All in the Spartans’ basketball family

Three generations played basketball for Berthoud

By Bob McDonnell
The Surveyor

A basketball family tradition, started by John Beck (center) in the 1950s, continues today at Berthoud High School. John’s daughters, Kellie Diffendaffer (left) and Teresa Rimsky (upper right) both played basketball at BHS along with Teresa’s husband, Paul (top left). His granddaughter, Tara Olivas, was a player and is now an assistant coach at BHS. Photo by Angie Purdy / The Surveyor

A basketball family tradition, started by John Beck (center) in the 1950s, continues today at Berthoud High School. John’s daughters, Kellie Diffendaffer (left) and Teresa Rimsky (upper right) both played basketball at BHS along with Teresa’s husband, Paul (top left). His granddaughter, Tara Olivas, was a player and is now an assistant coach at BHS.
Photo by Angie Purdy / The Surveyor

Berthoud resident John Beck, a 1955 graduate of Berthoud High School (BHS), remembers his days as a young athlete, especially playing basketball for the Spartans at what is currently Turner Middle School. Beck recalls the small size of the then high school gym. In later years, after being married and having children, Beck found himself in the “new” BHS gym to watch his daughters play basketball, and then years later, to watch his grandchildren.

Not only was the old BHS gym small, Beck says some of the other gyms were too. “When we got on a bigger floor, we were fast,” Beck says.

The class only had 32 or 33 students, according to Beck. Their “big man” was Howard Buehler. “I think he was six-foot-two,” Becks recalls.

Beck’s late wife, Shirley, was a BHS cheerleader. “She was a real big sports fan,” Beck said. He jokingly added his daughters’ athletic ability came from their mother.

Whether it was John or Shirley, the Beck family continued to contribute to BHS sports for decades. This is true even in the current season.

Teresa Rimsky, one of the Beck’s daughters, also played basketball for the Spartans. She says the passage of the Colorado Department of Education Title IX in 1972 allowed her to play. Title IX bans sex discrimination in schools, whether it’s in academics or athletics.

The 1977 graduate not only played the game of basketball, she scored a lot. She set the single-game scoring record her senior year by scoring 31 points in a game. Her father remembers Teresa’s playing style.

Teresa Rimsky goes up for a shot during a game. Jenny Beuhler is the Spartan player on the left. photo courtesy  of Teresa Rimskey

Teresa Rimsky goes up for a shot during a game. Jenny Beuhler is the Spartans player on the left.
photo courtesy of Teresa Rimskey

“Teresa starting shooting from the time she came out of the locker room,” the prideful father laughed.

In her junior year, Teresa and her teammates won the Welco League championship but ultimately lost in district play.

Teresa married a fellow BHS classmate, Paul Rimsky. He attended BHS for two years, where he played basketball as well. Ten years after Teresa, her sister Kellie Diffendaffer came on the BHS sports scene. She played both volleyball and basketball. One of the basketball teams Kellie played on made it to the state championship, finishing third.

Kellie’s husband, Troy Diffendaffer, is Berthoud’s current football coach. Two of the Diffendaffer’s sons played football for the Spartans. They both went on to play at the college level — one at Hastings (Nebraska) College and one at Doane College, also in Nebraska.

Teresa’s daughter Tara Olivas continues the legacy started by Beck. She graduated from BHS in 2001. One of her Spartans teams made it to the “Sweet Sixteen” in the state tournament.

Tara played one year of college basketball at the University of Wyoming as a walk-on.

John Beck pictured in the 1955 Berthoud High School Yearbook. courtesy photo

John Beck pictured in the 1955 Berthoud High School Yearbook.
courtesy photo

She is currently involved with basketball at BHS as well as the varsity assistant for the girls’ basketball program. She also assists with junior varsity softball and basketball. Additionally, she has helped coach at Turner Middle School.

Tara holds a couple of scoring records at BHS. These include career scoring points at 1,627 and most points in a game at 41.

Ironically, the most-points-in-a-game record is the one her mother, Teresa, set some years prior. Berthoud Alum Tiani Hatch broke the record in the early 1990s, then Tara broke Hatch’s mark. Although proud of her daughter, Teresa is quick to note the three-point shot did not exist in her time.

The entire family tries to attend as many BHS games as possible, and they all sit together in the bleachers.

When they are at the games Tara coaches, the two Olivas children attend too. They are 5 and 3 years old. The older one likes to try to shoot baskets before the games. This could be the start of the fourth generation that began with John Beck in a small gym some 60 years ago.