Steve Beatty: Slippery Rock star

Beatty was divorced in 2002. Son Shawn, who was born in Florida, came to live with his father. He attends Slippery Rock High School, where he is a member of the golf team.

Current status: After working in hotel management in Florida, Steve returned to his hometown of Slippery Rock and works with his brother at Three Rivers Aggregate as a dispatcher for three sand and gravel plants.

Best known for:
Being one of Slippery Rock High School’s greatest athletes. He started for four years on the varsity team in high school and four years at center for the University of Pittsburgh. He averaged double figures and led Pitt in blocked shots as a junior.

How has the game changed since you’ve played?
Kids can jump higher and the speed of today’s game is better, but there’s too much individual play and not enough team play.

What does it take to become a great basketball player?
Commitment. So many kids are good at a lot of sports, but not great at one.”
I remember when my coach took me to watch Larry Harris play at Pitt and he told me that I could play at Pitt, too, but it I would have practice every day. It was at that point that I decided to do it.

Who was the toughest opponent you ever faced?
It was always a big rivalry when we (Slippery Rock High School) played Mike McClenahan from Mohawk. We were both 6-9. At Pitt, I went against many great players, including Patrick Ewing of Georgetown, James Worthy and Sam Perkins at North Carolina. But I think the toughest was Roy Henson of Rutgers.

What’s your favorite basketball memory?
Making a basket at the buzzer to beat Valley High School. Coach designed a play and I was supposed to go to the corner to take defenders with me, but I ended up getting the basketball and hit the shot.

What advice would you give to a parent of a young athlete?
Just like in life, be committed. Don’t do anything half-hearted. You only cheat yourself.

Are you still close to the game?
I’ve only been to a couple of high school games since I played. When I got divorced in 2002, I made a commitment to be the best father I could be. I was a teacher and coach in Florida, but I wanted to come back to western Pennsylvania. Steve went to Slippery Rock University to work out and started picking up a basketball again. “It’s still in me,” he said.

Who was the most influential person in your basketball life?
My dad, who is in the Slippery Rock University and the Butler County halls of fame, and my brother, Bill.

Noteworthy Steve Beatty:
•His dad started the football program at Slippery Rock High School.
•Beatty was a friend of quarterback Dan Marino when the two attended Pitt. “Franco Harris used to come and work out with us,” Beatty recalled.
•As a seventh grader, Beatty went to a basketball camp at Butler Community College, where he caught the eye of Pitt coach Tim Grgurich and assistant Bob Hill.
I was 6-5 then and I played 1-on-1 against both of them. We played all day and they never beat me. I believe they started recruiting me right then.
•Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim came to the Beatty house in an effort to recruit Beatty. “I just didn’t want to go that far,” Steve said. “Pitt was an easy fit for me.”
•Although Grgurich wooed Beatty for years, he never got to coach him. Grgurich left Pitt and the job went to Roy Chipman. At 6-9 Beatty had to play center for Pitt even though he believed he was better suited for forward. Two years later, Pitt added Sam Clancy, who Beatty said, “took all the pressure off me and everyone else.”
•Shawn knew his dad had played basketball in high school and college, but didn’t know how good he had been until his uncle Bill pulled out some old newspaper clippings.
“I took him to a Pitt basketball game a few weeks ago. It was the first time I had been there since 1984.
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