An Envious Position

GO KNIGHTS Sean Beckton is in his 12th season as an assistant at his alma mater.
Sean Beckton is in his 12th season as an assistant at his alma mater.

Oct. 22, 2012

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By Eric DeSalvo

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Sean Beckton is the envy of many college coaches around the nation. The wide receivers coach at UCF has never had to stray too far to find work after wrapping up a standout career at his alma mater in 1990.

"A lot of coaches across the country are envious of me," Beckton said with a grin on his face. "They always come up to me when I'm at conventions or out on the road recruiting and say, `Man you've been at UCF forever.' In this profession, it's hard to stay in one spot as long as I have."

Now in his 12th year on the job, Beckton has seen UCF's campus morph from a smaller commuter school on the east side of Orlando into the nation's second-largest university with every amenity imaginable. In his playing days, the father of two and his teammates knew that although they didn't have state-of-the-art facilities, it was just a matter of time before the school and program took off.

"When we were over on the other side (of campus) in the old Wayne Densch, that's what we had," Beckton said. "We took ownership of it and there was a lot of pride. We knew that the program was going to grow. Guys just kept coming in and we got better every year."

After brief stints with the Chicago Bears and the Cincinnati Bengals in the National Football League, Beckton's coaching career with the Knights began. From 1996-03, Beckton mentored some of the top wideouts in program history, including Siaha Burley, Doug Gabriel, Jimmy Fryzel, Brandon Marshall and Mike Sims-Walker.

When he returned to the program in 2009 under head coach George O'Leary, he served as the defensive backs coach. That move gave Beckton a whole new perspective on the position when he assumed the wide receivers post once again early in 2012.

"Being on the defensive side of the ball, now I can see a lot of different things on offense, and it has really made me into a better coach on the field and off the field - trying to get the receivers to understand what the defense is trying to do to them," Beckton said.

Another perk of the job is being able to coach his son, Sean Jr., in life and on the football field. Halfway through the 2011 season, Sean was moved from wide receiver to defensive back and worked side-by-side with his dad.

"Like a typical father, you're proud to see your children do well," Beckton said of his son. "He's able to do well in school and be a part of a championship program. My wife and I are graduates here and he'll be able to graduate from this great university."

Having played, coached and mentored his son all while being at his alma mater, the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame inductee hopes that he is donning Black and Gold on the sidelines well into the foreseeable future.

"This is the only place I want to be as a coach and to see this program continue to grow."

This story appears in the September issue of Knights Insider magazine. The publication, which is published six times per year, provides an inside look at UCF student-athletes, coaches and alums. To order the magazine, click here.