Born: June 7, 1955
It didn’t take long for Bob Beatty to figure out his path in life. Growing up in Butler, Mo., Beatty knew at a young age that he wanted to be a coach. Specifically, a football coach.
Watching his uncle, Bob Miller, coach football, basketball and track & field at Butler High School made an impression on a young Beatty.
“I knew in the seventh grade that I wanted to be a football coach,” Beatty said. “I watched my uncle Bob coach, and he was held in high esteem in the community. It had an impact on me, that you could do something for a living and have fun and enjoy it.”
Perhaps no one enjoyed coaching – and winning – more than Bob Beatty.
After stints with Clinton High School, William Jewell College, and Blue Springs High School, the 1978 Missouri Southern grad became the head coach at Louisville (Ky.) Trinity, turning a national power into a juggernaut by winning 15 state championships in 21 seasons while compiling 254 wins. That dominance is why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Bob Beatty as a member of the Class of 2023.
But it almost never happened. Coach Bob Beatty nearly became FBI Special Agent Bob Beatty.
At the end of his fifth season at William Jewell, Beatty knew he needed a change. The grind of college coaching wasn’t for him. After his head coach left for a job in Minnesota, Beatty applied and was accepted into the FBI.
“I was married and had two children,” Beatty said. “I was packing my bags to go to Quantico, Va., for 16 weeks when Blue Springs called.”
Although he didn’t know it at the time, that phone call set Beatty on a Hall of Fame path.
After 10 years as offensive coordinator for the Wildcats, Beatty was promoted to head coach in 1997. But something wasn’t quite right.
“I didn’t feel like Blue Springs was a good fit,” Beatty said. “I couldn’t quite run the program as I wanted.”
Beatty dreamed of running a program with the history and prestige of nearby Rockhurst High School, Missouri’s top program. That dream was about to come true.
“In 1999 a close friend of mine from Louisville knew I was unhappy at Blue Springs,” Beatty said. “He called and wanted me to apply for this job at Trinity High School. I laughed and said ‘Why would they want me?’ His reply was ‘You would be a great fit.’”
Beatty applied and was offered the job on the same day, but there were a couple of problems: he didn’t want to move out of state with his daughter in her senior year at Blue Springs, and his wife, Jayne, needed a teaching job in Louisville. So, he turned it down.
Fast forward one year and the Trinity job opened up again. This time Beatty didn’t have to apply. Trinity called him.
“Trinity called and said ‘Your daughter has graduated and we have a job for your wife, so you are not turning us down again,’” Beatty said. “So, we made the move.”
And the rest was history. History, though, was something Trinity had in spades.
The Shamrocks had long been a powerhouse in the Bluegrass State, winning 12 state titles in 33 seasons prior to Beatty’s arrival. But six years had passed since their last crown in 1994, an eternity for a storied program.
“I went to work and instituted a program that I had always wanted to,” Beatty said. “I taught that discipline is what you do for people not what you do to people. I taught that to play this game you must be in the very best physical condition and mental condition that you can possibly be.”
And the players responded, as Trinity went 13-2 in Beatty’s first season, reaching the 4A state championship before falling to longtime rival Louisville Male, 34-14. It would be the only championship game loss of Beatty’s career.
Over the next 20 seasons, Beatty and Trinity would finish the season as the last team standing 15 times. Following the 2020 campaign, Beatty announced his retirement, saying it was time to move on.
Beatty credits his family for making an impact on his success.
“I love my family,” Beatty said. “They packed up and moved to Louisville, Ky., from a place in Missouri where they had been born and raised. They supported me, knowing how badly I wanted the job at Trinity. My wife and I have been married for 43 years and have two wonderful children. I just hope they think of me as I thought of my father. He was and always will be my hero.”