Seattle Seahawks director of player development Maurice “Mo” Kelly says former East Tennessee State receiver Chris Beatty would be a great grab for a school looking to jump-start its football program with an attractive coaching hire.
Beatty has compiled an impressive resume seemingly as quickly as he ran routes across the Mini-Dome carpet for the likes of Randy Meredith, Gabe Berry and Greg Ryan.
New Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen recently brought in Beatty as his receivers coach. Beatty was co-offensive coordinator at Illinois last season. He was James Franklin’s offensive recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt in 2011, and spent three seasons prior to that as West Virginia’s recruiting coordinator.
Along with the Big Ten, SEC and Big East, Beatty has coached at the FCS and high school levels. He helped guide Hampton to the FCS playoffs as offensive coordinator during his first season in the college game in 2006.
Prior to that he went 40-2 and won a state championship at Landstown (Va.) High School, where he coached Percy Harvin.
“Chris has come up through the ranks,” said Kelly, a defensive back who played three years with Beatty for the Buccaneers. “I think he would be an outstanding, outstanding guy for ETSU.”
Beatty left ETSU following the 1994 season as the Buccaneers’ all-time leader in receptions (125). He won ETSU’s Iron Buc Award in 1993 for the example he set in the conditioning program.
Kelly was a talented overachiever, too. He led ETSU with 135 tackles in 1991 and tallied 375 stops by the time he was through in ‘93. He still ranks third all-time at ETSU behind Mario Hankerson (452) and Shannon DePew (425).
Kelly played with the Seahawks (2000-02) after playing in the CFL. He’s spent nine years in his current position, which includes helping keep young men grounded after they become instant millionaires.
Seattle recently traded for Harvin, and Kelly knows Beatty has a reciprocal respect with players and an eye for talent.
“Chris understands the game of college football is recruiting,” Kelly said.
Beatty worked with the late Harry Galbreath at Hampton. Galbreath played on the offensive line at Tennessee when Phillip Fulmer was his position coach. ETSU has hired Fulmer as a consultant during its start-up.
Who knows – the fact that Beatty coached at ETSU president Dr. Brian Noland’s alma mater (West Virginia) and grew up in Centreville, which is near Noland’s hometown of Sterling in Northern Virginia, could perhaps work in Beatty’s favor.
Beatty has a pretty strong Northeast Tennessee connection, too. His wife, Kris, went to Sullivan South.
“I think you need to restart a program,” Kelly said, “with someone that it means something to.”
Kelly has worked under three head coaches – Mike Holmgren, Jim Mora and Pete Carroll, who led the Seahawks to the NFC divisional playoffs before losing to ETSU alum Mike Smith’s Atlanta Falcons this past season.
“Pete kind of dances to the beat of his own drum,” Kelly said. “He’s energetic … and loves football.”
He also loved quarterback Russell Wilson, as does Kelly.
“If I had 53 of him I probably wouldn’t have a job,” Kelly said. “He was a polished product from day one when he walked in the building.”
A natural-born leader, Wilson visits children’s hospitals on his own time when no cameras are around.
Beatty now shares the Wilson connection. Kelly said the former Wisconsin quarterback plans to do camps this summer in Seattle, Madison, Wisc., Raleigh, N.C., and Wilson’s hometown (Richmond, Va.).
Kelly is happy to have reason other than waxing nostalgic to talk ETSU football. He has discussed the announced return with Donnie Abraham, who, like Kelly, played at Wilkinson High School (Orangeburg, S.C.) before going on to ETSU and the NFL.
Abraham is set to begin his first year as head coach at Clearwater (Fla.) High School, and his son Devin is a rising senior a defensive back at nearby East Lake.
“Donnie’s kid is getting recruited big-time as a DB,” Kelly said.
Among the programs pursuing him are Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Middle Tennessee and Iowa State, where Troy Douglas coaches. Douglas coached DBs at ETSU when Kelly, Abraham and Beatty played.
Kelly has also spoken with former Bucs such as Al Blunt, Robert Robinson and Malachi Jamison since Buccaneer football’s return became official. Kelly even got permission to miss part of Seattle’s OTAs to attend longtime trainer Jerry Robertson’s annual Buc Football and Friends reunion (May 31-June 1).
“Everbody’s excited about it,” Kelly said. “It took a long time … but from everything I hear, they’re trying to do it the right way.”
And they couldn’t go wrong, Kelly says, with Beatty.