Welcome to Coreybrinn.com and thanks for visiting my new site. I have tossed around the idea of starting my own website with a running blog for quite some time, and am thrilled to see it finally come true. I have to start off by thanking my buddy Mark Wolfe, of Wolfepackcreative.com, for helping me put together and host this site. Mark has truly been a great friend throughout my entire life and I just knew that someday we would be working together, even if neither of us are making any money off of it yet. I love the idea of being able to write and report how I want, covering any number of topics that may come up. I do envision blogging on this site mostly sports, with a very strong emphasis on professional baseball, and my job with the Dayton Dragons, but more on that later. First of all, I would like to tell the readers who I, Corey Brinn, am and where I came from.
I was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, and outside of numerous travels for work or pleasure, I have never left. I am a proud graduate of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati. Yes, that is the same Sycamore High School that Boston Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis went to. I am asked all the time that question and if I knew Kevin. Let’s just say that I could put up some pictures of Kevin and I at a very young age playing with Lego’s or at the park, but I do not want to make him mad.
During High School I always wanted to participate in Athletics and be able to letter at the Varsity level. My parents are great and have given my numerous gifts over my years, but athletic ability really was not one. I picked up the sport of Ice Hockey around the age of 12, and was thrilled when Sycamore added a team my sophomore year, allowing me to play for the rest of my high school career. While at Sycamore High School I also found another passion, writing. As a freshman, I decided to take a class for The Leaf, the schools monthly newspaper. The class was to teach skills necessary to write, design, and execute putting together a newspaper. From day one I really enjoyed myself and was determined to climb the ladder from a Freshman Staff Reporter to as high as I could go. As a freshman, I was not allowed to write many articles that were to be published, as most of our time was spent learning and behind the scenes. When it did come time to take on a few real assignments, I turned to the Sports Section to see what I could do. I was blessed with a great sports editor, who decided that he would make a life-long career of it. My editor was Stewart Mandel. Yep, the same Stewart Mandel that covers NCAA College Football for SI.com among other media sources across the country. It is so cool to turn on ESPN Radio or log onto the World Wide Web and see Stewart talk or read something that he has written. I have also respected Stewart and his passion for his job and am proud and happy for his success. I was also blessed to have is younger brother Jamie work under me in my later years for The Leaf.
When it came time to sign up for classes for my sophomore year at Sycamore I happily selected the newspaper class again. I was given the position of Opinions Editor and was in charge or designing my own two pages each month and managing the articles and writers for my section. Again determined to continue to climb the ladder, I applied, and was accepted to be Sports Editor my junior year at Sycamore. As an added bonus, I was given my own Sports Column that appeared in each issue where I was allowed to speak my mind of various school or national sports topics.
It all came together my senior year as I was selected as overall editor-in-chief of The Leaf. I also kept my sports column to write each issue. It truly was a challenge to manage and be in charge of putting together an entire newspaper, but luckily I was blessed to be surrounded with great people.
After graduation from Sycamore High School, I decided to stay local and attend the University of Cincinnati. After moving into my dorm freshman year, I remember wondering what my place in this campus was going to be and what I should be going after to begin setting up my career for after school.
One dream came true as I got a position with the University of Cincinnati’s Men’s Basketball team. The Bearcats have always been a huge part of my life, as I have attended home games since I was born and hardly ever missed a road game on TV. Something about watching Bob Huggins and his ‘Cats take the floor got my emotions rolling and I was hooked. Most will say that I attended UC for the pure fact of my love for the Bearcats. I was now considered a Student Manager for the Basketball team, an honor that I would later find out if pretty important for Coach Huggins and his squad. In what little free time I had left, I wrote a few articles for the University of Cincinnati’s newspaper, The News Record, covering some Men’s Soccer and other assignments that I was asked to do.
I will never forget my first day helping out the team. It was early October and practice had not officially begun. All the team was allowed to do was host individual workouts in groups of three or less, entire team conditioning (without a basketball) and open gyms (where no coaches could be present). I went to the office to meet with Frank Jessie, a former Huggins assistant who was now in the office doing mostly operations and administrative work. After a short talk, Frank must have liked me enough to keep my around as he said he wanted me to meet Head Student Manager Joe Roberts. As Frank and I walked into the gym, Joe was walking out, getting ready for workouts in the Shoemaker Center’s auxiliary gym, Lawrence Hall. Frank introduced me to Joe, as he handed me a clipboard and told me to follow him. I was wearing boots, jeans, and a long sleeve shirt, definitely not dressed to rebound and help with workouts, but I was in no position to say anything about it.
I was led into Lawrence Hall where I was introduced to Assistant Coach Rod Baker and quickly put to work. Rod and I would become great friends during his years at Cincinnati and I always considered Rod a strong influence in my life. When Joe was satisfied that things were under control, he would excuse himself from individual workouts. It would take a book to explain, but Joe and I never did get along very well during my first, and his final year as a student manager. To this day I am not really sure why we bumped heads, but it hardly matters at all anymore. Joe and I became as close as can be and remain very good friends to this day. There is little that I enjoy more than kicking back with Joe and a Diet Mountain Dew and talk about the good old days as Bearcats.
After the individual workout was done, the entire team assembled in Lawrence Hall for a team conditioning session led by Head Strength Coach Mickey Marotti. This would be Marotti’s final year with the Bearcats as he would move to Notre Dame University and now resides with the University of Florida helping the Gators to National Championships. It is important for me to try to set the stage of what Lawrence Hall was like. It was nicknamed “The Hot Box” for its lack of good air flow and the acoustics were terrible, allowing for a conversation or two to fill the air loudly. There was only one main court in Lawrence Hall and no real room for bleachers. This place was only used when the main floor in the Shoemaker was occupied.
Coach Marotti continued to put the team through their conditioning with a variety of sprints and agility drills when the door loudly burst open and Coach Huggins appeared. I had been watching Huggs on TV for years and seen him in person many times, but usually from a far. He seemed larger than his listed 6’4” height as he angrily began to yell. Ok, angrily is not a good word, but describing Huggs at times is difficult to do. He yelled and screamed at the top of his lungs with some choice words that are not safe for this blog entry at this time. Being in Lawrence Hall made it sound 10 times worse as he went off. Apparently, one of the players had skipped class that morning, causing the whole team to run suicide sprints for quite a while. And this day, my life as a member of the Bearcat basketball team started and I was introduced to Coach Huggins and the way it was going to be around his program.
I could turn my next eight years at the University of Cincinnati into a book with all that I saw and went through with the Men’s Basketball team. From Alaska to Puerto Rico to two-a-days to five hour practices, I was there every step of the way. But for now, I will limit the stories to just that one, wanting to share that first day and show an impact that it had on me. I was shown from day one, that there was “never a dull moment in Bearcat Land,” and that you better do what is right, or you would hear about it.
I grew to love Coach Bob Huggins as a basketball coach, a mentor, a motivator, a role model and most of all a friend. I still stay in touch with Huggs to this day and know in my heart that he will always be there for me, as I will be for him. We went many places together and went through many things from countless road trips, practices, and games. I spent countless hours with him away from basketball whether out to eat, with family, or helping him drive to Akron to see his family, specially his mother when she grew very ill. I have so many memories and stories of my eight years at the University of Cincinnati and would not trade them for anything. All that know the situation, know why Coach Huggins, and the rest of his staff, myself included, left UC. It is way to emotional of an experience to express at this time in a few lines.
Upon leaving the Clifton campus, I decided that it was important to further my education and went on to attend Xavier University to study for my master’s degree in Sports Administration. Xavier and the University of Cincinnati are separated by only 3 miles and take on a large rivalry. Growing up loving UC, forced me to hate XU, but now I found myself going to campus a few days a week for classes. All I can say is that I started many verbal fights there as I proudly wore my Red and Black to each class that I attended.
I received my master’s degree from Xavier in two years and then it was time to hit the job market to further my career in athletics. It was another dream and goal of mine to work in professional baseball, my number one love in sports. While some find it boring, I find it the greatest thing in the world to watch a professional baseball game. Most of my friends joke that I do not even need it to be professional, as I could stop at a local park and watch a pickup game of neighborhood kids. I have never gone that far, but point well taken.
In January of 2008, I accepted a job with the Dayton Dragons to be their Head Clubhouse and Equipment Manager. The Dragons are a Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. My first duty was to attend Spring Training in Sarasota, Florida and begin to learn the ropes of what being a “clubbie” entailed. After camp in Sarasota ended, I traveled back North to begin my 140 game season with the Dragons, attending both home and away games with the team. I was there each night in the dugout with the team on our journey through the Midwest League.
I will again be working for the Dayton Dragons in the upcoming 2009 season and also plan to travel back to Sarasota, Florida to work Spring Training. This is where our journey together starts. I would like to use this blog space to update you all facets of the job, professional baseball, the players, the team’s quest for a Midwest League Championship, and many other things that may come along. I encourage you all to stick with me throughout, and offer up your questions, comments, and concerns. Although this is Coreybrinn.com, I want my readers to have a part in this, posting comments and sending me emails along the way. If there are things you want me to cover or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks for taking the time to read this long, but hopefully informative opening entry and I look forward to where we go from here.
Corey can be reached in the comment section of each entry or by emailing Corey@coreybrinn.com
by James Earl Jones Field of Dreams