The Colgate Scene
November 2006

Former soccer coach John Beyer thanks the crowd after being honored with an endowed coaching chair in his name. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

The men's basketball team took a nine-day tour of Spain in which they played teams in Madrid, Marbella, and Barcelona.
Former soccer coach honored

Colgate athletic teams are often referred to as "giant killers" — the teams that have the confidence and skill to take on any opponent and any challenge, coming out on top more times than not.

In nearly 30 years at Colgate, 14 of which were spent as coach of the men's soccer team, John Beyer fielded many teams with that winning attitude. When Beyer, now retired, reflects on his career he doesn't talk wins and losses; he talks about the joy of teaching and mentoring young student-athletes.

"It was not so much what I did for my players, but what they've done for me," said Beyer. Most recently, his former players endowed a coaching chair in his honor. The new John Beyer Endowed Chair in Soccer was announced during halftime of the September 23 game against Lafayette.

The fundraising effort for the endowed chair, which will provide financial support for the soccer program, was led by Colgate Trustee Barry Small '76, a second-team All-America player under Beyer.

"I wanted to find a way to make a significant impact and thought there was no better way to do so than through an endowed coaching chair," said Small, who still ranks in the top 10 for career goals, career points, as well as goals and points in a single season at the university.

Like many other soccer alumni, Small has maintained a relationship with Beyer over the years. "Beyer became like a father figure on campus for the team. He blended teaching, discipline, and commitment and really helped shape us as young men."

Beyer came to Colgate in 1966 and coached the men's soccer team until 1979, leading them to an overall record of 81-66-15 (.546), and guiding three teams into the national rankings, two of which went on to the NCAA tournament. After retiring, he was called back up to lead the new women's soccer team from club to Division I status, and it flourished, winning 22 out of 33 games in two years. 

Men's soccer head coach Erik Ronning '97, the first holder of the Beyer chair, said he feels an "extra sense of responsibility to live up to the sterling reputation and legacy that John built here. Our success will now and always be associated with John Beyer."

"Erik is the perfect person to hold this chair," said Small. "He is absolutely determined to build a winner by bringing in the best student-athletes to represent Colgate nationally."

"Athletics is a key part of the educational enterprise at Colgate," said Lyle Roelofs, provost and dean of the faculty. "Anyone who has played a competitive sport knows the life lessons of how to savor success, come back from adversity, maintain poise and respect for your opponents and for the game, and how to bring out the best in your teammates and let them bring out your best."

"I would have never dreamed of this," said Beyer of having the chair named for him. He spent his time on campus with simple goals for his players. "I tried to give them a sense of diligence, commitment, dedication, and a belief in themselves." — Charlie Melichar

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