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Dawson cross country coach named state coach of year
Beusse pic 1
Coach Charles Beusse gives last minute instructions to his boys cross country team at the region championship race at Unicoi State Park. The team won its third straight on Oct. 26. - photo by Amy French

Fifth year coach and teacher for the Dawson County School system, Charles Beusse was named state cross country coach of the year for Class AAA by the Georgia Track and Field Coaches Association last week.

“It means a lot for me to be recognized as state coach of the year, but it’s really more a reflection of the great young men and women I have at Dawson County High School than anything I have done,” said Beusse. “I view the award more as a recognition of the program than of me.

“It’s not just me out there coaching. Our community coaches Ben Barrett, George Graves, Eddie Roberts and our middle school coach Jonathan Tinsley all work very hard for the program and this award is as much for them as it is for me. I could’t do what I do without these men.”

The Dawson County native graduated from DCHS in 2008 where he played baseball, ran cross country and track but said he really became a coach by luck more than anything else. 

However, he knew from a young age that he wanted to teach.

“I had an interest in coaching, but wasn’t looking for teaching jobs based on that,” Beusse said. “However, when I was hired as a teacher in Dawson County, my former high school coach, Brian DeRose announced the following day that he was taking a job in Forsyth County (he’s now back with Dawson County Schools) and recommended me for the job.”

Buesse said within 48 hours he went from not having a job to having one in an awesome school system along with a coaching position.

“He has done a remarkable job,” said DCHS Athletic Director Grady Turner. “There is not enough I can say about him. I have known him his whole life. He was always a great kid.”

Turner said that when DeRose left, he was worried about who could take his place as DeRose had raised the program to a new level. Beusse not only maintained the level of excellence, he continued to raise it. 

“Better than anything, as competitive as the team is, he does the job with character and respect and is as gentlemanly a man as you will ever meet,” Turner said. “He does it without complaining about the competition. As good a coach as he is, he is an even better man.”

Beusse teaches at Dawson County Junior High where for the last four years he taught English in the Exceptional Children’s department. This year he took a new position at the junior high as the Instructional Technology Coach.

“With this new position, I have the opportunity to help implement new initiatives within the school and work with teachers to improve instruction through the use of technology,” he said. “I have found that there are many similarities between coaching cross country and working within the school. In both roles, you have to be a motivator of people, display a dedication to the goals in place and identify individuals strengths and weaknesses in order to put them in the best position for success.”

When Beusse finished his high school career, he went on to the University of North Georgia where he ran track and cross county under Coach Tom Williams who he credits for investing in him as an athlete and as a person. 

“I believe participating in high school and collegiate athletics helped shape me into the person I am today,” he said “As a coach now, I want to have that same influence on the young men and women I coach.

“I love winning, but I believe the values taught in athletics are why they are so important to our school system.”

He firmly believes in and promotes the runners he coaches by teaching them that hard work, discipline and selflessness applies not only to their sport but to their daily lives. 

“I want these values to make them better students, employees, sons and daughters, husbands and wives and parents,” Buesse said. “If we can do that, then we have made an impact.”

Athletically, he said that the goal is continual improvement. 

“We want to establish Dawson County as one of the best county programs in the state, consistently win region championships and win state in the near future,” he said. “As an educator, my goals are very similar to what I have as a coach. I want to work within our schools to continue to improve our student performance and give them the values and skills they will need to be successful after high school.”

Though Beusse focuses on the values, the winning has come as well.

Under his leadership, the girls cross country team has won three region championships, been top five in the state five times and on the podium at state once. The boys teams have won three region championships, been top five in the state twice and finished as state runners-up this past season.

During his tenure Beusse was also named region 7-AAA coach of the year three separate times, but does not take the credit for that either. 

His passion for high school and collegiate athletics is also undergirded by his commitment to lifelong fitness. Cross country is something he believes is a lifelong opportunity in that regard.

“The opportunities for many sports end after high school, but running is something that can be done long after high school for health benefits,” he said. “I feel that’s important to promote in our community.” 

With the help of Tinsley, the program has grown in Dawson County. 

“Coach Tinsley has worked very hard to build a strong middle school program in Dawson County and we have more 6-8 grade runners competing than ever before,” he said. “In addition, many of our elementary schools are sponsoring marathon clubs to draw an interest in running and fitness at an even earlier age.”

Beusse’s hope is that the running programs in Dawson will continue to grow year after year starting as young as kindergarten.

He has been married for almost two years to Katie who works for Forsyth County Schools.