A remarkable run
La PORTE — At first, Tim Beres wasn’t supposed to be La Porte High School’s boys cross country head coach.
He was hired at the urging of La Porte Athletic Director Ed Gilliland only because the school couldn’t find anyone else.
“He’s a professional and I knew he would take it seriously,” Gilliland said. “You could put Tim Beres in any coaching or teaching position, and he would take it seriously, because he’s a professional. He’d give you 100 percent of effort and time.”
The hire turned out to be a brilliant one with Beres, a baseball player in high school, taking the program to new levels of success, which extended into boys track.
“I never really had any visions of coaching running,” Beres said. “I never really had any experience in running other than I was running marathons at the time. So (Gilliland) knew I was running marathons, and they needed a coach. He asked me two or three times, I kept telling him ‘No.’ And he was persistent and I’m glad he was, because obviously I’ve loved doing it, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I have. Obviously, a huge thank you to Mr. Gilliland.”
Following a great run in both cross country and track coaching, Beres had decided to resign from track, four-and-a-half years after giving up cross country.
“I did 10 years of cross, and I kind of thought 10 years of this would sort of be the end, it was nice, round numbers,” Beres said. “But I ended up staying a couple more years later than I kind of thought I would, just mainly because it’s hard to leave the kids. When (boys co-coach Bob) James and I started with this, our goal was to make track and field relevant.
“We have done a lot to get to that point.”
Beres’ success in the cross country role helped lead him to the shared track position with James. He served as cross country head coach for 10 years from 2004-2013, and he’s been the school’s boys track co-head coach the last 12 seasons. For many years, Beres said he was with the athletes 51 weeks a year, six days a week.
In 10 years of coaching boys cross country, 12 seasons of coaching boys track distance runners and seven years of coaching girls distance runners, he had 110 champions at the Duneland Athletic Conference, sectional, regional, semi-state, or state level.
Plus, Beres had 35 distance runners qualify for state in both cross country and track, 19 boys and 16 girls.
He’s particularly proud of the fact that in his 29 combined seasons, he had a state qualifier every season.
“It’s building relationships, that’s the biggest thing,” Beres said. “I never ran in high school. I never ran in college. I don’t claim to be an expert. I’ve done some research on running. I know a general idea. I’ve stolen ideas from other people, as far as workouts and things. But if you can’t motivate and establish a relationship…”
In 10 years at the helm of the Slicers’ boys cross country team, Beres guided the squad to five sectional championships, one regional crown, one semi-state title, and the program’s first two Duneland Athletic Conference championships.
One of the highlights of Beres’ career was propelling La Porte’s boys cross country team to a second-place state finish in 2007.
That team featured Mike Fout, who won the individual state title, and went on to claim the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championship in San Diego a month-and-a-half later.
“My wife, Sue, has been extremely supportive of my coaching career,” he said. “She was the one who got me into running, encouraged me to coach, traveled all over to countless cross country and track meets, and put up with the hours I spent away from family to be with the athletes.”
Beres gave Gilliland a letter at the end of track season informing him of his coaching retirement.
His decision still has to be officially approved by the La Porte School Board.
“He was great in his contributions to cross country and track,” Gilliland said. “He’ll be sorely missed. We certainly appreciate all of his contributions. We’re not going to let him totally get away from it. When we host the DAC Cross Country Meet again, I’m sure we’ll get coach Beres involved. He was certainly a great representative of La Porte athletics and La Porte cross country and track.”
Beres will continue teaching Math at La Porte High School.
He still has the coaching bug, something he didn’t have when he was hired as the Slicers’ boys cross country head coach. Beres has helped coach seventh-grade football at Kesling Middle School the last three years and will do so again this season.