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Hall of Famer Brian Brohm: Multi-sport athlete cover boy

June 12, 2018 FieldsColumn


Brian Brohm was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in November 2012, for a story on “The Vanishing Three-Sport Athlete.”

BY MIKE FIELDS (June 12, 2018)

When Brian Brohm was inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame a couple months ago, most people remembered him as a mega-star quarterback who led Trinity to three consecutive state football championships.

But he was much more than that.

Brohm was a multi-sport cover boy, an athlete for all seasons, whose last go-around at Trinity was nothing short of spectacular.

“My senior year was very important to me. I wanted to have the best year I could possibly have,” he said last week.  “And we pretty much did that. I definitely cherish all those memories.”

Brohm’s versatility earned him national notice. As a junior, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated (November, 2002) for a story titled “The Vanishing Three-Sport Athlete.”

As a senior, Brohm put an exclamation point on his high school sports career:

  •  In football, he quarterbacked Trinity to its three-peat by completing 22 of 31 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 victory over arch-rival St. Xavier in the Class 4A title game. A few weeks later he earned Mr. Football honors.
  • In basketball, he helped the Shamrocks to their first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance. They advanced to the state quarterfinals before losing in triple-overtime to defending champion Mason County and its star Chris Lofton. Brohm averaged a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in Rupp Arena.
  • In baseball, he played right field and hit cleanup (.409 batting average) for Trinity, which made it to the State Baseball Tournament. The Rocks reached the semifinals before falling to Lafayette. Brohm was named to the all-tournament team.

“It was like a magical year,” said Oscar Brohm, Brian’s dad.

It was natural that Brian played multiple sports. After all, it was a family tradition.

Oscar played football, basketball and baseball at Flaget. His mom Donna participated in basketball, field hockey, volleyball and track at Angela Merici.

Brian Brohm helped Trinity to the school’s first Sweet Sixteen in 2004.

His older brothers Greg and Jeff were multi-sport athletes at Trinity, too, and his sister Kim played volleyball, basketball and softball at Mercy.

Growing up, Brian sampled just about every sport.

“It was more than just baseball, basketball and football,” he said. “I played volleyball and soccer, too.

“When I was young I was never pushed to specialize, or to take one sport too seriously. It was about having fun playing them all and being the best athlete I could be.”

For a while he thought he was best at hoops. “I was on two or three basketball teams. I was playing every day,” he recalled. “But once I got into high school, football became my favorite for sure.”

Still, he didn’t want to give up his other athletic pursuits, and his Trinity coaches (Bob Beatty in football, Mike Szabo in basketball and Steve Tompkins in baseball) didn’t force him to narrow his focus.

“They were very accommodating,” Brohm said.

Brian Brohm quarterbacked the Shamrocks to three consecutive state football titles.

With football’s success extending into December, Szabo understood Brohm would miss the basketball preseason. And with basketball dribbling into March, Tompkins knew Brohm would miss preseason baseball workouts.

Oscar Brohm remembered summer being an exhausting time for his youngest son.

“By the time Brian was in high school, it was harder for kids to play more than one sport because you were expected to do a lot in the off-season, too,” he said. “Football would have their 7-on-7’s, baseball would have their leagues and so would basketball. So sometimes Brian might be going to football in the morning, baseball in the afternoon and basketball in the evening.

“He was pretty busy, but he enjoyed it.”

And it made him a better athlete in a myriad of ways.

“Just being out there competing, being on a team, learning team dynamics and how to win,” Brian said. “When you’re involved in multiple sports, you learn to interact with a lot of different people and personalities in a positive way that’ll help your team win.”

There’s also much to be gained athletically.

“There’s a lot of carryover from sport to sport,” Brohm said. “In basketball you’ve got to have some athleticism in moving your feet and being tough. That helps you in football and baseball. Then there’s a lot in baseball that carries over too. The throwing motion and arm strength help you in football, and the eye-hand coordination helps you in every other sport.

“But I still think the biggest part is the team dynamics, putting yourself with different groups and learning to be a leader.”

Brohm, who went on to play football at Louisville and in the NFL,  thinks hitting a baseball is most difficult single thing to do skill-wise in athletics. But he said nothing is more demanding in all of sports than playing quarterback.

“It’s the ultimate. It’s definitely the most challenging and requires the most qualities, both as a skilled athlete and as a leader. It’s the most encompassing position there is.”

The Brohm brothers’ belief in the benefits of being all-around athletes has served them well, and they’ve carried it into the coaching profession.

Jeff is the head football coach at Purdue, and his staff includes Brian and Greg. When they go recruiting, they have a preference for a certain type of athlete.

“To this day we like guys who play multiple sports,” Brian said. “We want to see guys in different elements, different atmosphere. We want guys who play multiple sports, who show they can do different things athletically. We want competitors and winners.”

Competitors and winners like Brian Brohm, Trinity football, basketball and baseball alum, Class of 2004.


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