Greg Beckwith (2014)

Greg Beckwith is a classic example of making the most of an opportunity.

The former Laurel Highlands star received a basketball scholarship to the University of Richmond and parlayed that into a great life and career in that southern city.

Chuck Muncie  

“We had a pretty good team and were very competitive,” Beckwith said. “My first year - back then in the 80’s high school started as a tenth grader - there wasn’t a freshman team. I was able to start my sophomore year and we had a talented team.

“I thought we had an opportunity to go pretty far in the playoffs and we stumbled a little, but we had a great team with Mike Tupta as the lead player - he was our captain and a very good player.
“Throughout my career we had really good players - especially a couple of football players who played basketball as well. Dan Bolish and Shawn Braxton - they were talented and then my senior year we had Rueben Davis who was really talented.”

The Uniontown Red Raiders were the main rivals in a very competitive section.

“Uniontown was always our chief rival. They were pretty good and Belle Vernon had a nice team with Ken Simiril who transferred in from Washington D.C. and was very tough and Connellsville was always good - they had Nate Able and those guys and they were always tough. It was a very competitive section.”

Beckwith had a special night when he broke Wil Robinson’s single game scoring record at Laurel Highlands. Robinson owned the record with 51 points.

“Yeah, I can’t forget that one,” Beckwith offered. “It was against Southmoreland and the guys on my team said to me ‘we’ll get you 1,000 points, but we also want you to break some other records.

It’s going to be your night.’

“I was always trying to be a team player, but they wanted me to score a lot of points and Coach Horse Taylor said you have 48 and you have an opportunity to break Wil’s record. I said I don’t need to do that and he said to go in and do it.

“For him to say that was pretty special because he was a very special coach for me. He did a lot for me. I played in the Pittsburgh Ozanam League and at times he even drove me down on weekends and watched me play.

“I’ll never forget that - he’d come beeping his horn in his little Pinto and we’d go down and he always wanted me to play in those leagues to get better. The record was 51 and I scored 52. That is going to get broken - we’ve had some players come
out of there.

“Someone is going to come along and break it. Kaleb Ramsey had 43 and he’s a next door neighbor.”

Beckwith was selected for the preliminary game in the 1982 Dapper Dan Roundball Classic and it proved to be a turning point in his basketball career.

“Coach Dick Tarrant and his staff were interested in a kid by the name of Bruce Timko,” Beckwith recalled. “And they happened to see me in one of the practice sessions down at the Roundball classic and they became interested and Timko ended up going to Youngstown State and I ended up going to Richmond.”

Beckwith had four points and grabbed three rebounds and dished out some nice assists as the Keystone All-Stars lost to the Ohio All-Stars 99-88.

“I had a decent game,” Beckwith stated. “I was a role player and we had a lot of scorers and so I was basically controlling the game and Coach Tarrant and his staff were looking for a point guard to really run their offense.”

Beckwith had a solid career at Richmond and is the Spiders all-time leader in assists and steals.He was named to the University of Richmond men’s basketball all-time team as part of the 100th Season of Spider Basketball Celebration.

“It’s special and it’s humbling in a way,” Beckwith said of the All-Time team honor.” I think that it’s nice to be recognized by your alma mater and the fans and still remembered that you contributed in a positive manner to the university.

“We were Richmond’s first NCAA tournament team in 1984 - my sophomore year and we were able to go into the NCAA tournament and faced Auburn with Charles Barkley and Chuck Person. We were able to beat them 72-71 and it really put Richmond on the map. It was the first time they ever received a bid to go to tournament and then we won a game - it was a big win,” Beckwith said.
Beckwith remains humble as far as his records at Richmond.
“Yeah, all-time assists leader - when you have good shooters around you like Johnny Newman who is the all-time scoring leader and played in the NBA for 17 years - it made my job a little easier,” Beckwith explained.

“Also the all-time steals leader and had a good career. We had a good nucleus and we built on the 1984 team and went to the NIT the following year and got to the second round and my senior year we got an at large NCAA bid. We lost to St. Joseph’s by one point in the first round.”

Beckwith gave coaching a try after college and now is in private business.

“I got my masters and got inducted in the Hall of Fame at Richmond and that’s a great honor,” Beckwith stated. “I got in coaching at Virginia Tech for a year and came back to Richmond and coached and got my masters.

“I then got in the sporting goods industry and I’m now a regional sales manager for Adidas covering the southeast. I also do color commentary for the University of Richmond on the radio.”

Beckwith, 50, resides in Richmond and has been married for 21-years, his wife Julie is a Richmond grad and an attorney in the Richmond area. He has two children, a daughter and a son.

“Everything fell into place and it’s worked out pretty well,” Beckwith stated.


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