Before Beck Nitcholas interviewed for the head coaching job at MacArthur High School, he had to make one very important consultation – with his son, Bryler, who was entering his final year of high school.
“It’s been a dream job for me to be a head coach my whole life, but I wasn’t going to miss my kid’s senior year as a coach,” says Beck. “So I asked him first, if [coming to MacArthur with me] was something he would do before I even applied.”
“It wasn’t a hard decision to make,” says Bryler. “I’ve always told him I was going to go where he was at. When he got the job here, I told him, ‘I’m still going to be with you.’”
Together, the two have made an impact on the football program at MacArthur High School. Bryler plays six different positions – receiver, kicker, punter, on special teams in kickoffs, cornerback and safety for the Cardinals – and serves as a coach of sorts on the field. This has eased the transition to a new school in his final year.
“It helps that I was able to come in and find a way to help the team. It made it easy to make friends,” says Bryler. “Helping people with plays helps people make friends, too. They’re like ‘hey, thanks, man.’ And it leads to other conversations.”
“Not to mention, as a coach’s kid, you definitely have to prove yourself,” adds his father.
Coach Nitcholas would know. He was a coach’s kid, too. His father, Bill, coached him throughout his years at R.L. Turner High School in neighboring Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. The two later coached together at MacArthur during Beck’s first stint at the school beginning in 2001.
“You have to especially make sure you’re doing right because you are a coach’s kid,” Beck says. “Fortunately, Bryler does. He has been a blessing. If he was not my kid, I would still think of him as a good kid. He’s not going to cause any trouble. He’s going to do his work. He’s going to set the example. But as the coach, I have the advantage that I can just pop in to his classes and check on him. He can tell you some stories.”
Bryler playfully rolls his eyes and laughs.
“Oh yeah. I’ll be sitting in class, and I’ll hear a knock on the door and see him,” Bryler recalls. “One year, he walked in on my birthday and sang happy birthday in front of the class. I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Why are you here?’ Then my friends would be like, ‘ We love your dad. Wish he would come in here everyday.’”
Then there’s the magic show Coach Nitcholas performs for his classes and teams at the end every season.
“He’ll be like ‘It’s the end of the year. I’d like to do something for y’all – a magic show.’ And I’m just like, ‘Not again’,” says Bryler. “I’ve seen this magic show for 10 years. It’s not so impressive after that long.”
The good-natured ribbing has led to an obviously well-gelled bond between the two as father-son and coach-player. Between the laughs, there is a deep respect.
“He is very hardworking,” says Bryler of his dad. “I’ve learned so much about the game from him, too.”
That could also be from the constant film studies that come with being the son of a coach.
“There are no boundaries,” says Bryler. “It’s pretty much football all the time. I’ll get home, and he’ll be like, ‘Come down here. Come look at this film.’”
Then, before Bryler could drive, there were the car rides.
“Whenever we’d leave games I’d be like, ‘All right, you’re riding with me’,” says Beck of his son. “And he’d be like ‘No, I’m going to go with mom.’”
“Because I knew it would be a film study all the way home,” interjects Bryler. “The whole way home he’d be like, ‘On this play, you could’ve done this.’ ‘On that play, you could’ve done that.’ Usually it’s good plays that he brings up. I’ll be like, ‘I scored on that play.’ And he’ll be like, ‘Yeah, but you would’ve scored faster if you did this.’”
Despite the added pressure and blurred lines, both are grateful for the opportunity to grow together
“I appreciate it all now,” says Bryler. “He’s going to be hard on me, but it’s constructive criticism, and it makes me better.”
“Part of the reason I wanted to coach was because I remember what it was like when my dad coached me,” adds Beck. “It’s been just as special as I hoped.”