PORT WASHINGTON, Wis — The nationally-ranked, Wisconsin Badgers football team begins B1G play with a huge home match up against no. 11 Michigan on Saturday.
As UW fans around the state pause to watch the game, supporters in Port Washington will be anxiously hoping to see big no. 65 out on the field.
Tyler Beach is a redshirt sophomore and currently listed as the backup at both offensive tackle spots on the Badgers' depth chart.
The 6'-6", 309 lb. offensive lineman is a graduate of Port Washington H.S.
He played in UW's first two games this season - which were both blowout victories.
"He ranks up there as one of the best players we've ever had in our program," said Port Washington High School varsity football coach John Bunyan.
But he said Beach's days as a Pirate were perhaps defined even more by how he was known off the field.
"He's a good character kid. He was always involved with a lot of activities at school, he volunteered in the community a ton," Bunyan said.
The coach remembers Beach volunteering with the team's reading program, with youth football kids, and with local veterans.
"He was really well-liked," Bunyan said. "Our whole coaching staff loved him."
The coach thinks the bulk of the community is now keeping an eye on the Badgers' season. Port Washington High School Athletic Director Thad Gabrielse agrees.
"I think it connects everybody in our community to the Badgers," he said.
"We're all really proud that Tyler's starting to see some time," Gabrielse added. "He's worked really hard for it."
During his high school days, Beach also participated in wrestling and track-and-field.
"He showed that you don't have to concentrate on one sport," the Athletic Director said. "You can be an athlete, have fun in sports and in school, and still go on to success at the next level."
Gabrielse said Beach was a regular at the high school's fitness center while home from school in the summer of 2018.
Bunyan said he also spent some time with the current high school team's offensive linemen.
"He's absolutely a role model for them," the coach said.
Bunyan said Beach has all the physical tools, and work ethic, to be successful at the B1G level and beyond.
"He represents our city very well, and I think he's going to do some great things over the next few years," Bunyan said.