Sammy Beale "Dr. Baseball" Passes Away
January 2, 2018
Former Miller School of Albemarle head varsity baseball coach, Sammy Beale, passed away. Sam Beale was admired and respected throughout Charlottesville for his success as a player and coach. In addition to coaching a wide range of levels of baseball, from little league to college, Sam ran a successful baseball academy.
Sam lived and breathed baseball. During his own time as a player, he was a fearsome hitter and star catcher at the University of Virginia. He took his vast knowledge of the game as well as his optimistic philosophy of living to the coaching realm, where he had a positive impact on generations of baseball players in the Charlottesville area. He often had simple but profound advice for his players: "Hit that little white thing with red stripes." While he had an ability to relax his players with simple instructions, he made his players great by teaching them the intricacies of the game in a manner that was understandable and relatable. He was called "coach" almost everywhere he went in Charlottesville; however, he could have just as easily been referred to as "teacher." Sam knew how to motivate his players in the game of baseball as well as academics and life.
During his time at MSA, Sam's effervescent personality and deep knowledge of the game rejuvenated the baseball program. Starting in 2001, Sam steadily built the program with the support of his assistant coaches and supportive parents. He became a great ambassador for MSA's athletic and academic programs. Sam's team matured to the point where, in 2006, MSA won its first-ever state baseball championship. He continued coaching the MSA team successfully until his health began to decline in 2012, at which point he turned the reins over to JV coach, Billy Wagner.
Following his career on the Hill, Sam continued to instruct boys and girls on the fundamentals of baseball. Even though his health was in decline, Sam remained an enthusiastic and able instructor. Former Head of School and baseball coach, Lindsay Barnes, commented, "through Sam, legions of young people learned to take valuable lessons from the sport and to apply these lessons not only on the baseball diamond, but, more importantly, in their daily lives."