Third time is the charm for Mark Beighley. It was his third time on the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame ballot and he made it.
Third time is the charm for Mark Beighley. It was his third time on the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame ballot and he made it. “I got eighty-one percent in the voting,” he said. Each candidate needs at least seventy-five percent of the vote from current members of the NDAPSSA and members of the HOF.
Beighley is the voice of local sports in Devils Lake, for radio station KZZY. He was one of five voted in this year, and one of only twenty-seven in the HOF. And this career wasn’t anywhere near what he’d planned for himself.
“I wanted to be a teacher and basketball coach,” he said. “I’m from Wisconsin, was going to school there, and coaching at a junior college. And then, I don’t know, I suddenly didn’t want to. I quit going to classes. One night I was sitting with some friends and told them I hadn’t been to class in like three weeks. My one buddy said, ‘Well, why not broadcast school? Become a broadcaster.’”
Beighley thought, what the heck. He checked into Brown Institute and they had a ninety-nine percent grad placement rate. Eighteen months later he was in Devils Lake. “I only planned on staying for a year,” he said. That was thirty-three years ago.
He moved here Oct. 2, 1985, and became sports director in August of 1988. There was an ownership change, he said, and he stayed. “This is the best ownership in the country,” he said.
In order to be eligible for the HOF, a candidate must be either retired with over twenty years of experience, or still active with over thirty years. Beighley said this year’s class was a bit unusual because of its high number of inductees, five, but that may be due to younger members of the NDAPSSA not knowing who a lot of the candidates are. “This past summer there was some discussion that we needed to induct some new members,” he said. “We hadn’t had any new inductees for, oh, the past two years, I think. I honestly didn’t think I’d be one of them, and it is quite an honor. There are only twenty-seven of us, and that’s going back to the beginning of the Hall of Fame in 1987.”
It never gets old going to games, Beighley said. He never dreads having to get ready for work. He has, over the past thirty-three years, covered over 4,600 games. “I never thought I’d do this as a career,” he said, “and now I can’t imagine I ever wanted to do anything else.”