Traditions of late track coach remembered, honored

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Esther pic

Esther Beile takes a picture with State Senator Tome Brandt after she was honored as an outstanding library volunteer from the Nebraska Library Association.

Esther Beile, wife of the late Fred Beile was honored on Saturday during the Fred Beile Classic.

This meet was named to honor long time Doane track and field coach Fred Biele. 

Beile began his coaching career as the head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach in 1973. He became the head coach of the new women’s program in 1979, a Doane University article honoring Beile said. 

During his time as head coach, Beile coached 327 All-Americans, 60 individual National Champions, 101 All-American Scholar Athletes and helped the team win two team National titles in 2001 and 2002. 

This meet in particular is special to Doane track and field head coach Ed Fye. 

Beile was Fye’s coach for four years when he attended Doane University. Fye then went on to be assistant coach for Biele for 18 years and served 17 years as co-head coaches together. 

According to Fye, Beile “set it [the track program] all up.”

He brought in Brad Jenny, Dave Dunnigan and Fye to cover all the aspects of the program. 

“All we knew about track and field was what Fred taught us,” Fye said. “He [Beile] had his core values and that’s what he taught me and the coaching staff.”

“This is pretty much the only job I’ve ever had and the only money I’ve ever made,” Fye said. “I pretty much built my life around Fred giving me the opportunity to coach when I had no experience.”

“He [Beile] told me, ‘keep the traditions alive’,” Fye said. 

To Fye, the traditions include alumni, legacies and all the people who have ever been part of the program and built it. 

“For Beile, the pride isn’t in the numbers - it’s the students,” the Doane article said. “That’s his true joy, teaching them the real value of the program is the pursuit of excellence as an attitude. That they are not limited by their own expectations. Lessons that live on long after Doane.”

Beile was named NAIA National Coach-of-the-Year six times, was inducted into the Doane and NAIA Track and Field Hall of Fame, named Lincoln Journal Star State College of the Year and Omaha World-Herald State College Coach-of-the-Year. 

On Feb. 18, 2018 Beile died at the age of 86. He remained active in the Doane Track and Field program until the weekend before his passing. 

“God had a reason for putting me on this earth and evidently part of that reason was to do some good with some kids from rural Nebraska,” Beile said in an interview in 2015.