Thrown out in the ’50s, but still coaching seven decades later: The saga of RE icon Jim Beverley ’62


Jim Beverley in 1972

“Coming to Ransom gave me a chance to take off,” said James “Jim” Beverley ’62. “Then, Mr. Bowden threw me out.”  

Beverley’s involvement with Ransom Everglades spans 67 years and counting, first as a student and later as a teacher, coach and volunteer. To this day, he is an assistant to Head Coach David Villano ’79 on the Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team, and he acts as the alumni agent for the middle school alumni of the Ransom Everglades Class of 1962. In 2008 he was inducted into the Ransom Everglades Athletic Hall of Fame. 

His long relationship with the school makes him a treasure trove of insight into what RE was like in earlier eras. And as the school has changed, Beverley, or “Bev” as he is known by the soccer players, has been there to witness it, helping generations of RE students achieve their full potential.

Beverley first arrived at the Ransom School in 1954 as a fifth-grade student. He had previously lived in Houston, New York City, Caracas, Lima and Bogota. “I had been in a different school every year, and I was not the best of students,” Beverley admitted.   

“You could get into Ransom if you had a pulse, a brainwave and your father had a checkbook,” Beverley recalled. At the time, the school consisted of only 120 students scattered over eight grades, better known as “forms” back then. The students were either day students, full boarders or weekday boarders who would return home on the weekends.  

“Coconut Grove was a sleepy enough place that it was not too tempting to the boarders,” Beverley remarked. “It was not yet the hippie place it became in the 70s.”  

Beverley likes to boast about his adventures around campus in the ‘50s, especially in the Pagoda, the school’s senior dormitory. Dan Leslie Bowden, the legendary English teacher who joined the Ransom faculty when Bev was in sixth grade, lived downstairs in what is now the Head of School’s office. “Underneath the Pagoda’s porch there was a locker room. You could push one of its plywood panels and sneak underneath the Pagoda to have your clubhouse with cigarettes and other things,” Beverley said. “This was where you could hide away.”  

The village-like campus Beverley attended in the ‘50s bears little resemblance to today’s RE metropolis. “I’m not sure if I would trade [the old Ransom] for the 1,000 student, elite, two-campus, very expensive RE of today,” Beverley said when comparing our school then and now. “It’s hard to say, but as [Coach Villano] once remarked, apropos all the changes, ‘That train left the station a long time ago, and it isn’t coming back.’”  

Despite tremendous turnover among the faculty, “most teachers were as good or better than the ones I had at boarding school, college, or law school,” Beverley said. Mr. Bowden quickly became Beverley’s mentor. He was “without question, and much against my will, an incredibly formative influence,” Bev added.  

At Ransom, Bowden helped Beverley finally emerge from the shell of his older brother, John Beverley ’60. “My brother was and is an academic genius. Smartest student at Ransom, St. Andrews, Princeton and graduate school,” said Beverley. “I bumped from school to school in his academic shadow. The only saving grace I had was being the starting varsity goalie in eighth grade.” Giving Beverley a sense of freedom and independence, Bowden would tell him, “You’re quite a good student. Don’t let your brother bother you. Just fly your own airplane.”  

Mr. Bowden became Bev’s mentor, but he was also his disciplinarian. “He once caught me writing a dirty note to my best friend George,” recalled Beverley. 

Jim Beverley’s soccer team from 1977

Nicolas Stone Perez ’21 with Jim Beverley
Carroll Trophy
State Championship

“I went to see him after class, and I get the chills now even thinking about it. My blood ran cold. There was corporal punishment from time to time, but he was not really a violent man. But he could cut you into 188 pieces with his tongue.”  

“You are the biggest piece of human baggage I have yet to pick up in my entire lifetime!” Bowden exclaimed, according to Beverley. “This note is much better written than the [expletive] you give me for essays. You will do A work on the essays from now on. I will accept nothing less.”  

Soon after, however, Bev the student earned Mr. Bowden’s permanent respect. Bev started to eliminate the Cs and Ds on his transcript and eventually became an A student, which led to his move away from the school. “Mr. Bowden thought I was doing well, and that I should go to a more challenging institution. He was very inspirational to me,” said Beverley.  

In 1958, Beverley began boarding school at the St. Andrews School in rural Delaware. He then studied at Princeton University. At Princeton, he became a national-caliber rugby player as well. After Princeton, he attended law school at the University of Texas at Austin.   

A trip to Miami to visit his parents marked the beginning of Beverley’s next chapter with Ransom. “I came by the school to see Mr. Bowden and to tell him I went to college, I went to law school, and everything worked out fine,” said Beverley. “The University of Miami offered me money to go to post-graduate law school and stay out of the army. But Mr. Bowden said to me, ‘We need a Spanish teacher and a soccer coach.’”   

A Spanish major and a die-hard soccer fanatic, Beverley took up Bowden’s unexpected offer and joined the Ransom Everglades faculty in the fall of 1970. “I was going to do that for one year, and it ended up being 40. 50, really, counting volunteer work [after I retired].”  

Beverley added, “[Bowden] had lit fires for me, and now I wanted to do similar for other students.” Mission accomplished, per Thomas Schein ’21. “He really helped me boost my confidence as a first-year [soccer] player, and I felt that he really helped improve my mindset during games. I’ll always be thankful for Coach Bev,” Schein said.   

In addition to Bowden, Mr. John Bell also served as a role model for Beverley. Mr. Bell, a Harvard University graduate, was the Latin teacher and Languages Department Chair when Beverley returned to RE as a teacher. Bell “had a higher vision of what our school could be,” Bev said. “He was also a powerful mentor to me in my teaching years at Ransom and beyond, as well as to generations of students.”  

As the boys’ soccer coach, Beverley built the Ransom Everglades soccer program into the powerhouse it remains today. According to Bev, a few years after he began coaching, the team was the best in Miami, regardless of division. This team’s midfield included current RE Head Coach David Villano ‘79. Bev departed RE in 1977, but the team that reached the state final in 1979 had his fingerprints all over it.   

Unfortunately, “there was a hiccup in the program a few years after I left,” said Beverley. “The coaches weren’t so into it. This was until Coach Villano took over in 1986.” All these years later, Villano remains the head coach, and generations of RE Soccer alumni dominate the coaching staff. This year’s coaches included Villano, Beverley, Mario Vicente ’12, Buddy Corlett ’07, Marcos Azar ’03, and Michiel “Monkey” van de Kreeke ’88.

“When I arrived, there wasn’t a lot of this sense of ‘I go to Ransom, I love it and I’m going to go back forever,’” said Beverley. The alumni soccer games changed this sentiment. During Christmas Breaks, Bev started to invite alumni who were home to the team’s soccer practice.   

The alumni numbers at practice grew every Christmas, and eventually, it became a formal game. “When I left, it died out a little bit,” Bev recalled. “But when Villano started coaching, he threw gasoline on the fire.” Beverley and Villano often boast that to this day, there are over 100 active RE soccer alumni who frequently stay in touch.  

After stints teaching and coaching at other local schools, Beverley retired from teaching and returned to RE as an assistant coach in 2008. “Since I came back to Ransom soccer, I have learned how to play the third fiddle,” he said.   

Villano is the conductor of the orchestra, but Bev still plays a massive role in the success of RE’s teams. “Bev has this spirit to him that no other coach has. You can feel it. He is dedicated to the game, and he loves the team,” said Walker White ’21, who starred as a goalkeeper, defender, and forward throughout his four years on the boys’ varsity soccer team.  

Players cannot finish a shooting drill without hearing Coach Beverley’s famous proverb: “Low and away wins the day.” Beverley has no respect for fancy shots or extravagant flair on the field. To him, the easiest way to score is on a low shot to either side of the goalkeeper. “Good goalies love the guys who kick it hard, but straight at him at head level,” Beverley added.  

At the end of every season, he presents the Jim Beverley Award to a senior on the team. “It’s awarded to somebody who has been a solid building block of his teams and the guy who did all the work,” said Beverley. “There is never a question of ‘this is what I’m going to do, and screw everybody else.’”

As COVID-19 restrictions altered the landscape of team sports this year, Bev was right there with the team as usual, imparting wisdom and spreading the good cheer he’s famous for.

“He always believed in me and thus encouraged me in ways that few other coaches have been able to do,” said Danny Mendoza ’21, a direct beneficiary of Bev’s drills.  

“Bev has so much thoughtful insight and really brought a no-cutting-corners type of attitude, which I loved,” added Schein. 

“Everyone always looks forward to hearing Bev’s stories whenever we get a break from playing,” Gabriel Pulido ’21 said.  

“This year’s senior class was particularly special,” said Bev. “It was one of the best old-school years I’ve had. Maybe it was because the parents couldn’t come as much.”   

As is his tradition at the end of another successful soccer season, Bev concluded our interview with a familiar goodbye.  

“Happy trails. Until we meet again.”