In addition to his duties as a soccer coach at Dana College, Shad Beam was the Vikings' sports information director.

Whether the day's games resulted in success or failure, the Dana alum had the details.

“I just wish people would have had the foresight to figure out budgets,” Beam said earlier this month.

With the 2010 closure of Blair's college, professionals in the athletic department were without jobs. In no time, coaches lost their teams and were forced into finding student-athletes new schools.

Many coaches, however, didn't have long to wait for their own new opportunities.

“We had so many good people,” Beam said. “We've been successful outside of Dana.”

Dana Coaches Roundup

Members of the coach Chris Fear's 2009-10 Dana College men's basketball team pose for a program photo. Team members are Tony Braithwait, Alex McCleary, Tristan Washington, AJ Arkfeld, Josh Harris and Blair native PJ Mallette.

Chris Fear, men's basketball

Chris Fear started a 10-year run as the Vikings men's basketball coach at age 27.

“We had a nice run,” he said. “A great decade.”

Fear's family grew as he coached hoops in Blair until one day he didn't. The coach was at his daughter's softball game when he got the email informing him Dana College was no more. He met his players hours later to tell them the news at an open gym.

Fear's Viking teams had their struggles at the end of his run, battling teams that had less scholarship cuts to deal with. The coach was on a school finance committee, but hadn't sensed the closure coming.

He rebounded, though, joining a few of his Dana players at Midland for an assistant coaching job under longtime head coach Rich McGill. He ran the defense before earning another head coaching job at Kansas Wesleyan.

“It really didn't work out too well,” Fear admitted.

Now, though, the former Dana basketball coach has found a new avenue in the sport. He's coaching high school girls basketball at Salina Central in Kansas.

“It's been a very interesting and enjoyable experience,” Fear said. “More fun than I imagined.”

Jason Shumaker, football

Jason Shumaker was never on the sidelines for a Vikings game, but spent December 2009 through July 2010 as their head football coach.

He was hired by former coach and athletic director Bill Danenhauer and got right to work recruiting, developing players and working toward building more community engagement.

But, “You can only do so much in six months,” Shumaker said June 22.

A Viking reached out to the coach on the day the college closed, talking about how he had just days to move out. Initially believing the situation only involved that player, Shumaker second guessed himself and called back for the full story. He typed into Google the school of his first head coaching job and learned the truth.

“It was shocking to say the least,” he said.

Not only was that week one of the most challenging in Shumaker's life, but his phone would ring for weeks as things shook out. He helped one player land at the University of Nebraska-Omaha just for that football program to fold one year later, too.

Andy Schneider, that lineman, eventually wound up at Midland, while Shumaker has coached in the Southeastern Conference, at Idaho and now at Louisiana Tech in the past 10 years. Someday, he'd like to get a second chance at becoming a head coach so he can, “Try to get through a full season.”

Warren Kuhl, women's golf

Coach Warren Kuhl started the Dana College women's golf program and was with it until its end.

“I was floored,” he said of the closure. He'd heard ramblings of issues, but hadn't seen “doomsday” approaching.

Fortunately, Kuhl had already had a long career at that point.

“I was 60,” he said, noting that the situation was tougher for the coaches with young families. “I got hurt so much less.”

The golf coach moved onto Midland and was joined by several of his Vikings who reached nationals as Warriors.

Kuhl retired at Midland in 2019, but was hired as Central Community College's golf coach this spring. To this day, he remembers his Dana days fondly.

“When someone says 'Dana' I smile,” he said.

Dana Coaches Roundup

Led by coach Beu Vest, the 2009-2010 Dana College wrestling team finished ninth at the national tournament. Team members were, front row from left, Ryan Tuzon, Clayden McKim, Mark Peiffer, Eddie McCray, Matt Jacobsen and Josh Ghobadpoor. Back row: Jon Wilbourne, Kyle Conley, Ty Costa, Tyler Lauifi, Andrew Carrillo, Adam Manz and Aaron Wilcox.

Beau Vest, wrestling

Beau Vest admits stages of his last 10 years have been rocky.

He coached a dominant wrestling program at Dana College and considered quitting the profession when it closed. Midland, however, started a new program with him in charge after he attended a meeting Beam invited him to. He created the opportunity to keep his Vikings wrestling team together and went with it.

As the years went on, though, Vest and Midland decision makers came to disagree. Again, he considered moving away from coaching until former Dana College women's basketball coach Shane Larson gave him a call.

Larson had earned an athletics director job at Cowley College in Kansas and called on Vest to start another new wrestling program.

“Shane definitely put in a good word for me,” the coach said.

Vest has enjoyed his time at Cowley and even has former Dana assistant coach Antonio Barber on his staff. Their former school's closure, however, gets more and more disappointing as the years go on.

“There was a lot of good things at Dana when the bomb hit,” he said. “The kids were die-hard. They loved it.”

Vest and company thought everything at the school was solid up until the final day. He believes administrators knew better, though.

Graig McElmuray, football assistant

“Heartbreaking,” Graig McElmuray said of his reaction to the 2010 Dana closure. “I felt for all the young men.”

The current Tekamah-Herman High School head football coach worked as an assistant at Blair's college while also working in an academic department focused on sports careers. He said Vikings were feeling nervous about their academics after the school shut its doors.

“None of us had any answers,” McElmuray said.

Now, the coach says his Tigers are poised for a strong season this fall. He enjoys high school coaching after spending time on college sidelines.

“I enjoy the relationships you build with families,” he said.

Dana Coaches Roundup

Members of Dana College's final women's soccer team pose for a poster photo.

Shad Beam, women's soccer

Beam believes his 2010 Dana College women's soccer team would have had a solid season. They were a top-three team in the Great Plains Athletic Conference by his estimation.

The coach had started the Vikings' club teams well before they became sanctioned and was with five of his players at a Harlan, Iowa, camp when news of the closure came. He said they wrapped up the camp before he relayed the information to the young women.

“The six of us just sat there and cried,” Beam said.

The Vikings ended up at schools like Nebraska Wesleyan, Midland and Briar Cliff, while the coach also made a stop in Fremont for a year. He then served as the Omaha Vipers' team manager and went onto the College of Saint Mary.

“Once again, I had to rebuild the soccer team,” he said.

Beam eventually spent four years as the Omaha Mavericks' sports information director before his current role as coach for two Nebraska Futbol Club Roja teams.

Allen Friesen, track and field

Brijesh “BJ” Lawrence earned Dana College's second-ever track and field gold medal at nationals just months before the school closed.

“Dana's track team was on the upswing,” coach Allen Friesen said. Six total athletes had qualified for outdoor nationals. “I was pretty excited for the future.”

Instead, the Vikings ceased to exist. A day after Dana had closed, Iowa's William Penn University had reached out to Friesen with an opportunity.

At Dana, the coach was an assistant for the football team and was the the director of the cross-country program in addition to his track responsibilities. At his new 10-year home, he coaches track.

“I have a lot more free time,” he said.

But that doesn't mean Friesen doesn't claim Dana anymore. He has a flag of his former school hanging in his house.

Rayna Cain, volleyball

Rayna Cain was hesitant jumping back into a volleyball coaching position after Dana College closed.

Her husband encouraged her, though, knowing that if the mother stopped, she may never coach again.

Dana Coaches Roundup

Rayna Cain has found success in volleyball coaching since her Dana College days. She is the head coach at Nebraska Wesleyan.

So, Cain signed on as an assistant at Des Moines Area Community College.

“I got to stay in the game,”she said.

And with her work there, Cain earned an opportunity she holds to this day. She's the head coach at Nebraska Wesleyan.

“The Lord has a plan and he had one for us,” she said.

The coach had signed on at Dana fresh off of earning her master's degree at Wayne State College. She also coach at Neligh-Oakdale High School, but was taking on her first college job in Blair.

Cain would coach multiple all-conference players before the school closed.

Today, the former Vikings coach still uses her black, red and white plyo boxes for workouts with her Wesleyan team. Every once in a while, the new Prairie Wolves will ask why they're those colors.

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