Home In memoriam: UR basketball Hall of Famer, beloved commentator Greg Beckwith

In memoriam: UR basketball Hall of Famer, beloved commentator Greg Beckwith

greg beckwith richmond
Photo: UR Athletics

Greg Beckwith, the starting point guard on the Richmond team that upset Charles Barkley and Auburn in 1984, who would go on to serve as a radio and TV analyst on UR games for more than 20 years, died on Friday, the school announced.

Beckwith, 60, was inducted into the Richmond Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003, and that was before the Uniontown, Pa., native took over as the full-time color commentator for UR basketball on radio and TV, beginning with the 2003-2004 season.

Beckwith and play-by-play man Bob Black were on the call for every major Spider moment since, including the team’s run to the Sweet 16 in 2011, its conference tournament championship in 2022, and its A-10 regular season title, the first in program history, this past year.

“I’m so fortunate to have known Beck for 40 years,” Black said. “We’ve had so many great small point guards over my years, and Greg was the original who set the standard. But it’s the years since that I’ll forever cherish. As my broadcast partner for more than 20 years, Beck was great on the air and even better off the air. His positive, smiling personality, which touched so many people, was an inspiration to me, and we became so close that I think of him not just as a colleague and friend, but as a brother. My heart aches for Greg’s family and for our Spider family. We have lost a true Spider through and through.”

“Our collective heart is broken,” Richmond basketball coach Chris Mooney said. “Beck represented everything we want our players to be. He was positive, energetic, supportive, and kind. He was the best of us. He was a true friend, and we will miss him so much. Our deepest condolences to Julie, Brittany, and BJ.”

Beckwith, as a sophomore on that 1983-1984 UR team, led the Spiders to the ECAC South championship and the program’s first berth in the NCAA Tournament.

UR defeated Rider in the opening round before stunning Auburn, a #5 seed, in a game that marked the start of Richmond’s reputation as “Giant Killers” in the NCAA Tournament.

Beckwith also led Richmond to the 1986 NCAA Tournament as a senior, and he left Richmond as the program’s career leader in assists and steals and held both marks for more than 30 years (he now ranks second behind Jacob Gilyard in both categories).

Beckwith still holds UR records for most assists in a season (200 in 1985-86) and most assists in a game (16 vs Navy on Feb. 25, 1986).

Following his playing career, Beckwith, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in sports management at UR, pursued coaching, serving as a graduate assistant at both Richmond and Virginia Tech. In 1998, he joined adidas, beginning a 23-year relationship that would see him ascend to sales manager of the company’s eastern region.

Following his retirement from adidas, Beckwith joined S&S Activewear as an account executive in 2022.

“Spiders everywhere are shocked and saddened by this terrible news,” UR Athletics Director John Hardt said. “First as a player, then as a coach, and finally as a broadcaster, Greg has been a vital part of Richmond Athletics for more than 40 years. He brought a positive spirit to the Robins Center and everywhere he traveled on behalf of Spider Basketball. We will miss his smile, his laugh, and his love for his school more than words can describe.”

Details of a public memorial service are still to be determined. When available, they will be shared on RichmondSpiders.com and Richmond Athletics social media accounts.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].