When local resident and sports fanatic Sam Beckom heard the Kokomo Jackrabbits were coming to town in 2015, he made a few calls to friends to see about working on the entertainment team. Having taught percussion to local high schools, including Western, Logansport, Zionsville and Westfield, he was looking to fill his summer gap with something fun. He eventually advanced through the ranks, becoming entertainment director, broadcast director and press coordinator. Once the Kokomo BobKats team was born, Beckom began doing operations with that team as well. Last November when Owners Mark Jansen and Jeff Beeler asked him to become the general manager of the BobKats, he jumped at the chance.
“I never would have dreamed years ago that I’d be a GM of a sports team,” Beckom says. “It’s cool getting to work with people like Cliff Levingston, a two-time NBA champion whom I’ve always looked up to, and David Magley, the president of our league. Over the weekend I was sitting next to [former Indiana University basketball player] Kent Benson at a combine and we were counting the same guys.”
Beckom and the team love nothing more than hanging out with community members in Kokomo. Interacting with fans is a big part of what The Basketball League players do. That might mean surprising local students with a visit. It might be dropping by area nursing homes to chitchat with residents. It might be participating in the Real Men Read program, for which players read stories to young children.
“Our players are always out in the community all the time, interacting and giving away tickets to games,” Beckom says.
Last year they disseminated 5,000 tickets to local schools. This year they hope to double that number.
“We want to get young fans into the stadium,” Beckom says.
A Kokomo BobKats dance team and a team ball dog will soon serve as halftime entertainment.
“The BobKats are already known for having a good drum line and deejay who bring the energy to the gym,” Beckom says. “We’re excited to expand on that.”
On a recent trip to Disney World, Beckom, a 2009 graduate of Western High School, popped the question to his girlfriend Cassy. In their free time, the couple, who met at a BobKats game, frequent sporting events like Colts, Indians and Indy Fuel games. Beckom’s favorite place to be, however, is at the Kokomo Memorial Gymnasium, not just because he adores basketball, but also because of what the game brings.
“The games gather the community together – that’s the best part,” he says.
For more on the Kokomo BobKats, visit kokomobobkats.com.