By Nate Dugener

FRUITPORT–Fruitport alumnus and Hall of Fame member Chris Beck has dedicated his time for our country serving in the military as well as serving our local communities by guiding young men and women through high school sports.

Chris graduated from Fruitport as a member of the class of 1977.

Beck served as a member of the Marine Corps 4 years from 1977-1981 as a ground support technician for Marine Aircraft Group 31. Beck was routinely working on equipment to support A4 Fighter Jets. Beck was then assigned to VMFA 451 to work on the flightline. Beck ended his service with a final rank of Sergeant E-5.

After serving in the military, Beck attended ITT Technical Institute in Grand Rapids to achieve an Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering. Then, Beck went to Siena Heights College in Adrian to receive additional management courses. Chris went back to school in Santa Ana, California at California Coast University for a Bachelor of Science in Management. Lastly, Chris updated his management skills by taking management classes at Cornerstone University.

Beck is an avid runner, competing in track and field at Fruitport as well as completing three marathons, including the Chicago Marathon and two Marine Corps Marathons in Washington D.C. Beck was also inducted into the Fruitport Hall of Fame for his wrestling career, specifically as a member of the 1974-75 wrestling team.

Beck has had an affinity for coaching baseball and softball since his time in the military. In 1978, while stationed in South Carolina, Chris coached a youth club team. Since then, he has coached the following teams: girls softball in Pennsylvania, boys youth soccer in Zeeland, Fruitport youth football program, Fruitport youth baseball, Fruitport freshman baseball, Fruitport JV baseball, Orchard View freshman baseball, Holland freshman baseball, Line Drive travel baseball, Channel Cats travel baseball, Riptide travel baseball, and the Muskegon City League Team.

Not only did Chris coach a variety of schools and travel teams in the area, he also was the statistician for Fruitport varsity football, announced Fruitport basketball and track, and is the current Fruitport football PA announcer.

Beck said his military background prepared him in his coaching career through, “the discipline and working with a team and knowing you need everyone wanting to achieve the same goals.”

Although Beck has not taught in a classroom setting he sees the field or the court as a classroom where teaching can take place.

“I think coaching is teaching, it can build character in boys in the face of adversity, which is a trait that will stay with them forever,” Beck said. “Make the kids’ experience enjoyable and winning is not everything. It’s building character and skills of working with a team that can be used outside sports.

“The sport you play is a game – win or lose – it’s a game,” he said. “Play as a team, you’re only as good as your weakest link, help make them better. If you leave the playing surface knowing you did your best, win or lose, you still win.”

Currently, Chris is a Quality and Maintenance Manager in Montague for MasterTag. Beck, and his wife Lisa, have two sons Brandon and Drew who also served in the military. Both Drew and Brandon graduated from Fruitport playing baseball and football. Drew also bowled and played 2 years of baseball at Muskegon Community College.

Brandon served as a MP in the Army and did two tours in Iraq. Drew is a Major currently serving with the Marines in Japan as well as doing one tour in Iraq.

Chris also has a grandson named Gabriel who plays soccer and hockey.