Editor's note: Three players requested they not be named in order to speak candidly to The Collegian about some of Beall's behavior.
The 2018 season for University of Richmond women’s soccer head coach Marty Beall marked the start of a long-term transition process and presented a slew of new challenges: remaining competitive even when losses piled up, adjusting to a harder conference and rebuilding a program and creating a new culture with players who were recruited by the previous regime, to name a few.
When you ask Beall what the most difficult part of this past season was, his natural competitiveness and desire to win are evident in his answer.
“Losing, losing stinks,” Beall said. “Coming in [to Richmond] I thought I would be able to do things faster than I did, but I didn’t.
"So, then you have the, wow, this is going to take longer than I thought. I am learning what it really means to trust the process.”
As head coach at High Point University, Beall was extremely successful. Beall’s teams won four regular-season championships — including back-to-back wins in 2016 and 2017 — and four conference tournament championships, and they made four appearances in the NCAA tournament in nine seasons, according to Beall’s online bio.
“It’s almost like we had a whole group of freshmen because they don’t know the expectation of Marty,” said assistant coach Kelly Grant, who spent the last three seasons with Beall at High Point. “We all as a group had to learn [from] each other versus everyone knowing what to expect minus the true freshman class. I think that makes a big difference — especially early on.”
During the early parts of the season, particularly in the non-conference portion of the schedule, Beall and the rest of his staff did not focus as much on the outcome of games, but on establishing a new culture, changing to a more tactical, possession-based style of play and laying a sturdy foundation to ensure future success, the coaches said.
One part of Beall’s transition plan for the team starts with his three core values: loving each other, positive actions and relentless dedication, he said.
“We have three core values that I’m in charge of, and if I’m not living them and if I’m not holding my staff and players accountable to them, then I’m not doing my job and [the team] won’t get anywhere,” Beall said.
Despite the team’s less-than-successful 2-15-1 record, players mentioned individual improvement and contended that the numbers do not tell the whole story.
“The outcomes of the games really didn’t depict how we did in the season,” sophomore Abby Erlemeier said.
First-year Caroline Lydecker touted the team’s overall growth from the first game of the season to the last.
David Walsh, deputy athletic director, also expressed confidence in Beall and was realistic about the timing required to see change.
“We recognize that to have our women's soccer program consistently compete for conference championships and post season play [it] will take some time,” Walsh said in an email. “It is a rebuilding process.”
Although players praised Beall’s job and expressed confidence in the direction of the program, multiple players expressed concern over Beall’s actions during games, specifically mentioning his yelling after mistakes and hypocritical behavior.
“Just kind of dramatic things, like throwing down his notebook every other play and [making frustrated gestures] on the sideline,” a player who requested anonymity said. “[It’s] hard to want to pursue [Beall’s three core values] when you see that kind of behavior.”
One player said she had played in fear of making mistakes and being yelled at by Beall.
“I think [Beall] just gets really caught in the moment," another player said. "He has a competitor’s mindset and just does not realize what he is saying or how he is saying it. And so then, you know, when we get off the field, it is like it never happened.”
Beall vehemently denies yelling at his players after they make mistakes, but he does not shy away from being vocal on the field, he said.
“I have voiced my displeasure when players don’t attempt to use the techniques we teach or attempt to apply the tactics we teach,” Beall wrote in an email. “That’s coaching, sometimes you have to be loud, sometimes you have to be softer, and sometimes you have to keep your mouth shut.”
But the players did not waver in their belief that Beall is the right coach to turn the program around, they said.
After the team narrowly missed a berth in the Atlantic 10 Conference playoffs this year, Beall is already preparing for next season by introducing more competitive aspects to spring practices and setting challenging goals, he said.
“We have to get into the conference tournament,” Beall said. “I think anything less than that would not be a successful year. If we don’t get into the conference tournament, then I have failed again.”
Assistant coach Branden DeNoyer shares Beall’s enthusiasm for the future of the program, he said.
“Once we make the playoffs, we are hoping to, in the next couple years, inch our way to host a home game, inch our way to getting into that [conference] final and inch our way up into getting into the NCAA Tournament,” DeNoyer said.
Contact senior sports writer Jacob Taylor at email@example.com