Posted: 2:02 pm Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Okeechobee out another football coach 

By Jason Lieser

After running the team for exactly six official practices, Okeechobee football coach Jeremy Beckham is done with the Brahmans.


Beckham said he and the school “mutually parted ways” Monday and he will no longer be on staff in any capacity, including his teaching job. An administrator with the school district also said the change was made by both parties.

Okeechobee principal Toni Wiersma and assistant principal Sean Downing declined comment and referred questions to Ken Kenworthy, the school district’s Assistant Superintendent for Administration.

“Things just didn’t work out,” Kenworthy said. “We regret that we had to make this decision, but we’re moving forward.”

Kenworthy said Wiersma made the decision. Beckham’s last day as coach was Monday.

Kenworthy also said Beckham did nothing improper to cost himself his job.

“As far as anything unethical or immoral, absolutely not,” Kenworthy said. “There was nothing like that. He was good to the kids and we certainly wish him the best of luck.”

Okeechobee hired Beckham, 32, in February, following the resignation of Chris Branham. Beckham sold his home in Ohio and was close to finalizing a home purchase in South Florida.

For his part, Beckham did not elaborate on the split.

“I don’t want to get real specific with it,” he said. “There was a level of expectations I had coming in. When it came down to it, we didn’t see eye to eye on some things.

“I had things that needed to happen to be successful long term, and those things didn’t meet up with what their views were. We figured out it wasn’t a good fit for both of us.

“All I can say about it is the players were wonderful. I enjoyed being around them as much as I possibly could. Our parents were wonderful. Our community was certainly fun to be around.”

Mike Radebaugh, a former assistant principal and athletic director at the school, will be the interim coach while officials search for a permanent replacement. Kenworthy said all of the assistant coaches have agreed to stay on staff through the spring session.

Kenworthy said the county would be interested in having Branham return, but officials will not pursue him unless he comes to them.

Branham, who has been enjoying his hiatus from coach, said he will not return to the Brahmans’ sideline this season.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “That’s an absolute no. I’m definitely not an option.”

He declined comment on the current coaching situation.

Previously, Beckham was the offensive coordinator for an Ohio high school, but the Dayton Daily News (our sister paper) reported his time there was discontinued connected to a recruiting investigation. The newspaper also said he was dogged by recruiting rumors when he left a prior high school in 2004.

Beckham said those allegations were exaggerated. Okeechobee administrators were aware of the claims when they hired Beckham.