On the football field at New Richmond High School, Dylan Beaugard thought his athletic career was over.
The pain coursing through his left knee told him this was not just a simple problem.
“When it first happened, I thought it was my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament),” Beaugard said of a knee injury that ended his high school football season in Week 6. “The first thing I thought about was my career is over. Since I didn’t have any (college) offers or hadn’t heard from any coaches at the moment. I thought I was done.”
Fast forward to Wednesday morning at the Wilmington High School media center when Beaugard signed with Division II Ashland University to play basketball. Years of hard work were not dashed by a knee injury.
“It’s a process,” Beaugard said. “All the summer basketball I’ve been to, I’ve worked so hard … to be able to finally say I can play four more years (of basketball) is great especially since I can’t play my senior year. It gives me something to look forward to in the future.
“Ashland sent me a couple of text messages and the coach from Mount Vernon Nazarene had called me before we found out it was the ACL. After we found out, they (Ashland) had already offered me and I verbally committed to them. When they called and I told them (it was the ACL) they said they were still happy to have me there. To know they still have faith in me means a lot.”
Ashland’s show of faith wasn’t a surprise to WHS basketball coach Michael Noszka.
“I think a lot of that depends on the integrity of the program and the integrity of the guy in charge of the program,” Noszka said of Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. “That integrity is being shown here.”
Noszka said Beaugard’s determination – on and off the court – will not only allow him to return to full strength for Ashland but excel on the basketball court and in the collegiate classroom.
“In practice on a daily basis and on game night, he is a fierce competitor,” Noszka said of Beaugard. “The funny thing about athletics is it is hard to turn that off when you aren’t playing. But he is very competitive in his academics, too, so he funnels it that way. I just think this is going to work out for everybody. He’ll have no problem recovering from the injury. He’ll be fine.”
Beaugard had the opportunity to play either football or basketball in college. He said the University of Cincinnati had shown interest for football as did Mount Union and Marshall. Mount Vernon Nazarene was in the mix for basketball. In the end, Ashland’s new business program was the decisive point that led him to the institution in north central Ohio.
“I’ve been on a campus a couple of times,” Beaugard said. “It just felt right. I was just hoping to use either sport to make it to college and help pay for some of the tuition … (paying for) all of the tuition is fine. I was more looking at the school, honestly it didn’t matter which sport. I love them both. If (Ashland) football had offered me, I probably would have thought about it just as much. I just really liked the school, whichever (sports) opportunity I had.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports