As a player, coach and athletic administrator, Tom Beckett has spent much of his life mentoring young people. The Pittsburgh native has served as the director of athletics at Yale University since 1994, overseeing 35 varsity sports and approximately 850 student-athletes, and he announced his retirement effective June of 2018.
Under Beckett’s tenure, Yale has led the nation in teams honored by the NCAA for Public Recognition Awards (Academic Progress Rate - APR) more than half the years of its existence. He has helped recruit outstanding student-athletes to a world-class university while building a highly successful sports program.
Since Beckett came to New Haven, Yale teams have produced 128 championships, including 28 national titles, 73 first-place Ivy League finishes, 10 ECAC events and numerous other post-season victories. He has seen 43 Olympic athletes and 337 All-Americans, while Yale has averaged more than 10 nationally ranked teams during his tenure.
The Yale AD has also been successful in fundraising to transform the school’s athletic facilities into one of the nation’s best. He has supervised the renovation, restoration or construction on 20 major projects. Eleven new facility projects have been completed with nine other venues getting major renovations since 1994.
Beckett has made community involvement at Yale a high priority. His leadership in those endeavors helped create the award-winning Thomas W. Ford ’42 Community Outreach Program, one that brought youth from the New Haven area to the campus for events such as the National Youth Sports Program and Yale Youth Days.
A 1968 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Beckett earned three varsity letters in baseball, serving as the captain of the Panthers’ 1968 team. He received a master’s degree in education from his alma mater in 1972, and is a 1975 graduate of Harvard’s Summer Institute of Life Science.
Beckett played professional baseball in the San Francisco Giants’ organization for five seasons before embarking on a career in college athletics. He coached at the University of Pittsburgh and Butler Community College (PA), and was an athletic administrator at San Jose State University before moving to Stanford University, where he served from 1983 to 1994 as associate director of athletics. During his tenure at Stanford, Cardinal teams won 32 NCAA championships, and the program received seven NCAA “Champion of Champions” awards.
Beckett, a Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) national advisory board member and his wife, Kim (Craddock) Beckett, a special education advocate and PCA New England board member, reside in the Town of Guilford with their son, Alex, a Special Olympics Unified Sports multi-sport athlete.