Beschorner brings winning culture to Blugold football

    Wesley Beschorner strives to help athletes “accomplish their dreams”

    More stories from Luke Alex


    Photo by Gabbie Henn

    New UW-Eau Claire football coach Wesley Beschorner poses for a photo.

    In 2001, Wesley Beschorner, a quarterback for the University of South Dakota, won the MVP race.

    It wasn’t MVP of the conference, or of the team, or even of the offense.

    Beschorner was named MVP of USD’s scout team, a practice team whose primary objective is to give the starters a look at their next weeks opponent.

    “I got to play running back, I got to play receiver and safety,” Beschorner said. “I got to play a lot of things, so I learned a lot.”

    Beschorner was recently named the head football coach at UW-Eau Claire, concluding a national search that started when previous head coach Dan Larson stepped down to take a position coaching at North Dakota State University.

    Beschorner was chosen to fill the vacant coaching position because of his extensive experience as a coach and as a player. The university believes that the team can have immediate success under him, athletic director Dan Schumacher said.

    “From an offensive (standpoint), quarterback position, receiver position, someone with his expertise can get us there so much quicker,” Schumacher said.

    As a player, Beschorner has had to consistently prove that, despite his undersized frame and height, he could compete and excel at the quarterback position, he said.

    “I’m obviously not very big, not very tall,” Beschorner said. “But playing quarterback was something I really wanted to do.”

    In highschool at Southern Calhoun County in Iowa, Beschorner was a three-year varsity starter. He was named to the All-State team back-to-back years for offense and defense, and he was player-of-the year runner up in the state of Iowa. He also led his team to three straight state tournament appearances, and won the state championship his senior year.

    “We were a small school, but almost every guy in the school was on the football team,” Beschorner said. “The coaches made it fun, and made it hard, and they made it very well worth it”

    Despite his illustrious high school career at quarterback, Beschorner was not highly recruited at the quarterback position coming out of high school, he said.

    “A lot of schools wanted me to play safety, a lot of people wanted me to play receiver,” Beschorner said. “And I loved those positions, but I just wanted a shot to play quarterback.”

    Beschorner was recruited by many different schools and levels, but he said his only offer to continue playing quarterback was from the University of South Dakota.

    “That was the only school that was gonna let me at least try to let me play quarterback, and that’s what I felt I wanted to do my whole life,” Beschorner said.

    He redshirted his freshman year, where he proved he was a valuable asset on the scout team, playing multiple positions on offense and defense. After his redshirt year, Beschorner began his second season as receiver, but sustained an injury during practice. Because of his injury, Beschorner was moved to quarterback, where less mobility was required.

    “I couldn’t really run great but I could still obviously throw,” Beschorner said. “So I played quarterback exclusively and I won the (starting) job.”

    Beschorner then went on an incredible collegiate terror, passing for over 6,000 yards and amounting 87 total touchdowns in his three years as the starting signal-caller at USD. He was a first team All-American and national player of the year finalist as a senior.

    In three years, Beschorner broke 33 total records at USD, including becoming the first player to record more than 500 yards of total offense in a single game.

    “I had really good coaching and really good players around me,” Beschorner said. “I knew to throw it to the fast guys.”

    After graduation, Beschorner began his coaching career at USD, a dream he said he’s had since high school. He coached multiple positions, including running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks before acquiring the position of offensive coordinator in 2008.

    “Obviously I wanted to play in the NFL, but then it was kind of one of those deals where I realized that I wanted to coach,” Beschorner said. “I wanted to help these kids accomplish their dreams.”

    Beschorner’s history as a coach is almost as impressive as his career as a player, as he led a USD Coyotes offense that averaged 460 yards-per-game and ranked fifth in the nation in 2009. In 2010, the coyotes took down Big Ten opponent University of Minnesota in a non-conference game, 41-38.

    “That game was amazing,” Beschorner said. “It was some of the best football we ever played.”

    After he stepped down at USD, Beschorner bounced around the country at different coaching jobs, including the University of Maryland and Rice University, before recently landing the head coaching position at UW-Eau Claire.

    “Wesley brought a certain offensive skill set that I was looking for particularly and a offensive energy that I felt our program needed at this particular time,” said Schumacher.

    The players and coaches are excited for the winning culture that Beschorner brings to the team, fifth-year football captain Sam Romanski said.

    “That man comes from places that know how to win,” Romanski said. “So we are gonna incorporate his winning mentality and mindset and we’ll run with it.”

    Beschorner said he is looking forward to an excited community that rallies around its football team.

    “That’s what makes football such a unique sport,” Beschorner said. “It takes a village to get everybody going in the right direction.”

    Alex can be reached at [email protected].