BOZICH | Dream season continues for Mother of Western Kentucky's Brohm Squad
Donna Brohm is the only mother in America with three sons on the same FBS program coaching staff -- and the family competitiveness and success can be traced to Mom as well as father, Oscar.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WDRB) — When you rank athletes in the Brohm Family, reserve plenty of time and be certain you can defend your choices.
You’ll likely start with Jeff. He’s the head football coach at Western Kentucky and played professional football and baseball. Others will suggest older brother, Greg, WKU’s director of football operations, or younger brother, Brian, WKU’s co-offensive coordinator.
As a trio, the Brohms give WKU the only three-brother coaching staff in FBS football.
Their sister, Kim, starred in volleyball, basketball and softball at Mercy and Spalding University.
Oscar Brohm, their father, started the fun during a solid career at Flaget High School and U of L.
Here is my nominee — Donna Brohm, mother of Kentucky’s First Family of Football.
Ask her children. Or husband.
“I was a good athlete,” Oscar Brohm said. “She was a great athlete. I would get fired up but she would get vocal and fired up when she was playing.
“In football, she knows what the plays are. She understands football. She could actually suggest a play and she’d be right. She was a tough player. She played to win.”
She played to win in volleyball, a sport Donna just stopped playing several years ago.
In basketball, including the night she played for a local amateur team that defeated the University of Kentucky, resulting in her being asked to sit on the bench for a UK men’s game against Notre Dame in Freedom Hall.
And in softball — at Angela Merici High School and later in competitive leagues around the Louisville area.
There are several signature Donna Brohm sports stories. This is the first:
As a mother in her early-30s with two young children, Donna played first base for the Saints and the Drifters, local teams that won national championships.
She could throw, hit and run — and after lining one ball into the outfield, Donna was determined to stretch an easy single into a difficult double, sliding aggressively into second base to elude the tag.
Everybody slides — but not while six months pregnant.
“Oh, well,” Donna Brohm said. “I don’t know if it was six months. It was second base, I do remember that. I really forgot I was pregnant. When you’re playing, you’re playing. Your little tummy’s there. but you’re playing.”
It’s no accident that Oscar and Donna’s sons have achieved everything they have achieved. It’s the family DNA. Compete. Prepare. Encourage. Succeed.
Then do it again — in multiple sports.
All three boys won state football titles at Trinity, where Oscar continues to coach the quarterbacks.
Jeff played in the NFL as well as minor-league baseball for the Cleveland Indians. Greg averaged more than 16 yards per catch at Louisville, where Howard Schnellenberger was savvy enough to recruit him when others, like UK, passed. Both played on the U of L’s 1990 Fiesta Bowl team.
Brian made the Sports Illustrated cover at Trinity, led Louisville to an Orange Bowl victory and proceeded to the NFL before joining Jeff and Greg this season at WKU. This Hilltoppers’ team, Jeff’s third, has won six of its first nine games and plays host to Florida International at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
For more than two decades, Donna Brohm has worked with pre-Kindergarten children at a Louisville school. Was Mom competitive?
“Oh, yeah,” Donna Brohm said. “Oh, yeah. Probably too competitive. I think that’s where my boys get their competitiveness.”
That makes this a perfect moment for Oscar’s second story about his wife’s eagerness to just win, baby:
“I remember in flag football, she was playing and she was actually blocking, and this big girl threw her down in the mud,” Oscar said.
“This is when I was coaching the team and (the players) were like 29, 30 years old.
“After that, it was like somebody had thrown dynamite at her. She was so fired up. She was after that girl, pushing her and everything, blocking her.”
“I would be out throwing a football, baseball, whatever my kids wanted,” Donna Brohm said. “I would never say they would throw too hard for me.”
Game days, especially in Bowling Green, have been joyful family occasion for the Brohms.
They arrive early, lining up outside Houchens-Smith Stadium to join WKU fans to celebrate the team’s arrival. From there they move to a tailgate for family members of the coaching staff.
That is bonus family time for Oscar and Donna. They relax with Jeff’s wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Brady and Brooke, as well as Brian’s wife, Ashley, and their infant son, Weston.
When the game begins, Oscar walks the sidelines, usually with Brady, his 12-year-old grandson. Donna sits, stands, yells, cheers, encourages and prays in one of the WKU fan sections.
“I could probably sell tickets for people just to take our place on game day or some other day,” Oscar Brohm said.
“Who else gets to watch all three of their sons coaching at the same place? And they’ve been doing very well. It’s like a fantasy trip. We’ve loved every minute of it.”
“It’s just been unbelievable,” Donna Brohm said. “The fact that Jeff came and brought Greg and now Brian has joined them, it’s amazing.. We were just so happy about that. You’re so proud.”
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