Netflix’s ‘Last Chance U’ is an original web docuseries that follows college football teams that aren’t major programs and don’t get much national attention. But, to be honest, it’s more than that, it is a series that focuses on the individuals on the team just as much as it focuses on the game itself. Its latest season, ‘Last Chance U: Laney,’ like all the others before it, is set against an overall redemption and coming-of-age “last chance” theme for the group of men who are struggling to find their place in this world, but this time, guiding them, through the good and the bad, is their head coach, John Beam.
Who Is John Beam?
John Beam has been a football coach for over 40 years now. It was mentioned in the series that he moved to Laney from Skyline, but most people tend to forget how massive that jump really was. From coaching students in a high school team for years, he moved straight to Laney College in Oakland, California, and never let go, becoming the only coach in the state to be recognized as the high school state coach of the year and the junior college state coach of the year. It’s not that he didn’t have other offers over the years, he did, very good ones at that, but he just couldn’t leave, Laney and Oakland became his home.
— Coach John Beam (@beam_coach) August 7, 2019
John Beam started coaching when he was just 22 years old, and he joined Laney as the Running Backs coach in 2004. Just a year later, he was promoted to the Offensive Coordinator position, where he led an explosive play that helped the Laney Eagles win 3 conference championships and 5 straight bowl game appearances. Then, he became the Athletic Director, before finally landing the position of Head Football Coach in 2012. One of the main reasons why John has been able to move through the ranks so quickly is because of his passion.
Of course, being a football coach and enthusiast, he is extremely competitive, but it is his compassion for the people that he heads which makes him so brilliant. Yes, he is brash, stubborn, arrogant, and intimidating, but his caring nature and his ability to form a connection with the athletes shines in the way he coaches them. He’s loyal to Laney and Oakland and says that the community gave more to him than he ever gave to it – that he was given an identity and a value here. But, the truth is, his work helped kids get off the streets, it helped them find a place where they could belong. He created not just a dynasty in the college, but a legacy in the city.
Where Is John Beam Now?
Despite the global pandemic taking over and shutting down the entire world, especially the sports industry, John Beam is still working at Laney College as the Athletic Director and the Head Coach of the Football Program. Yes, the season has been postponed until the spring of 2021, but he is confident that soon, he’ll be able to get back on the field, on the sidelines, and do what he loves all over again. And this time, he’s determined to do better. Between his time at Laney College and Skyline High School, John has produced over 20 NFL players, 7 of whom have played in the Super Bowl, and now, he wants to produce more.
Because of all of John’s hard work, the football program at Laney has seen a 90% graduation and transfer rate, which has become his proudest accomplishment by far. Although the 2018 State Championship win is extremely high on the list, it’s still below the effect his career has had on the young generation- in motivating them to do better and to contribute more to themselves and to the society. In 2014, owning to all this, he was recognized and honored in his induction in the Bay Area Multi-Ethnic Hall of Fame. As a husband, father, and grandfather, John is currently happily spending his time at home with his family.
— Coach John Beam (@beam_coach) December 14, 2019
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