Former Seahawks offensive lineman Frank Beede was dumbfounded Wednesday when he was named NFL Teacher of the Year during a surprise assembly at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif.
The day began as just another hump-day Wednesday for Frank Beede.
A former offensive lineman for the Seahawks, Beede now teaches history and coaches the O-line at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif. – roughly 10 miles from where he grew up in Antioch. Before the day had ended, however, Beede was the stunned recipient of the 2010 NFL Teacher of the Year award.
“I was absolutely and completely shocked,” Beede said. “I’d heard of the award, but you never even imagine being nominated let alone winning it.”
Beede received the award during an afternoon assembly at the school, but not before some nifty espionage work by his wife, Kim, and principle Erik Faulkner, who nominated Beebe for the honor – which includes a $5,000 award for him and a $5,000 grant presented to the school.
“I’m dumbfounded a little bit,” he said. “I had no idea about any of this.”
Kind of like his unlikely career with the Seahawks. Beede always planned on becoming a teacher, but he took a meandering path to his present position because of his ability to play football.
After starting for two seasons at Cal, Beede finished his college career at Panhandle State – where he earned NAIA Division I All-American honors. He signed with the Seahawks after the draft in 1996 and made the roster as a rookie. He was with the team for five seasons, playing in 48 games and starting eight.
“I was in the Young Teachers Association when I was in high school and I always knew I wanted to go into education, because I had a couple of great teachers when I was in middle school who really inspired me,” he said. “I really didn’t expect to have a NFL career. I wasn’t even thinking about it, then I was fortunate enough to make it.”
Once his career was over after the 2000 season, Beede returned to Cal to finish his degree and then got his teaching credential at Cal State-East Bay in Hayward. He has been teaching for eight years – 10th grade world history, as well as a class for English-as-a-second-language students. Oh, and there’s also that obvious gig as an assistant coach for the football team.
“Frank is a very modest individual. He does not brag that he was in the NFL,” Faulkner said in a statement. “However, when Frank does talk about his experience in the NFL, he speaks with a very appreciative tone that he was fortunate enough to have played football for that long and at that level.
“I have heard him talk about the fact that he never considered himself a gifted athlete, but that it was his work ethic and attitude that carried him to that level. He relates this learning experience to his students to let them know, ‘It is not about the skill, but it’s about the will.’ Students love to learn about his stories as an NFL player going up against future Hall of Famers and how sometimes they got the better of him, but that he never gave up and sometimes he came out victorious.”
Beede feels like a winner, just because he got the opportunity.
“Just good people, a lot of great memories with the offensive linemen,” Beede said when asked what he most remembered about his days with the Seahawks. “It was a really nice time. We had some good teams. Not maybe as good as after I left, but we were always really solid and played well.
“So there are a lot of good memories.”
One of the best is yet to come. Beede will raise the 12th Man Flag at the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 14. The Seahawks played in the Kingdome and at Husky Stadium during his career. He visited Qwest Field for the first time last season.
The view will be a little different this time, as he stands above the south end zone prior to kickoff.
“I’m really excited about that,” he said. “The new stadium is amazing, so I’m excited to come back again.”
Wednesday, his past and present intersected during the assembly – but only after Beede was thrown off course. Literally.
“What they did was, they snuck me off to a meeting at the district office,” he said. “When I came back, one of the assistant principals wanted to meet with me. She said, ‘Oh, can you walk with me?’ I said, ‘OK.’
“We were talking about the district meeting. Then we walk into the cafeteria and she says, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re the NFL Teacher of the Year.”
By the way, indeed. Waiting for Beede was the entire student body, including the football team – in uniform. His mother was there. So were his wife and their kids – Frankie IV, 9; Kendall 8; Travis, 21; and Justin, 23.
“They were all there, screaming and yelling,” he said. “I was completely shocked. I had no idea it was coming.”
It was a secret well-kept, for an honor well-deserved.
“I’m really impressed,” Beede said. “Even my little kids knew, and they normally can’t keep a secret.”