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Friday, October 19, 2012

UK Greats – Where Are They Now?
Dicky Beal sets example for Covington kids

By Feoshia H. Davis
KyForward correspondent


Dicky Beal, a University of Kentucky basketball standout, remains a Covington hometown success story nearly 30 years after leaving UK.


The former point guard and Holmes High School grad was part of the 1984 Final Four team and a NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player. From 1980 to 1984, Beal represented Northern Kentucky’s contribution to the Big Blue Nation as the Cats went 96-27 during his tenure. One of the nation’s top point guards of his time, Beal was drafted in 1984 by the Atlanta Hawks, but his basketball career soon ended. A nagging knee injury kept him off the court.


Since then, Beal has carved out professional positions for himself. Before returning to Northern Kentucky a few years ago, he lived in Lexington, then Louisville, where he spent eight years as pharmaceutical sales rep for Merck.


About eight months ago, a bad economy led him to sell his Independence-based insurance agency. He’s now between jobs but is looking for work in sales or management.


Though looking for new work, Beal remains upbeat about his future.


“It was virtually impossible with this economy to start an insurance agency. There were people in the business for 20 years who said it was the toughest time to be an agent,” said Beal, who lives in Wilder. “I would love to get into medical sales again; that would be my dream. But I would also love to manage a sales team or office, anything like that.”


Before going to UK, Beal was a basketball sensation at Holmes High School from where he was fiercely recruited.


“It never ceased to amaze me graduating from UK so long ago, the people who respect and love me. It’s overwhelming the things people remember about you. I am so grateful and appreciate what people show me day in and day out,” he said.


Beal has fond memories of his time at UK and credits his basketball and educational experience for elevating him out a tough life growing up in Covington.


“It was huge for me. Even before college, I was able to get outside of my community and see different places,” he said. “It was a whole new world for me, being able to travel and being able to experience things outside Covington. I understood there was no limit to what I could become.”


Though basketball isn’t the center of his life today, Beal still tries to attend basketball games at Holmes and at UK.


“I try to go to games and do as much as I can. I try to go about five to six UK games and attend as many high schools games in the area when I can,” Beal, who also has nieces and nephews who play high school sports across the Northern Kentucky region, said.


Helping kids and promoting education has been a lifelong passion for Beal. Until recently, he sat on the board of the Tubby Smith Foundation and the Covington Education Foundation.


“I love doing things for Covington kids,” he said. “Through the Tubby Smith Foundation, we provided computers to kids who couldn’t afford them. They were good kids, troubled kids. We helped them get a computer in their house, and they took classes to learn the ins and outs of computers. It gets kids off the streets, and gets them into something positive.”


The Covington Education Foundation helps college bound kids afford the basics of going away to school.


“They provide money for kids going to college who don’t have extra money. They can use it for clothes, bed or a TV,” he said. “When I went to school, I didn’t have any money at all. It’s tough for some Covington kids. They have a scholarship, but no job or money.”


In addition to being part of community organizations, Beal tries to be an informal mentor to kids at Holmes and other area schools.


“I just do it on an individual basis,” he said. “I try to come to schools and talk to the students I get to know a little more. I try to help them as much as I can, and give them a little guidance. Being positive plants something different in their minds. Sometimes they hear a lot of negative talk even from friends and family.”


In the end, Beal’s own life experience, as well as his faith, push him to reach out to others.


“I’m a Christian through and through, and I have strong faith. If you feel that way, you want to see people succeed and people be happy,” he said. “That is what you are supposed to do as a decent person, as a Christian, be an influence in a way that is positive.”


Feoshia H. Davis is a freelance writer based in the Northern Kentucky area. She is a former reporter for The Kentucky Post and The Cincinnati Post. She can be reached at feoshia@gmail.com. You can also follower her on Twitter.