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Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in Archive

My Time as a Gator

I have been a student at the University of Florida since the Fall of 2014. I was just a transfer student amongst thousands of people who graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA or higher. All I knew is that I had always wanted to be a Gator, and my time finally came. I wasn’t sure what to expect being a Telecommunications major, all I knew is that I was ready to take on any challenges that may face me. Now as I approach my final semester of college, I would like to share my thoughts about my time here doing what I love.

News? I Have to Cover the News?

Wait, I have to learn how to report the news? I told you I didn’t know what to expect. I have always been interested in reporting on sports, not news. What I didn’t realize was I could have been doing both from the first day I stepped foot on campus. So yeah, I spent my first two years learning how to be the best multimedia journalist I could be. I may not have been as passionate about my news pitches or about a really good story that someone else would have done anything to cover, but I learned so much about the industry. It helped having the amazing resources the University has to offer. Whether its the INC and everything it has to offer, or the Center for Media Innovation + Research, the experience was truly amazing.

Looking back on it, I’m actually quite happy that I delayed getting into the sports side of the college. Learning how to be a news reporter has not only made my transition into sports media an easy one, but I met a lot of great people, who I know are going to have a lot of success in this industry. But most importantly, my time in news helped me figure out what I really want to be, and thats a Beat Reporter for an NBA team.

Gator Sports? Now That’s More Like It!

As I mentioned before; I don’t regret waiting to focus all my time on sports. It has given me a true appreciation for sports media. I’ve been quite active in my first semester working in sports. I did weekly cut-ins for WRUF-TV, did play-by-play and color commentary for Gator and some high school football, began covering the Men’s Basketball team as a beat reporter, and anchored my first sports segment for WUFT’s First at Five Newscast. I also had the opportunity to do a Feature Story on Gainesville High School’s Head Basketball Coach Kelly Beckham. It was great getting to know Coach Beckham, and I wish GHS the best of luck as they look to head back to the postseason.

I was hoping that doing so many different things would help me figure out what I see myself doing in the future. I have only anchored sports on live television one time, and next semester I will have the opportunity anchor on Monday’s. I really enjoyed my first time, but right now I see myself as a beat reporter, hopefully for an NBA team. During my short time as a UF Men’s Basketball Beat Reporter I can say that I really found my calling.

What Does the Future Have in Store?

Well, I’m not 100 percent sure. But honestly, who is? I know I’ll be anchoring on Monday’s and basketball season will be fully underway (especially with a newly renovated stadium), but I’m sure new opportunities will be there that I won’t be able to pass up. Regardless of where I end up after my final semester at UF, I know that I can thank everyone I met through my time as a Telecommunications major for showing me what this industry is about, and for convincing me that this is what I love to do.

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Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in Articles

Feature: Kelly Beckham, Gainesville High School Basketball Coach

Feature: Kelly Beckham, Gainesville High School Basketball Coach

December 8, 2016

High school basketball season is officially underway, as Kelly Beckham looks to take his Gainesville High School Hurricanes back to the postseason. Coach Beckham has been the head basketball coach at GHS for seven seasons, and took three of those teams to the Final Four in Lakeland. Beckham won Coach of the Year in Florida in 2009 and in that same year, he led the Hurricanes to a 29-3 record and a Class 5a State Championship title.

That team finished ranked third in the state of Florida, eighth in the South Region (National Prep Poll) and 67th in the nation (Max Preps). It’s fairly safe to say the GHS basketball program has made a name for itself in the state of Florida. As a whole, the program has won five State Championships including back to back titles in 1999 and 2000.

Gainesville High School Gymnasium

Last season, the Hurricanes finished the season 25-5 which was good enough for a Class 6A District 4 title. The team made it through the next two rounds of the postseason before meeting up with Pensacola High School in the Regional Finals. This was the third season in a row where Gainesville and Pensacola met in the postseason.

With the series tied at 1-1, there was a lot riding on the third game. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, a bad shooting night led to a 45-39 loss. According to Kaijon Scott, who is now a senior point guard for the Hurricanes, the locker room after the game was down, but coach Beckham helped raise their spirits.

With all of that behind them, the Hurricanes are ready for the new season. However, just how easy is it to forget a loss like that? Well, it isn’t, but coach Beckham knows this year’s team is ready to step up to the future challenges the team may face. However, coach Beckham is more than just a basketball coach. He genuinely cares about the well-being of his players and fellow coaches, and they truly appreciate what he has done for the program.

Kelly Beckham, More Than Just a Coach

Coach Kelly Beckham (Far Right) watches former player sign letter of content.

Coach Beckham has over 700 career wins as a head coach. While truly an outstanding number, not all of those wins were with the Hurricanes. Before his time at GHS, Beckham was the head coach of the Bronson Eagles. I spoke to Enrique Wiseman, who played for coach Beckham during his time at Bronson. Wiseman, who now coaches Volleyball at The Rock School in Gainesville, said “coach Beckham is part of the reason I got into coaching, and I use what he taught me to become a better coach.”

Even assistant coach Hellrung, who has been a member of the GHS coaching staff for 25 years, says coach Beckham has taught him new philosophies that the other coaches did not. Kaijon Scott also said “coach Beckham is the best coach he has ever had.” This could very well be why coach Beckham was named the Gainesville Sun’s Coach of the Year.

 

GHS Season Update

As of now, the Hurricanes are 5-0 on the season after defeating Columbia High School last night.

https://twitter.com/GHSHurricanes/status/806337570363863040

Before going up against Columbia, the Hurricanes had to take care of crosstown rival Buchholz. Gainesville came out on top of what coach Hellrung called “the most packed home game I’ve ever coached in.”

https://twitter.com/jakewinderman/status/804847779902324736

Gainesville High School Logo

The Hurricanes’ next game will be at Vanguard High School for another district matchup. The last time these two teams met, the Hurricanes eliminated Vanguard from the postseason in a hard-fought overtime game. Not only that, but the Hurricanes defeated Vanguard in the Class 6A District 4 Championship game last season. Coach Beckham knows that the upcoming matchup against Vanguard will be just as hard-fought against an improved Vanguard team.

However, he is still confident his guys can overcome the extra drama. After the strong start, Beckham expects this team to have a great year, but it will be a tough season. With the returning players from last year’s team and with coach Beckham at the helm, keep an eye on the Hurricanes as they look to return to Lakeland for a chance at his second title with Gainesville High School.

Source: WRUF

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