By Joyce Erekson
Ryan Beliveau is heading back to school.
The 2015 Salem State University graduate played on the school’s baseball team for four years, but when he heads back to SSU next month, it will be as an assistant coach under head coach, Mike Ward. Having just wrapped up his college playing career, Beliveau will be coaching guys who were his teammates last year.
“It’s going to be a little different getting use to coaching rather than playing,” Beliveau said. “I’ll be coaching with guys I played with, some for two years, some for three years. It will be good to see those guys go out their senior year.”
Beliveau said he helped coach a 16U AAU baseball team with Ward over the summer and when a position opened up on the Salem State staff, Ward offered it to him.
“I gladly accepted,” Beliveau said.
The 2009 St. Mary’s High graduate planned to play at Rhode Island Community College coming out of high school, but he tore his labrum and ended up coming home. He sat out a year to allow his injury to heal and when he returned to school, it was at Salem State. Over the course of his four-year playing career, the Vikings played in four Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) championship games. They won two and lost two. He played in the New England Regionals twice.
“We’ll be looking to get back into that position again this year,” Beliveau said.
Beliveau played shortstop for the Vikings and in his coaching role he’ll be working with the infielders. Although the team lost a couple of players to graduation, he said there’s plenty of returning talent.
“We have a great core coming back, plus some transfers and incoming freshmen who should step up and fill some slots,” he said.
Beliveau majored in criminal justice at SSU and is hoping to get into the next class of the Essex Country Sheriff’s training academy. He’s currently working as a substitute teacher at St. Mary’s and he’s coaching the St. Mary’s freshman basketball team.
Beliveau’s passion for baseball and his desire to get into coaching are inspired in part by his father, Jim Beliveau. Jim Beliveau has been involved in youth baseball since his son played T-Ball at Pine Hill Little League. He has been the Greater Lynn Babe Ruth president since 2010.
“Playing for my father through Little League and Babe Ruth and seeing his dedication to not only coaching me, but coaching other kids inspired me,” Beliveau said. “I hoped that one day I could give back my knowledge and experience of the game to future ball players.”
Jim Beliveau is being honored by the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association on January 24. Although he isn’t associated with high school baseball, Beliveau is being recognized for his exemplary service to the sport.
“Hopefully I can give back as much as he has in my future,” the younger Beliveau said.
Beliveau is looking forward to working with his former college coach.
“Coach Ward is an excellent baseball coach. He has a great knowledge of the game,” Beliveau said. “He demands a lot from his players, but not too much. He’s looking for three things – 100 percent effort, the ability to answer the bell and to be responsible for your actions or mistakes.”
Salem State finished 27-15 (10-4 in the MASCAC) last year.