Record-Setting Athlete To Retire From SHS


Justin Black

Finish Line: Retiring Coach Vincent Bean stands in front of the school’s showcase filled with some of his years of awards for track, football and basketball when he was a high school student at Southfield High. Bean came back to teach at his alma mater.

After 30 years of teaching, Vincent Bean has finally reached the finish line of his career. The history teacher plans to retire in June.
On top of being an easy-going, fun-loving Health and history teacher, Bean is an award-winning Blue Jay athlete, coach and father. In fact, the history teacher is a key part of Southfield High School’s sports history.
Though Bean is humble about his sports accomplishments, he has many of them.
Bean graduated from Southfield High School in 1980. During his senior year he was all-state in football, basketball and track. He went on to play football and run track for the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Yes, he was one of a small number of two-sport college athletes. He was that good.
In high school Bean did not really want to run track; he was interested in baseball, but track coach Tom Eschmann encouraged him to run. “I went from not wanting to run, to breaking the school record,” said the student athlete. In his day he was the Midwest long jump champ, with a leap of 24 feet and one inch. He still holds the school record in that event.
Track became Bean’s favorite sport, but he became a professional football player in the National Football League (NFL).
After college, the track star played football for the St. Louis Cardinals. “My favorite part about being in the NFL was the traveling,” Bean said. Being on the St. Louis Cardinals allowed Bean to travel all of over country. “San Diego was beautiful and a great place to fish,” recalled Bean.
After his glory year in the NFL , Bean came back to Southfield High in 1986 to work as a teacher and coach at his alma mater. In his first year of teaching, he worked as a Physical Education teacher as well as a coach of basketball, football and track.
“Being a student-athlete made me a better coach because everything the athletes were trying to do, I had been there. I can understand trying to get the test scores to match up with the skills,” said Coach Bean.
His former football coach, Cal Fletcher, is the person Bean said inspired him to coach. “I admired his work ethic and how he would set a standard and not deviate from that,” Bean said.
The history teacher has two children – Brandice and Brandon Bean. Older daughter Brandice attended Southfield-Lathrup High School. “I don’t think she wanted to come to a school where I taught,” said Bean.
But son Brandon, on the other hand, did choose to attend Southfield High and became an accomplished athlete,, following in his father’s footsteps. Brandon Bean played football for the Blue Jays and went on to play football for Grand Valley State University.
Even through all Coach Bean’s glory days at Southfield High School, the celebrated athlete said his overall favorite memory is going to his son’s football games at the same field where he once played and watching his son play in the boys varsity football Blue Jay uniform.
Over his 30-year teaching career, Bean went from teaching Physical Education to teaching Health, Sociology, Economics, World History, American History and Psychology.
“Mr. Bean is a great teacher and always makes sure his students understand their work,” said senior Chelsea Williams, who is enrolled in Bean’s Economics course.
As his teaching career ends, the Blue Jay legend said he will miss interacting with the students the most.
“Mr. Bean is a gentle giant,” said Principal Sonia Jackson. “His warm and kind spirit will be missed at Southfield High School.”
After retirement, Bean aims to spend most of his days fishing on Lake St. Clair. “I’ve met great teachers and great students here,” says Bean. “I am proud to be a Blue Jay.”
Although Bean will be leaving Southfield High School, he remains a permanent part of the school’s history.