LAMAR, Mo. — When it comes to the Lamar Tiger football program, Jared Beshore is a certified folk hero.
Now in his third season as head coach, the 26-year-old Beshore has a quartet of state championships to his name, three coming as a player and one as a head coach. Beshore is aiming to keep the storied Tiger football program at the Class 2 mountain top for the long haul.
“I was very blessed and fortunate as a player to have been a part of the Lamar program, and the rise of its success,” Beshore told SoMo Sports.
He credited former Lamar head coach Scott Bailey for his ascension to the college ranks as a player at NCAA Division 1 Missouri State University. Under Bailey, Beshore was a four-time all-state selection while playing running back and defensive back.
“I was able to play with a lot of really great players at Lamar and was lucky enough for that to carry me to the collegiate level and have football help pay for my education,” said Beshore, a three-year starting safety at Missouri State. “I had a little individual success, but would have liked to have won a few more ball games at that level. Just getting the experience to play at the Division 1 level in the Missouri Valley Conference was pretty cool.”
The journey back to Lamar was not something Beshore anticipated happening so quickly.
Lamar football was achieving unprecedented success under Bailey, having reeled off seven consecutive state championships and a nation-best 57 game-win streak. While his job-status seemed virtually untouchable, Bailey opted to depart Lamar for Jefferson City High School in 2020.
Upon graduation from Missouri State, Beshore promptly accepted a student-teaching and assistant coaching position at Branson High School. Beshore and his wife Courtney loved the area and had no plans of leaving, until he threw his hat in the ring to succeed Bailey at Lamar.
“I never planned on that happening — it just kind of happened. I was very content with where I was before I came back to Lamar,” he said. “I can sum it up as being blessed and fortunate and capitalizing on the opportunities I’ve been given.”
New sheriff in town
Beshore said he was mildly shocked by Bailey’s departure from the program. Bailey resigned after one season at Jeff City and is now a member of the Webb City High School coaching staff.
“I think everyone expected him to ride his years out in Lamar,” Beshore said. “But he was in a spot in his life where he thought he needed a change and wanted to pursue some other options.”
Beshore said that Bailey was one of the first people he called while contemplating the Lamar coaching job.
“He shot straight on what he thought about the job and where the program was,” said Beshore, who also replaced Bailey as Lamar’s activities director. “We had many conversations about that before I even applied. He’s just always been a guy I’ve leaned on for advice. He’s had a big effect on me in that role, and sort of convinced me to take a shot at this.”
Beshore shared a key piece of advice offered to him by Bailey.
“He thought that the program needed a new voice,” Beshore said. “Not because he was incapable. He’s a Hall of Fame coach and is going to be one of the most decorated coaches in Missouri sports history. He won seven consecutive state titles, which has never been done before.
“He thought that if there was somebody that could come in and provide a new voice the kids would be more apt to listen, the program wouldn’t level off, and it would continue to flourish.”
Beshore said that Bailey hit the nail on the head.
“I came in and the kids just bought-in to what I wanted to do, and that’s led to our success these last two years,” Beshore said. “My hope is that they continue to listen and do those things — and we don’t end up in a position where I feel I need to move on. I don’t ever want to leave Lamar — this is a program that’s very special to me.”
Beshore noted that he’s kept Bailey’s old school mindset ingrained in the program.
“It’s a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get to work’ mentality,” he said. “My college coach was exactly the same. They were just old school guys — everything that you earned you had to work for.”
Beshore said his coaching mentors have propelled him to the heights he has already achieved as a young head coach.
“I base a lot of my philosophies on work, showing up every day, and being accountable,” he said. “Just believing that it will pay off if you put the work in. Programs that put the work in and players that put the work in — you see it on Friday night.”
Beshore added that the program’s longevity as a juggernaut can largely be attributed to the players.
“We’re not doing anything that other people have not either tried or are not currently doing,” he said. “It’s our kids and the buy-in that they have. We demand a lot out of them.”
Beshore pointed to the voluntary summer weight program as a prime example of that.
“We start summer weights at 4:45 am, and I have 100 percent accountability with it. All 65 of my football players are there,” he said. “That’s a lot to ask of a (teenage) kid, and their parents as well.
“These kids don’t question you, they don’t cross you — they know how the program works. They know that it does lead to success. They are willing to buy-in to that, and let us coach them in a manner that gets them to that level.”
The other theory regarding the success of the program is that there must be something in the Lamar tap water.
“If you taste our water you might think it’s radioactive,” said a laughing Beshore. “My wife refuses to drink it.”
Due to the bar set by Bailey, a state championship is the expectation each and every season. Not only by Beshore, but from the fanbase as well. Beshore has nearly accomplished that feat, winning a state title during his rookie coaching campaign, then narrowly falling in the state title game a season ago.
“There’s expectations and that’s where the pressure comes in,” Beshore said. “I don’t think the pressure ever alleviates — it doesn’t matter how many state titles we win.”
Now 26-2 as a head coach, Beshore said that the lofty expectations are felt by all in the program.
“Our kids and our coaches feel pressure to be successful,” he said. “Our kids have grown up with it and our coaches are accustomed to it.”
Beshore referred to it as a healthy pressure, but said that it’s not always been that way.
“I think there’s been years where it’s been unhealthy — the fanbase is wondering why we aren’t scoring on every play,” he said.
Beshore has zero issues with embracing unrealistic expectations as set forth by the fanbase.
“I think it helps us achieve more than maybe what our kids think we’re capable of doing,” he said.
Beshore described his coaching style as fair, consistent, and demanding.
“I want to be extremely demanding of our players,” he said, noting that the players and coaching staff are too dedicated to the program not to be. “When you expect success — you have to take it to another level. You have to work just as hard to stay at the top as you do to get there.”
Beshore said he also greatly values relationship-building.
“I have a philosophy of building relationships with the kids and letting them know that you’re there for them outside of the game of football, that it’s a lifelong relationship that you always want to keep,” he said.
Lamar’s high-octane offense is fueled by Beshore’s younger brother Joel, a speedy dual-threat quarterback.
“It’s definitely a unique situation,” Beshore said. “Getting to coach your little brother, or any of your family, is really cool. I have a little cousin on the team as well.”
Joel has made significant strides with his brother at the helm.
“The success he’s had has been cool to watch,” Beshore said. “He’s really grown into the game of football because of me being here. I think he’s taken more pride in it.”
Beshore said that Joel is being pursued by multiple D2 schools, including MIAA mainstay Pittsburg State and Truman State.
“He wants to play college football, and I hope he gets that opportunity,” Beshore said.
Beshore said there are no free passes given to Joel.
“When you’re coaching a family member you don’t want to take it easy on them,” Beshore said. “You have to go even harder on them than anyone else to set a precedent. I also have higher expectations for him than the average player.”
With a nearly nine-year age difference between the brothers, Beshore fondly recalls returning home from college during the summers and involving elementary-aged Joel with his summer workout regimen.
“He hated them, but he did them,” Beshore said with a wry smile.
Beshore marveled at how the two have come full circle on their football paths.
“I think those are memories that we’ll look back upon one day — and just kind of see how that’s transitioned into where we are now,” he said.
Beshore described Joel’s style of play as more finesse and cerebral in the pocket.
“He has a tough finesse about him,” Beshore said. “He knows when to make the right cuts and has very good ball skills. But he will also lower his shoulder and you’ll see him be physical, which is something you don’t normally see in finesse-type players.”
Beshore said that his skill position players do not shy away from contact.
“They are not just the kids that don’t want to get hit,” Beshore said. “Oftentimes, now, our skill kids like to hit just as much as the big guys do.”
Despite having not suited up in several years, Beshore still lays claim to being the speediest in the family.
“Joel is not faster than me. I wish he would get faster than me,” said Beshore, who doubled as a track star a decade ago at Lamar.
“Joel has been on an all-state sprint relay team, so he can run,” conceded Beshore. “He relies more on his elusiveness in the open field — and I think he’s more physical than I probably was at the same time in my high school career.”
Football is an all-out family affair for the Beshore’s, as their father Jeff is a member of the coaching staff.
Beshore was recently recognized by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame as a member of this year’s “Elite 11” class. The recognition goes to former high school, college and professional standouts who made positive impacts in the sport. The honorees will be recognized for their achievements during a high-profile luncheon-induction ceremony in Springfield on Oct. 19, which Beshore said he plans on attending.
A press release announcing the honorees noted that Beshore was instrumental in Lamar’s rise to powerhouse-status, helping the program to three consecutive state titles (2011-13), while winning 41 of 45 games during that stretch. For his career Beshore rushed for 4,920 yards and 88 touchdowns, while also tallying 23 career interceptions.
A three-sport letterman, Beshore was integral to Lamar’s state track titles in 2013 and ’14 as an all-state sprinter.
At Missouri State, Beshore accumulated 240 tackles,16 breakups, and seven interceptions during his 44-game collegiate career.
The press release further noted Beshore’s sterling coaching credentials, having guided Lamar to a state championship in 2020 and a runner-up finish in ’21.
Beshore was modest about his selection to the exclusive club.
“I was very surprised to hear that I was selected,” he said. “The Elite 11 is a very cool honor.”
Entering Week 2 of the season Lamar is the No. 1 ranked team in Class 2 — and Beshore intends on keeping them there.
An occasional contributor to SoMo Sports, Matt Resnick is a reporter for the Chanute Tribune and Parsons Sun in Kansas. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.