Chris Beaty’s legacy as a ‘uniter’ carries on a year after the former Indiana football player’s death

When Mark Deal, a former Indiana football assistant who oversees the program’s alumni relations, needed former players to help with youth clinics, he always called Chris Beaty.

A walk-on defensive lineman at Indiana from 2000 to 2003, Beaty always provided the same response: “I’m there, Coach.”

Beaty didn’t play much at Indiana, recording five tackles and a sack during his career. But those who met him as a player or an alum were often struck by his presence and positive attitude. Beaty attended games and every possible alumni function in and around his hometown of Indianapolis.

He greeted all with a smile and many with a bear hug — “It kind of takes your wind out of you for a split second,” Indiana football coach Tom Allen recalled.

“He wasn’t Alex Smith or Vaughn Dunbar or Trent Green or Ernie Jones, but man, he was all Hoosier,” Deal said. “A Hoosier hero.”

Beaty promoted Indiana whenever and wherever he could. He also promoted parties and products, venues and businesses, especially around Indianapolis. Beaty had hookups for everything from sound production to catering to a good barber.

More than anything, though, Beaty promoted the people in his expansive orbit. He found jobs for some and relationships for others. His friends said he always saw the potential of the people in his life.

“Chris Beaty was different from most people because he was always rooting for everybody,” said A.J. Foyt IV, the former IndyCar driver. “He wanted everybody to win. He wanted everybody to be successful and be happy.”

On May 30, 2020, Beaty was shot and killed. Family members and friends say the 38-year-old was shot outside his downtown apartment when he intervened after seeing two women being mugged.

His death widely impacted the city where he was known as “Mr. Indianapolis,” and over the past year, tributes to Beaty (pronounced Beet-ee) have continued to flow in. Earlier this year, Indiana and Cathedral High School announced a scholarship and a tuition fund in his name. Indiana named its annual walk-on award after Beaty.

The loss also has inspired those who loved Beaty to come together, even during a year in which it was difficult to do so.

“[In basketball], when you lack a big center, it takes an entire team to focus on rebounding,” said Jason Buckner, who met Beaty at Indiana and now serves as director of draft scouting for the Detroit Pistons. “All of us who were close with Beaty need to make up for his absence.”

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