While his father was known more his X’s and O’s, along with a jovial nature, Stephen Beene discovered a sterner side Saturday during a ceremony in which Acadiana High named its basketball court in honor of Bobby Beene.
Stephen Beene, who played for his father from 1982-84 before playing collegiately at Louisiana-Lafayette, learned of one such account when Acadiana was headed to St. Amant to participate in the championship game of that school’s tournament.
“They got on the bus, and the guys were quiet, which was unlike them,” Stephen Beene said. “My dad knew they had been out, maybe cutting up a little too much the night before.
“They lost in the championship game. On the way back they wanted to stop and eat. My dad said the next stop was Acadiana High, so he could get them back home so they could party some more.”
That was just one of the stories shared with Stephen Beene, who along with his family and mother Jane, was on hand for the occasion that took place before Acadiana’s game with Hamilton Christian.
Stephen Beene also heard other anecdotes about his father from people who previously were strangers, but connected through the time they spent playing for Bobby Beene, who died Sept. 27 at his home in Santa Rosa, Florida, after six-month battle with mesothelioma.
Bobby Beene was 70.
“There was no question, playing for coach Beene directly affected me wanting to go into coaching,” said Tony Depa, who played for Beene from 1991-95. “Other than my father, coach Beene had everything to do with it.”
Depa, now a nonfaculty basketball coach at Acadiana, helped put the wheels in motion to honor his former coach after Beene’s memorial service in Lafayette.
Ironically, the school was planning to resurface its gym floor and once complete it now adorned with “Bobby Beene Court” in Acadiana’s distinctive forest green on either side of the floor.
It’s the latest such athletic facility at the school that bears the name of a long tenured, successful head coach joining former football coach Bill Dotson and former baseball coach Scott McCullough.
“Acadiana’s never had top-flight talent, but people knew if they were going to play against coach Beene, they knew Acadiana would be ready,” said Depa, who coached high school basketball for 10 years in California and is now self-employed. “When you’re at a place so long, you kind of earn the respect of the people in the area.”
Bobby Beene spent 23 of his 31 years coaching high school basketball at Acadiana. The Rams went 14-0 on the way to a district championship in 2005, his final season.
Beene, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, who played freshman basketball at Ole Miss, made coaching stops at L.B. Landry in New Orleans, where he led them to a state runner-up finish. After a year at Covington and a season coaching at Indiana Technology College, his career was spent in the Acadiana area at Notre Dame, Catholic-New Iberia and Acadiana.
“It was a very special place to him,” Stephen Beene said of his father’s love for Acadiana. “While it’s a football school, he had great relationships with coach Dotson, (current football) coach (Ted) Davidson, (former football coach) coach (Willard) Hanks and coach McCullough. They had something special, and he realized that. He didn’t want to go anywhere else.”
During a 15-minute ceremony, Depa said McCullough reiterated the deep-rooted feeling Bobby Beene had for Acadiana High, rebuffing several coaching jobs, including a spot on the staff at Louisiana-Lafayette.
School principal David LeJeune and Stephen Beene also offered remarks before Acadiana went out and further paid homage to Bobby Beene with a 58-43 victory.
“He would have liked it,” Stephen Beene said of the event that honored his father. “It wasn’t over the top. It was great. He loved the school so much and his time there.”