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Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum

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Class of 2002

Edward Beard

Edward Beard

Sport :  Football  : University of Tennessee

Ed Beard defines what it means to be a competitor.&nbsp; While he made a name for himself on the football field, those who witnessed his remarkable feat at the 1957 Virginia State High School Wrestling Tournament can attest to his unbelievable athletic prowess.&nbsp; Without representing a school and having little formal coaching, unseeded and unranked, Beard strode onto the mats at Princess Anne High School with one goal in mind- to be the best.&nbsp; Goal accomplished.&nbsp; As with so many other trials in life, Ed Beard had more heart than anyone else that day and walked away as the state heavyweight wrestling champion.<br /><br />Football was the foundation upon which Ed Beard established his greatest athletic achievements.&nbsp; Beard attended Chesapeake&rsquo;s Oscar Smith High School, where he was named to the All-State, All-South, and All-American teams.&nbsp; He played two seasons at the University of Tennessee before serving in the U.S. Army where he was selected Outstanding Player on the 8th Army team in 1964.<br /><br />Beard enjoyed an 18-year NFL career, eight as a player, and ten as a coach.&nbsp; As a Special Teams captain and then starting middle linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, he helped the 49ers win three consecutive NFC West titles.&nbsp; In 1971, Beard was awarded the prestigious Len Eshmond award for the most inspirational player on the 49ers team, a testament to the high esteem his 49er teammates held him in.&nbsp; Beard was the first Special Teams captain in the NFL and was named All-NFL Special Teams in 1971.&nbsp; His playing career cut short by knee injuries, Beard became linebackers coach for the 49ers, Saints, and then defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.&nbsp; In 1996, the Oscar Smith High School football field was renamed &ldquo;Beard-Delong-Easley Field.&rdquo;<br /><br />Teammates referred to Beard as &ldquo;Biggie&rdquo; because he always played bigger and better than his size.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s what heart will do for you, and no one had a bigger heart for competition and excellence than Ed Beard.<br />



Jennings Culley

Jennings Culley 1998
Randolph-Macon College

Jennings Culley began his lengthy career in Virginia sports journalism as a determined sixteen-year-old in his hometown of Newport News, Virginia on the staff of the Daily Press. The promising young  … Read More 

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