Hometown hero dominates sports industry

Coach Beachum makes her mark at Tarleton State University

Women’s basketball coach Brechelle Beachum is an example of someone who embodies black excellence. 

Beachum grew up in a small town right outside of Waco called Mexia, Texas. She attended college at Western Texas College (WTC) in Snyder, Texas, and played basketball from 2013 to 2015. She then transferred to Illinois State University in 2015 where she continued her playing career and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Corrections in 2017. 

“Originally I wanted to be a probation officer, and that is why I got my undergraduate degree in criminal justice,” Beachum said. “I set out just to change lives and that’s why I coach. Basketball is my passion, so I can impact the game and impact the lives of these young ladies that I work with.”

Beachum began her coaching career at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana in 2017 before returning to her Alma Mater, WTC just 11 months later in August of 2017. She stayed there for just under four years before making the move to Stephenville. 

“It [Stephenville] is closer to home. I had been away from home and my family since I left for college. 

Tarleton was a powerhouse D2 that transferred to D1, which made it a great opportunity for me, and Coach Wilson and the rest of the coaching staff are great people and I knew I could learn a lot from them. The tradition here is great and it is very family-oriented,” Beachum stated. 

Beachum expressed that her greatest influence is her father, Kelvin Beachum. Beachum’s father did not graduate high school but instead dropped out in the eighth grade to help care for his ten other brothers and sisters at home. Even though he faced the challenge of not finishing his education, he worked hard and now owns a very lucrative business in Mexia and works as a mechanic. 

“His work ethic is unmatched. Growing up he has always been my biggest supporter. He is an example of what a man should be. He is the blueprint to being a great father and overall just a great person,” Beachum said. 

During her junior year at Illinois State, Beachum  became very lonely, and didn’t feel as if she had anyone within arms reach that was there to help her. She did not have any family in Illinois, so essentially it was just her trying to navigate on her own. 

“I had to learn to rely on outside resources such as my coaches and my friends. I went through trials and I had to depend on other people besides my family. That absolutely shaped me into the person I am today. I had to be very resilient during that year, and it has grown me into the person and coach I have become,” Beachum said. 

Black History Month focuses on those who represent the black community. 

“They have someone who looks like them. Growing up you don’t really see that in basketball. I was blessed enough to have someone that did look like me when I was at Junior College and then when I went to Illinois State,” Beachum said. 

 Beachum  believes it is important for her players to have someone who looks like them. 

“It plays an intricate part to their basketball careers and their lives. I am able to connect with them in a different way than maybe someone else could connect to them,” Beachum  said. 

Women are typically underrepresented in the sports industry. Women of color, however, are even more underrepresented. Seeing a woman of color in a position of power in the sports industry comes very few and far between. It can be discouraging for women of color to try to get their foot in the door. 

“Have the confidence to go into any room. Whether that is a female walking into a room full of males, or a black woman walking into a room full of white people. Have the confidence in yourself to know that you can walk into that room and break barriers and do what you have to do,” Beachum  said.

 Breaking barriers is important for those who are underrepresented in not only the sports industry, but in other industries as well. 

Black History is a time for remembrance, unity, and altogether a time to honor the people of the black community and those who established what black excellence looks like. 

“Black excellence is confident. Black excellence is powerful. Black excellence influences the culture of our society,” Beachum said.