By VINCE PELUSO
A quick glance at Matt Brumit’s resume in athletics might suggest he’s destined to be a baseball coach.
The seventh-grade science teacher at Grand Valley was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2002 out of Youngstown State University and went on to play four years in the Yankees system.
He graduated from YSU in 2011 before getting a teaching job at GV this past year and was named the seventh-grade basketball coach, his first year coaching basketball.
Now, he will take over the Mustangs varsity basketball program, following Lucas Strohm, who resigned after a five-year stint with the team.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me,” Brumit said. “It’s very exciting.”
Brumit, who played basketball in high school, said he was a little cautious about changing sports, but now his passion for basketball is starting to overtake his love of baseball.
“Just taking that seventh-grade job, I was a little apprehensive, I played in high school, but I hadn’t thought much about basketball since,” he said. “I absolutely loved it though. I was telling a buddy of mine, ‘I don’t wanna coach baseball, I wanna coach basketball.’ That Monday, that Coach Strohm resigned, (athletic director) Coach (Tom) Henson came up to me and asked me about taking the varsity job.
“I took some time and thought about it and said I would.”
Brumit believes Henson, himself a former GV basketball coach, hired him not on the strength of his basketball knowledge, but his ability to coach young men.
“I thanked Mr. Henson and I think he hired me for my ability to coach, rather than my X’s and O’s because I know I still have a lot to learn,” he said. “I know enough to put guys in a position to be successful. But I’m a motivator. I’m big on accountability and discipline.
“I know the kids, I know how to coach, the basketball part will be a learning experience, but I’ll do my due diligence.”
The Akron native most recently was an assistant coach for the Warren G. Harding baseball team before coming to Grand Valley, where his wife, Carrie, also teaches.
Brumit said he’s enjoyed his time in Orwell so far.
“I’ve absolutely enjoyed it, my wife has been teaching here for 12 years, so I knew enough about the district and was lucky to get a job,” he said. “I absolutely love it. I love the kids, I love teachers and the administration has been great.
“I don’t just say that for political reasons. They’re great people and great kids and that’s why we do it as a coach and a teacher.”
Brumit said he was able to watch some of the Mustangs games this season and knows that Strohm built a solid program during his time at GV.
“I saw two games this season and I know Coach Strohm built a pretty strong foundation with the kids,” he said. “He told me I was getting a good group of kids and that’s important because my biggest thing is motivation and discipline.
“Knowing how hard the kids work in this district, they’ll be successful when they’re able to put their mind to it.”
Brumit said the team will spend the summer playing at Spire, as Strohm had originally planned, and will have his team getting involved in the community.
“My biggest thing is getting the community excited and focusing on the elementary level and forward,” he said. “I want to work with the kids on the team now, but it’s not just about the JV players and the varsity players, it’s a whole program.”
Brumit believes getting a rapport with his players during this past seventh-grade season will be a great benefit to him as he tries to build his own program.
“I think it’s a huge advantage just knowing the kids and interacting with them,” he said. “I’m in constant contact with the fifth and sixth graders and I wanna believe they know who I am and I look to have an impact on these kids, as a whole. I think that them knowing me at the middle-school level, they know I have a vested interest in them.
“Not to be cocky, because that’s not me, but I want the kids to be excited to hopefully play for me one day.”
Brumit, who is a father to 4-year-old Alea and 1-year-old Harper, said he has the full support of his family as he enters this new chapter in his coaching career.
“My wife is very dedicated, she’s delt with me coaching for a while,” he said. “I work with the baseball team with Coach (Russ) Bell. She’s at almost every game and is very excited.
“Together with the academics and athletics, we’re going to be able to have a vested interest in these kids and their well-being.”