One of Fort Wayne’s all-time greatest volleyball players has passed away after battling the coronavirus. North Side graduate and former Ball State all-American Chris Beerman died Sunday in Lexington, Kentucky, at age 53.
After graduating from North Side in 1986, Beerman set the NCAA career record with 1,047 digs, was a two-time all-American and played in three NCAA Tournament finals fours before graduating in 1990.
He held eight Ball State records, including career kills with 1,777.
Following his playing career, Beerman became a coach, assisting the Ball State men for a year before moving to the women’s bench in South Florida and Louisville and then becoming a head coach at James Madison and Pittsburgh. He led both those teams to two NCAA Tournament appearances each, going 90-36 at James Madison and 154-89 at Pittsburgh, being named Big East Coach of the Year in 2003.
During his first practice at James Madison, Beerman told his team, which finished 9-18 the previous season, that it would win 20 games. The Dukes, who hadn’t won a conference match in two years, finished 25-9 and made the NCAA Tournament.
Beerman became an assistant coach at Kentucky from 2008-11 and then became owner and director of Lexington United Volleyball, a junior club program.
He’s the son of fellow Ball State all-American and former coach Tom Beerman, who won two state titles at Snider. Beerman married former Ball State women’s player Mary-Beth Singleton, and they have a son and daughter. The daughter plays for Indiana.
A GoFundMe page was started to help the family and has raised more than $60,000.
Beerman had been hospitalized for two weeks.