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Fred Beile

Former Doane track coach Fred Beile, shown in 2002.

Fred Beile, a coach who turned the Doane track and field programs into NAIA powers, died Sunday at the age of 86.

Beile came to Doane in 1961 and was named head men's track coach in 1973. The school added women's track in 1979.

He led the Doane women to national outdoor titles in 2001 and 2002, and coached 327 All-Americans, 60 national champions and 101 All-American scholar athletes. Beile's teams also combined for 65 conference championships.

"He was a father to many of us and will be missed," Doane track coach Ed Fye said in a prepared statement. "This coaching staff will work hard to keep his legacy going." 

The Doane men finished national runner-up at the 2001 national indoor meet.

Thirteen Doane teams finished in the top four nationally under Beile, who was named NAIA national coach of the year six times and inducted into the NAIA Track and Field Hall of Fame.

"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 2015.

Beile retired following the 2002 season, though he continued to remain involved with the program. 

Originally from Park Ridge, Illinois, Beile, upon his arrival at Doane, served as head cross country coach, assistant track coach, instructor and athletic trainer. He had previously served as head track coach at the University of Kansas City until the school drop athletics in 1961. According Doane, Beile at the time believed that it would be one year before he and his family would move on from Doane, but they found a place they could not leave.

"He spent a large portion of his life trying to make Doane track and field great, but in the process helped shaped many lives,” Doane cross country coach Brady Jenny said.

The Doane track and field teams continue to flourish under the guidance of Fye, who was a longtime assistant under Beile. Doane swept the Great Plains Athletic Conference championships Saturday in Crete.

"I stopped in last night after the GPAC championship and told him we had won both men and women’s championship, and he looked at me and said, 'How do we keep doing that?'" Fye said. "I told him it is because that is what he taught us — compete for what you want, draw a line in the dirt and let’s race. He will never be forgotten and his words will forever flow through Fred Beile Arena."

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