At Oaklandish, we get inspired when we are able to honor and support local heroes who personify our town’s underdog spirit. So we’re super stoked to celebrate the Laney Eagles, Oakland’s grittiest sports team, with our Laney X Oaklandish collection.
The Eagles recently showed the world what it means to be “Laney Built” on the fifth and final season of Netflix’s popular documentary series “Last Chance U.” The series examines the struggles and triumphs of junior college football teams.
Laney was chosen by the “Last Chance U” producers, from among thousands of junior college football programs around the country, for good reason. For one, the Eagles gained mythical notoriety when they seized a national championship after winning the state championship in 2018. Secondly, their program is run by a locally adored, gregarious and difference-making coach.
Many Oaklanders would say that John Beam, the Laney Eagles head coach, is the godfather of football in Oakland. They can rightfully assert he’s done more to boost the game and its players than most of Oakland’s professional team coaches.
His local notoriety blew up during his time as head coach at Skyline High School in the late eighties and nineties. Under his tutelage, the Titans won fifteen league championships, eleven section championships and every league game they played for a decade.
Beam assumed the role as Laney's head coach in 2012 and since then has maintained a .600 winning percentage. His Laney College Football Program has a ninety percent graduation and transfer rate. More than a hundred of Beam’s players have advanced to Division I football, while more than twenty have gone on to play in the NFL. Seven of his players have participated in the Super Bowl.
These stats are incredible considering how many of Beam’s players come to the game with the weight of the world on their shoulders. The communities Beam serves are facing down some challenging hardships and many of his players grow up in tough circumstances. Beam helps them grow and flourish. This work is likely more challenging than winning games and it’s undeniable that playing football at Laney is life-changing for Beam’s players.
Beam also works diligently behind the scenes to ensure Oakland high school players are recognized for their efforts. He leverages his fame to encourage newspaper reporters to recognize young players with postseason honors, hoping the exposure will help them earn scholarships. Additionally, Beam has brought numerous programs and opportunities to the city of Oakland through the National Football League, NFL Players Association, Oakland Raiders, and his own camps.
Oaklandish is thrilled to recognize John Beam and the Laney Eagles for the passion, spirit and vigor they bring to our town. Rep the town & shop the collection: Laney X Oaklandish.