Ed Beathea became the interim head coach of Ohio State’s men’s track and field in April, following an abrupt end to Robert Gary’s coaching tenure.
Beathea’s interim tag was removed when he was officially named the program’s head coach Thursday.
Beathea, who joined OSU as associate head coach in 2006, will receive a five-year contract as the team’s new head man. He will also lead the OSU men’s cross-country program.
His annual salary will be $95,000, according to an OSU spokesman.
Beathea told The Lantern that it is “certainly a big relief” to continue having the opportunity to lead the Buckeyes.
“It’s very exciting for me, it’s very exciting for my family,” Beathea said. “The guys on the team are all very excited, they were very supportive and certainly supported me throughout the process.”
Prior to joining the OSU coaching staff, Beathea coached sprinters and hurdlers at Indiana University for 10 years, including four seasons as associate head coach. An alumnus of Ball State University, he was also an assistant coach for two seasons at Northern Arizona University prior to his decade at Indiana.
OSU fired Gary April 6, according to public records obtained by The Columbus Dispatch. OSU athletic spokesman Dan Wallenberg told the Dispatch that the decision to terminate Gary was made following the university’s discovery of “financial reporting irregularities.”
On April 18, Gary was named the head coach of Furman University’s men’s and women’s track and field/cross country program. Furman also hired is wife, Rita, as his assistant coach.
Beathea took over head coaching responsibilities for the remainder of the 2012 season following Gary’s firing. Beathea, who coached the Buckeyes to a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, said he was pleased with the team’s performance during his time as interim head coach.
“I thought the team performed really well,” Beathea said. “Considering the situation … me having to come in midway through the season, I thought the team was very focused, I thought they were very competitive.”
While Beathea was satisfied with his team’s result this spring, he has higher expectations going forward.
“It was a tough conference meet outdoor this year,” Beathea said. “I think that our goal is always to be in the top three. I think that our goal in the Big Ten in the next two or three years is to win the conference.”
Beathea said he believes the team’s incoming recruiting class is very strong, but that he and his coaching staff will place a greater emphasis upon recruiting.
“I think that certainly we will try to recruit more aggressively,” Beathea said. “We’ll certainly have a plan in place for that. Our goal for the national standpoint is to be a top-five or a top-ten team, and the only way that we’re going to be able to do that is to continue to add recruiting classes like the one we had this year.”
The team’s incoming recruiting class includes three Gatorade State Track and Field Athletes of the Year. Ohio’s Donovan Robertson, a two-time winner of the award, also won two consecutive Division I state outdoor championships in 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, and set the indoor national high school record in 60-meter hurdles in March. Rhode Island’s Joe Velez won the 2012 outdoor national championship in hammer throw, while Pennsylvania’s Billy Stanley had the nation’s second-farthest javelin throw among high school athletes in 2012.
Beathea said he is still evaluating his current coaching staff, and whether any changes will be made is “still to be determined.”
Beathea said that while his coaching style is different from Gary’s, he does not anticipate significant changes to be made as a result of the coaching change.
“I think there’s certainly differences in how Coach Gary led the team and how I led the team, how I lead the team,” Beathea said. “But there’s certainly some similarities … I’m very focused on having a strong culture with a team, having the guys understand what the expectations are, have them understand what’s going on around them with other event areas and other guys on the team.
Beathea said he planned on changing things that needed to be changed, but that he wouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel.
“I think that we always are open for new ideas.”