True blue signing

Evan Grice
Dickson’s Rusty Beard smiles alongside members of his family and members of the Dickson High School baseball and football coaching staff last Wednesday afternoon after signing his National Letter of Intent to play college baseball for Connors State College in Muskogee.

DICKSON — Someone once said “You’ve got to be persistent to get anything out of life.”

It’s a message that Dickson Comets baseball coach Stephen Sullivan and Comets standout catcher Rusty Beard have both taken to heart over the last few years.

Wednesday afternoon, it brought with it an outstanding reward for Beard and for Sullivan.

In front of his friends, teammates, and family members inside the Dickson High School administration building, Beard officially signed his National Letter of Intent to play college baseball for the Connors State College Cowboys in Muskogee.

“This has always been a dream of mine to accomplish something like this,” Beard said. “I’ve been around baseball all of my life, and it’s helped get me through some tough times in my life. Now it’s giving me the chance to further my education and to go to the next level. I can’t ask for anything more.”

Throughout the last four years, Beard hasn’t just been a standout on the diamond, but the football field as well.

Last season on the gridiron, Beard helped guide the Comets to the playoffs, and this season was a member of the All-District team.

As for his success on the diamond last year, it spoke for itself in spades.

Beard was one of three Comets players named to the All-Ardmoreite baseball team last year, finishing with a .386 batting average to go with a .511 slugging percentage along with 20 stolen bases and 23 RBI’s. He also threw out more than 30 percent of runners who attempted to steal a base.

While his numbers and work ethic were never in question, Beard’s journey to Connors State was ultimately sealed thanks to his head baseball coach.

“Coach Sullivan has been the best coach I’ve ever had,” Beard said. “He just wouldn’t stop bothering colleges until someone decided to sign me. He was hounding Connors State so much just to get me a workout with them and once he did then I knew the rest was up to me.”

“I was very familiar with the campus at Connors State,” Beard added. “I really liked the coaching staff and they really liked me, so once we established that then I just knew I wanted to play there. Connors has a great winning tradition, and I want to carry on that tradition. With a tradition comes bigger schools looking at quality players and giving them the chance to play further down the line.”

Under the guidance of head coach Perry Keith, the Cowboys have experienced more than 30 plus winning seasons, which include multiple trips to the NJCAA Division 1 JUCO World Series.

Last season was one of those instances, where the Cowboys finished with an overall record of 48-13 on the season, which included winning nine out of their first 10 games of the season.

Before he trades his blue and white for orange and black however, Beard will look to have more success this spring with the Comets baseball team.

“The community of Dickson has always had my back and I’m so thankful for all the support,” Beard added. “I’m hoping to make this last season very special and share it with some great teammates and coaches.”