The Harding University baseball team entered January 2020 with new assistant coach Zach Beasley, a 2017 alumnus, following the resignation of assistant coach Andy Schatzley. Head coach Patrick McGaha hired Beasley as a replacement in December after Schatzley took a job as field manager of the Orem Owlz, a minor league baseball team in Utah.
Beasley officially started the job Jan. 1, one month before the team plays Mississippi College Feb. 2.
“The change came at a tough time with the transition occurring over winter break and the opening game of the season scheduled four weeks later,” McGaha said.
McGaha said hiring someone familiar with their team terminology and chemistry was an important factor when searching for a replacement. Beasley, after being recruited by McGaha, played four baseball seasons for Harding and then worked with the team as a graduate assistant from 2018 to 2019. McGaha said Beasley’s familiarity with the team and work ethic made him one of the top choices for the assistant coach position.
“You know, it was one of those things where bringing somebody to be able to keep things going was extremely important,” McGaha said.
Beasley left his graduate assistant position with Harding in 2019 to serve as head baseball coach at Hazen High School in Hazen, Arkansas. Beasley said he had known since high school that he wanted to coach college baseball but did not expect the opportunity to arise so soon. The new position offered little time to transition into the role.
“It was, ‘Come in and get to work,’ because like I said, they play in three weeks, and we’ve got to get some recruits signed,” Beasley said. “So there was no easing my way into it. It was jump right in and sink-or-swim type thing.”
Several juniors and seniors who played with Beasley when he was a student remain on the team in 2020. Beasley said the players handled the transition professionally and were receptive to his coaching. Senior Miles Humphreys, an infielder who played with Beasley, said Beasley was a quiet but assertive coach.
“He’s a quiet guy by nature, but he’s not afraid to speak up,” Humphreys said.
Beasley’s primary responsibilities as assistant coach are to sign new recruits, coach hitters and infielders, and oversee field maintenance.