Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to more accurately represent the positions Tom Beebe played while at Pittsburg State, which has also been corrected.
Kansas State offensive lineman Cooper Beebe is just one star in a family of sports-enthused athletes. From childhood to high school to college athletics, the Beebe family has played through it all.
Tom and Tamara Beebe were college athletes themselves, Tamara playing basketball at Kirkwood Community College, while Tom was recruited as a linebacker/defensive end he ended up played tackle and guard at Pittsburg State like Cooper and [Tom] was selected as an All-American as a guard his senior year. They gifted their children the same hobbies and the talent to go along with those hobbies.
“I mean, obviously, having both parents playing sports growing up, sports were a big part of all of our lives,” oldest brother Colton Beebe said. “We played all sorts of sports growing up. I played soccer, baseball, football, track, basketball. Kind of all the sports: big sports family.”
Growing up, the boys always had access to coaches both on the field and at home, with their parents around to help encourage the boys to do better.
“My parents were probably my biggest influences within sports,” Colton said. “Them having played and then never forced us to do things, but they always enjoyed playing sports and having that around our family.”
Along with the encouragement from those who had experience came the weight of having successful athletes as parents.
“There’s a lot of pressure that gets put on you just having successful college athlete parents,” junior Cooper Beebe said.
Growing up, the Beebe boys were always surrounded and immersed in sports at home, at school, with friends and with teammates on and off the courts and fields.
“I grew up basically with the football in my hand. I played sports in the driveway, and my brothers and I played in the backyard,” youngest brother Camden Beebe said. “I grew up playing football, basketball and baseball … so sports has really been my whole childhood – watch sports, play sports — play sports from the video games.”
Not only could the boys ask questions and learn how to improve their athleticism from their parents at home, but also while playing on the field. Tom was involved in all four boys’ football coaching at various times in their lives.
“Growing up, our basketball stuff, for the most part, was my mom: she always was the coach for that, and dad was there too,” Colton said. “That kind of helped out … just kind of a mix between who would coach which team.”
Having parents as coaches pushed Cooper to work harder and become a better athlete and person.
“You build a different relationship when you have a dad as a coach — they tend to push you a lot harder,” Cooper said. “I feel like that’s really helped me be molded into the person I am and the player I am today.”
Playing multiple sports aided the Beebes in becoming better football players and in combatting life’s lessons.
“Football is a discipline: you have to be in a routine, you have to be disciplined, yet you have to be dedicated if you want to be really good,” Tom said. “The lessons they learned in football carried over to school, carried over to other sports, carried over to life in general and being coachable. All of that translates into everything you do day-to-day.”
Colton, the oldest of the four brothers, blazed a path for his brothers in sports at the high school and college levels. He dreamed of playing college sports at a young age and made that goal a reality.
“At the fourth-grade level — he [Colton Beebe] already had his mind made up he was going to play college football, and it proved to be true, and you can see that in everything he did,” Tom said. “From that point on, he worked his tail off and he outworked everybody.”
Colton’s guidance for his younger brothers began after starting for the varsity football squad as a freshman. Following Colton, his three siblings did the same.
“From the second game on his freshman year, he [Colton] started. The interesting thing is that kind of blazed the trail for the other boys,” Tom said. “They all started varsity at various points as freshmen, and he kind of broke the mold and blazed the trails for the other three to follow him.”
Not only did Colton open doors of opportunity for his brothers, but he was also a role model for them. Watching Colton’s first college game in Minnesota was the defining moment for Camden wanting to be like his older brother.
“Watching that game, watching Colton be out on that big stage, it’s just kind of that story where, that’s where I want to be,” Camden said.
Colton always felt it was important to teach his younger brothers about giving full effort rather than relying on natural talent.
“We’re obviously given abilities — both our parents playing sports … giving us those physical abilities and having your mindset of ‘I want to do this, and I want to excel it’ — this is something that I tried to instill in them, just work harder than everybody else around you,” Colton said.
Know Your Opponent: Kansas Jayhawks
The second oldest Beebe brother, Collin, played high school football before ultimately choosing academics over collegiate sports and pursuing engineering. He thought his dad might disapprove but knew what he had to do to succeed at his goal.
“The interesting thing is, I have one that didn’t choose to play college football, and he was a great high school football player — did a lot of great things,” Tom said. “I think he thought he was going to disappoint me when he said, ‘Look,’ he said, ‘Anywhere I can go to school and get it paid for, it’s not going to meet my desire to get an engineering degree. I can’t go to a great engineering school and play football, and if I go somewhere — I’m not going to get that degree and play college football.'”
Collin started the trend of attending K-State and had the opportunity to room with his brother Cooper when he came to Manhattan. Even though they were family, the scenario was great for reasons beyond brotherhood.
“He [Collin] was one of the smarter dudes in our family, going there, I knew that I would have help if I needed help,” football player Cooper said.
Camden is the youngest of the four brothers and is committed to play football as part of the Wildcat class of 2023. Camden has an enormous “coaching staff,” as brothers, dad, trainers and current coaches have worked with him to help him become the best he can be.
“I’m teaching him different things that I’ve learned that will help him grow, and when he gets here [at K-State], he’ll be primed and ready,” Cooper said. “He’ll have all the stuff that I’ve already learned, and he’s already learned in high school, so he’ll have that step up.”
Camden has received lessons and tips from his brother along with campus visits to watch practices at K-State.
“It’s been cool just to see him improve and — I hope he turns out to be better than I am,” Cooper said about his youngest brother Camden.
The boys checked out Pitt State while on recruitment trips before deciding on Minnesota and K-State, even though the Gorillas’ door was always open.
“The funny thing is, the coaches at Pitt State at the time said, ‘Hey, if your boys want to come to school here, you know they have the spot, but they’re Division I talent, and you should get school fully paid for if you can,'” Tom said.
Although Tom enjoyed football at Pitt State, he was happy to see his sons looking at Division I schools.
“I loved my time at Pitt State. It’s a great program: great school. It’s a Division II football program and the interesting thing is, you always want your kids to grow up and do things better than you did. I think quite honestly — them playing at the Division I FBS level really excited me more than them not choosing Pitt State disappointed me,” Tom said.
Tom’s wife Tamara grew up in Iowa, so having her first son choose an opposing team was a bit of a transition. However, after spending time there and not missing one of Colton’s games, the Beebe’s found a family within the Minnesota fan base.
“My mom growing up an Iowa fan … It definitely was a hard pill for her to swallow for Colton to go to Minnesota cause that’s one of their big rivals,” Camden said.
However, the pill would go down easy soon enough once Tamara and the family started going to games and met some of the fan base.
“I don’t think they missed one of my college games, which is just insane,” Colton said.
“We grew bonds with people out there that we met the first day — basically like family,” Camden said.
Camden’s first game day in Manhattan was during a family weekend when visiting Collin. Once experiencing the Wildcat family, he was hooked.
“We went to a football game there, and I just kind of got to experience the game day in Manhattan,” Camden said. “Just experience the fan base and everything that goes into that program, so I think that was the first indicator like … I could definitely see myself playing here.”
Both Cooper and Camden were quick to commit, and Camden is the only brother out of the four not to have played alongside one of his brothers. That played a role in his decision to commit to head coach Chris Klieman and the Wildcats.
“It’s definitely something I’ve always dreamed about,” Camden said. “Cooper got to play with Collin, and then Colton got to play with Collin. You know me with the age gap, I’ve never got to play with a sibling. That has always kind of intrigued me.”
Although many siblings never get the opportunity to play next to their brother or sister, three of the four Beebe brothers did so in high school.
“It was a really cool experience. It’s not often in sports that you get to play alongside your family,” Colton said.
The boys have been competitive since childhood, but as they age, the competition ramps up regardless of the sport or activity.
“We used to always play two-on-two basketball in the driveway, and as you can imagine, it gets pretty competitive,” Cooper said. “We’re all athletes, and we all love competing against each other. The game has changed, but the competitiveness still stays there.”