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Inside Pitch Magazine, May/June 2022

Ground Rules: The Brunswick Journey

by Mark Brunswick, Bellefontaine High School (OH) head coach
Mark Brunswick standing on mound with player by his side and while holding baseballBeing raised in a family where baseball is our passion, many things come to mind when we look back and reflect on our journey. Being from a family of seven, we quickly learned the values of sharing and being role models to others. Our father, Lou Brunswick, was a legendary coach from Ohio who retired in 1993 after 35 years with 750 wins, five state titles and countless positive relationships with his players that still exist today. He’s written a book titled Everyone Counts: The Lou Brunswick Story. This past December we were fortunate enough to see him turn 92 years young. 

Our father was able to instill a love for the game in his three boys where we were able to pick up countless lessons in life skills. My older brother Tom was drafted in the 23rd round and played for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Oakland Athletics for many years. Today he is a retired teacher. Little brother Jeff played at Wright State University and went into the teaching field where he has been teaching and coaching at Archbold High School (OH) since 1999.

I was drafted in the third round and played for the New York Mets for several years until my career came to an end with injuries. Next year will be my 30th year teaching and coaching at Bellefontaine High School (OH).

We all were fortunate to play for our father at Coldwater High School (OH). I have great memories of our family collaboration over the years, as our experiences all led us to follow in our father’s coaching footsteps. As we reflect back on just about a half-century in the game, many thoughts come to mind. But here are the top 10 takeaways the game has taught us over the years:

  1. In today’s day and age where everyone is reinventing the wheel with mechanics, do what feels best for you. There is no one way to play this great game.

  2. Be flexible in all your movements. Do not become robotic. Maintain athletic movements at all times.

  3. Always be willing to learn and change as the years go by, but make that change be necessary. Don’t change the great game where change is not needed.

  4. Love the game every day. Do not take a day for granted because you don’t know if it will be your last day.

  5. Character, integrity and humility go a long way. In the end, nobody will remember your accolades. They will remember how you treated them as a teammate and individual.

  6. Team success is so much more fun than individual success. I’m lucky enough to have firsthand experience in both of these areas, and there’s simply no better feeling than winning that last game.

  7. Learn from the past. Take advice from your elders and past coaches, especially if your father is one of them. There’s nothing like a father-son relationship in baseball.

  8. Be coachable as a player. In today’s society where everyone is learning how to be an individual, be the difference and play and sacrifice for your team. You will find out in the long run that by doing this you will attain more success in your future in the game as well as in your life endeavors.

  9. Leave the game a better person. The game of baseball teaches great life skills. Baseball is a game of failure where resiliency can be taught to handle life adversity.

  10. Leave a lasting legacy on the game, not by the success you had inside your life in baseball but on the outside. Baseball continues to need ambassadors for the future of the game. Let’s keep this great game going. Sign up and be a part of the journey.

“Lou Brunswick instilled all these takeaways in so many players. He taught us baseball and life lessons. Playing for Coach Brunswick made me the player I was then (at the University of Dayton) and the coach I have become today. He not only helped me with my game, but the life lessons I learned from him have made me a better friend, teacher, father and husband. Lou was the best baseball coach myself and so many others have had.” 
— Brian Harlamert, head coach, Coldwater High School (OH)

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.
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