By Ryan Clark
When Kay Lynch and Chuck Beckman were students at Xavier in the early 1970s, they had little to no interest in sports—not even basketball.
Now, however, they’re superfans who won’t hesitate to stop and talk with the Musketeers’ basketball coach when they see him outside of the arena.
But wait a minute. We’re getting ahead of ourselves.
You could understand why the pair weren’t originally focused on athletics. They both had other things going on in their lives—Kay, especially. She was one of the first female students admitted to attend day classes at the University. The fall of 2019 marks 50 years since Xavier’s undergraduate day program opened to women.
But Kay also was putting herself through school working second shift at a local bank. And when another college told her she would need to quit her job to continue her studies, she decided to transfer to Xavier.
“And they were able to help me. I could take my classes and still work,” says the 1972 sociology graduate. “I couldn’t quit my job because I was paying for school.”
Chuck and Kay were focused on their studies, as well as each other. They married in 1975. Kay earned her Master of Education in 1982 and went on to work for Hamilton County for 22 years developing programs for adults with mental disabilities. Chuck earned his degree in psychology in 1972 before coming back for an MBA in 1981.
The pair started Beckman Machine in Cincinnati in 1989, a contract machine shop that specialized in low-volume parts, fixtures and prototypes.
By then, they’d already discovered they had a love of Xavier sports.
It probably started somewhere in the early 1980s, Chuck says, when his brother-in-law got him into watching the games. Then he and Kay started going regularly, and it became a bit of a community event. They enjoyed watching with the same crowd, and they made friends.
Of course, the biggest moment from that time was the first NCAA Tournament win in 1987 over Missouri.
“Oh yes,” Kay says. “That was special.”
See, Chuck, who is 69, says Kay, 68, is the real “die-hard” fan. But they both agree that they love following Xavier’s teams—they also have season tickets to the women’s basketball games. They say they like watching the student-athletes mature and grow, both as people and players.
Chuck says they then started following when Xavier went to play games on the road, especially in their postseason tournaments. When they sold the machine shop in 2012, they had a lot more time on their hands.
“We went to Hawaii. We’ve been to the Virgin Islands,” he says. “And we started to go to the Atlantic 10 Tournaments every year in Atlantic City.”
And when Xavier made the big move to the Big East, Kay and Chuck were there, ready to go and watch their team in the Big Apple.
That is, except for one season. “I had heart surgery that year,” Chuck says, laughing. “It’s a lame excuse, I know.”
Still, they’ve been to nearly every postseason game for the men’s team for the past 20 years. And earlier this season, they followed them to Hawaii. That’s where they were able to catch up with new Head Coach Travis Steele.
“He’s so open to everyone, willing to listen if you have something to say,” Kay reports. “He talked to us for a long while. And I love the way he coaches. He doesn’t seem to yell as much as some of the other coaches do. He seems to motivate in a different way, and I just love him to death.”
This week, Chuck and Kay are back at Madison Square Garden, watching the Musketeers from the first row, center court. They’ve been married 44 years, and they’ve never loved their alma mater more.
“I just want to make sure we play well, maybe win a couple of games, and we’ll have a good time watching them,” Kay says. “It’s a joy the way they’ve been playing as a team. I think they can win the whole thing. They really can beat anybody.”