J. Thomas McNamara

     Angela Beck, one of the all-time great St. Teresa and Millikin basketball players and one of the more successful and decorated college coaches, is headed to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
     Beck earned her position in the prestigious Hall for her play on the court, her coaching of young women in college and professional women’s basketball and as a speaker and, more recently, as an analyst for CBS Sports and Fox Sports.
     She also is the analyst for 20 American Athletic Conference basketball games, a position one of her former Nebraska assistant coached helped her land. When Angela wanted to crack the sports television market, she called her friend, Brenda Van Lengen, asking for her help in getting into the sports analyst business which they did as Van Lengen put her through training. “She became my mentor and agent,” quipped Beck.
     Lori Kerans, Millikin’s retired women’s basketball head coach, remembered, “I never watched her play in person….however, she must have been legendary!! And to think….all of that with the men’s size basketball and no three point line!! ”
     Think about that.
     She achieved what she did when women used a men’s size basketball instead of the smaller one now in play and there was no three-point line back then in the 70s when she played for the late Harriett Crannell.
     “That’s right, I hadn’t even thought of that,” said Beck in our conversation Friday morning.
     “At one time I held 27 scoring and assists records at Millikin and there’s three that I cite in some of my speaking engagements,” laughing, “most shots attempted in a game, in a career and the most turnovers. It’s like a Michael Jordan story.”
     One of the best stories she recalls from her St. Teresa days is the daily newspaper’s headline that read, “She Plays Like a Boy,” which was a compliment because of how aggressive she played and how well she could shoot the ball.
     She chose Millikin to continue her basketball and academic careers, followings the advice of her late father Darrell, who advised “be a big pea in a small pond.” She also reminded that her late mother, Ursula, was a basketball official, who called some of her games, creating some uncomfortable situations for her Mom as fans thought that’s why Millikin won.
     As well as having a legendary career at St. Teresa and Millikin, she’s also excelled in the college basketball coaching ranks, at Southeast Missouri State when it was a Division III school and Bradley and Nebraska universities. When she was named SEMO’s head coach, she was 22 years old.
     In 1998 she led the Nebraska Cornhusker to their first Big 8 Conference basketball championship and for her efforts she was named the league’s “Coach-of-the-Year.”
     “I was surprised that I am going in as a player after 25 years of coaching,” said Beck.
     In 1981 she was inducted into Millikin’s Hall of Fame and a year later in 1982 she was enshrined in the now-defunct Decatur Athletic Council’s Hall of Fame.
     “I just loved the game of basketball and playing it,” said Beck.
     Now she’s going to be rewarded for all her love of the game as a player, as a coach, as an analyst and as a motivational speaker with her spring induction into the IBCA Hall of Fame.
Whenever St. Teresa gets around to creating its Wall of Fame, Angela Beck should be one of the charter class members for everything she achieved there and everything she has since then.
     From a media member of the IBCA Hall of Fame, welcome, Angela, you’ve earned it with considerable class, dignity and character. You’ve built successful programs wherever you’ve been, including with the women’s professional basketball, San Jose Lasers.


  1. Angela Beck on December 20, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Thank you Thomas MAC for your article and for following my career…. you are always so gracious. Your perspective is always warm and your mentioning of my parents always brings me joy to read!

    Thanks again

    Angy Beck

  2. Sam Beck on December 21, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Tom, a very well written and well deserved award for my sister. She was a true motivator and demanded the best from her players and she got the best in return. I had a front row seat at Griswold to watch her burn the nets. Great memories for those who witnessed. Keep up the great work. Sam Beck

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