Practice was always fun and Bill always had bubble gum.”

Zatarain, who has close friends with Bill’s daughter, Lyndsay, also remembers lots of pitching lessons that extended well after regular practice hours. “He was always willing to help us, no matter what time it was.”

Sonja Beasley regularly sees the results of her husband’s dedication to youth. “We get wedding invitations and graduation announcements from all over the country. They are all from kids he’s coached or refereed – Kids he’s built relationships with.”

Beasley realized a pair of personal officiating goals during the past two years. Last year, he umpired at the Colorado State Boys Baseball tournament. This year, he refereed at the state boys basketball tournament.

Marilene Miller, of the Eagle Flight Days Committee, said the community is glad to have the chance to recognize all the volunteer work Beasley has done with local youth. She noted with this year’s theme “Get in the Game” it was particularly appropriate to honor him.

“You would be hard pressed to find someone who has given more time to the kids in the community,” said Miller. “You name it, the guy has been involved.”

She pointed to the past week as an example. Both Bill and Sonja Beasley spent every evening of the past week designing and building the Flight Days Committee float for the parade.

“Bill is an all around great community guy,” Miller said.

In the spirit the Flight Days theme, anyone who has played in a contest that Beasley coached, umpired, refereed or organized is invited to honor him at the parade. Get in the game and march alongside Beasley. He will be at the head of the parade. Fall in line after you see him pass by. The parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, and marches down Broadway.