(Editor's note: Montana State University media release)
BOZEMAN – Jimmy Beal, a coaching veteran of more than a decade who played on two Big Sky Conference championship football teams at Montana State, returns to his alma mater as running backs coach, MSU head coach Jeff Choate announced Friday.
“Jimmy is someone I’ve known for a long time, dating back to his days working at Rocky Mountain College,” Choate said. “He’s a well-respected coach and is considered one of the elite recruiters in the Big Sky Conference. He has a great reputation as a developer of running back talent and had one of the premier groups in our conference at Northern Arizona. He also worked at a powerful Missouri Valley program at South Dakota State, so he has a lot of experience at our level. I’m excited that he’s back at Montana State.”
Beal comes to MSU from South Dakota State, where he coached running backs in 2019. Before that he was Northern Arizona’s running backs coach from 2010-18, helping a player earn all-Big Sky honors in eight of the nine seasons. Lumberjack back Zach Bauman earned All-America honors three times, 2011-13, and set the NAU rushing record (5,132 yards) under Beal’s tutelage.
“It’s a blessing to come back to where it all started for me,” Beal said. “To be in the community, to drive by and see the stadium, really brings it home."
Beal began his college football career as a Bobcat in 2002. He redshirted on the team that beat Montana to win MSU’s first Big Sky title since 1984, and as a redshirt freshman in 2003 rushed for 162 yards as the Cats won their second consecutive Big Sky championship. He moved to cornerback in 2004, logging eight tackles in 10 games.
“I was on the first team to beat the Grizzlies in quite a few years, won the league, and I saw the excitement then, saw the vision,” he said of his time playing at MSU. “To see it come full circle and be a part of the program again, that’s very exciting.”
The Los Angeles native also ran track for the Bobcats.
Beal finished his playing career at Rocky Mountain in Billings. He joined the team in 2005, and as a senior in 2006 earned team MVP and Most Valuable Running Back honors. He graduated from MSU with a degree in art education and a minor in coaching in 2006, and earned his master’s in sport management from MSU Billings in 2009. Beal coached RMC receivers in 2007 and running backs in 2009, and from 2007-09 also coached sprinters for MSU Billings.
Beal’s appointment begins immediately. He leads an experienced group of running backs that includes junior Isaiah Ifanse, who has gained nearly 2,000 rushing yards as a Bobcat, and veterans Lane Sumner and Shane Perry.