Wearing a colorful yellow sports coat with a Cal State Bakersfield pin on the lapel, Jeremy Beard’s smile was a mile wide and just as bright as the jacket.
In front of a crowd of about 50 on Tuesday in the Icardo Room at CSUB, Beard was named the school’s permanent head baseball after one season as interim coach.
CSUB athletic director Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried said the decision was a no-brainer.
“I didn’t have to give it a second thought,” he said. “I know we got the right guy.”
Beard is CSUB’s third coach, following Bill Kernen and Bob Macaluso.
He said the removal of his interim tag is reassurance that will help continuing to build a program that recently completed its ninth year.
“It feels great. It’s a little weight off the shoulders,” Beard said. “Now I can show up in a living room and tell somebody I am the head coach as opposed to the interim coach. It’s really exciting for the whole program and the community. I am excited to get started right away.”
Beard became interim coach in December, deep into the offseason after a disappointing 19-37 season in Macaluso’s first year as head coach. In 2015, Kernen’s final season, the Roadrunners reached the NCAA regional.
Last season under Beard, the Roadrunners went 32-24, losing to Sacramento State in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.
“I did feel that we did have some momentum going,” Beard said. “The community started coming out more. We play an up-tempo style-type of game. It’s a really special deal. I am really happy this came and we can roll our sleeves up and go to work.”
In front of the crowd; his wife, Annie; and sons Logan and Wyatt, Beard spoke on his two main focuses: recruiting locally and continuing building the facilities around Hardt Field.
“We will get our staff dialed in,” Beard said. “We need to get our facilities improved to keep people here in town.”
Beard said specifically he wants to see hitting facilities, a clubhouse and restrooms for players built.
“Right now, it’s fairly bare,” Beard said. “But we’re not complaining. We are also happy with what we do have.”
A longtime Portland-area resident and former player at Oregon State, Beard hopes that having a season as interim coach at CSUB gives him an advantage going after local talent.
“People want stability, and they want to know their child is going to be in good hands and know the person,” Beard said. “The selling point is, ‘You know me already. You know how we are going to run things in this program.’ I think they are going to like how we are going to treat their kid. It’s about life skills as well as being a great baseball player.”
Siegfried, like Beard, came to Bakersfield as an outsider but senses his new head coach might be here a while.
“I know Jeremy has fallen in love with this community very similar to how I did when I first got here,” Siegfried said. “You can see it. He loves the people and loves what we’re all about in the athletics department and the university.”
Beard doesn’t seem to shy away from his feelings about the community.
“It’s about being a people person and really diving into being a mentor,” Beard said. “As long as you know how to treat them well and coach baseball and recruit and really sink your teeth into a community like this this one. It’s a special one.”