Trustee Achievement Award
Joel Brean was born in Portage Lakes, Ohio, to Joseph and Martha Brean in 1944. He is the second of four children. He played baseball in the South Suburban 13-15 league for three years, one of which was a championship. He currently lives in Ashland with his wife Melinda and sons Sean (16), and Patrick (13).
He attended Covently High School where he received eight letters in basketball and football as the head manager. He was also Sports Editor of the school newspaper.
Brean graduated from Ashland College in 1967. He again gained eight letters as manager in football and basketball. He was a member of the Varsity A Club, Ashland’s first Sports Information Director, and Sports Editor of the Collegian and the Pine Whispers.
He started his teaching career in the Mansfield Madison School District, but came to Ashland after one year where he ran the fifth and sixth grade intramural program. He retired 34 years later after teaching at Osborn, Montgomery, Lincoln, and Ashland Middle School.
Brean’s first coaching experience was with a Hot Stove Class H team in Akron in a program run by his uncle, Mike Kura, who is in the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame.
In Ashland he started by leading the Ashland Police Colt League baseball team to two second place finishes and assisted with the All-Stars. He had Hall of Famers Dave Honaker and Mike Glasser on his teams.
He has led numerous teams in Ashland Youth League Major, Minor Slugger, and T-Ball programs in additions to Ashland Pony League and Freshman baseball. He founded the Slugger League program.
Brean was an officer in Ashland’s Little League and Pony program for many years. In addition he was a District Director for Pony Baseball for over 20 years in a district that stretched to Albany, New York.
His Ramstein AFB Indians won the league in 1973, when he was teaching in Germany. He was the President of the 55-team youth baseball program at the military base during his second year of a sabbatical from Ashland Schools. He received plaques of commendation from both the base and wing commanders for his youth activities service upon leaving.
Among the many athletes he coached were Bill and Tim Seder and Matt Underwood. In basketball he has coached in the Ashland Church League, Ashland YMCA, Mapleton boys JVs, and Ashland Middle School. He founded the girls sports program at St. Edward in basketball and volleyball.
Brean’s seventh grade girls teams were 39-2 over a three-year period, including 35 wins in a row. His Mapleton JV’s were victorious in the Ashland County Holiday Tournament and his sixth grade boys team won the Spring Friendly House Classic. As assistant to Tom Keplinger, Ashland took home two first place finishes in the Madison seventh grade boys tourney. He helped coach Ashland Hall of Famer Chad Honaker. Current University of Alabama Mens Basketball Coach Mark Gottfied played for him. He also coached a grade school team, the Jazz, at Ramstein AFB, and was assistant with the All-Star team.
As a sports official he has blown the whistle in baseball, football, basketball, and softball. He was one of the original members of the Ashland Umpires Association and has worked numerous top-flight fast-pitch games over a 41-year period. He worked the plate for world-famous hurlers Peter Meredith of Canada and Owen “The Fog” Wilford of New Zealand.
He is currently officiating basketball in the Upwards program at Grade Brethren Church. Brean is a part-time sports writer for the Ashland Times-Gazette for over 20 years. He also wrote for the Mansfield News Journal.
He has coached 76 teams over the years with an overall record of 527-236.
Nominator: George Bringman