Washington football coach Brad Beller rebuilds after tornado

His players were among the first ones to help after his house was destroyed.
BY ROBERT PRZYBYLO, Staff Writer, bprzybylo@opubco.com Modified: June 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm •  Published: June 21, 2011

Kami Beller didn't wait for the worst-case scenario. The wife of Washington football coach Brad Beller reacted fast when she heard about how destructive the May 24 storms were going to be.

In between making sure her family was going to be safe and secure, she took the time to videotape the entire inside and outside of the house for insurance purposes.

A couple of hours later, that video would hold the last images of the Beller house as the family knew it.

The Beller's house in Goldsby was one of several destroyed by the tornadoes that hit the greater Oklahoma City area.

“We knew it was going to be bad when the fire department came by and said it wasn't a matter of when but where (the tornado was going to hit),” Brad Beller said. “I can't believe Kami was in that frame of mind to do something like that, but it's really helped.”

Washington was scheduled to participate in a football camp in Comanche. Less than an hour before the storms hit, Beller and his assistant coaches decided to cancel the trip. And though technology has come a long way, Beller said it was tough to contact 54 players in such a short time span.

They were able to make contact, though, and none of the Washington players were injured during the storms. Some of the players' houses, though, weren't so lucky.

Two players (Jacob Johnson and Bo Nixon) had their houses destroyed, while Brandon Benson's house suffered so much roof damage that his family will no longer be able to live there.

The Beller family stayed with Brad's parents in a storm cellar before coming out to see what had happened. That Tuesday night was a blur, Beller said. But what happened the following day said more about the tight-knit Washington community than anything else.

“There were more than 250 people helping out,” Nixon said. “They were going from house-to-house and just seeing how they could help.

“Football players were among the first ones out there. For high school students to be out there at 7 a.m. without school — that showed me just how much those guys care about us.”