Brunson bids farewell to coaching at LCC
By Brodee Gillam
The Lookout Sports Editor Brodee Gillam recently spoke with retiring LCC Women’s Basketball Head Coach Ervin Brunson. After four MCCAA Western Conference Coach of the Year awards, two District D Region XII Coach of the Year awards, a NJCAA DII National Coach of the Year award, three MCCAA State Championships and one NJCAA DII National Championship, Brunson has decided it is time to hang up his whistle.
What is your passion off the court?
“I like working with people. I’ve been doing that as far (back) as I can remember; back in the days when I was coaching in high school, all the way up to now. I work in the psych hospital (at St. Lawrence) right now. I’ve been doing that since 1982. Even in high school I worked in the special ed. program, so that was just continuation of my passion and desire of helping young people and helping people in general.”
What led you to LCC to coach?
“When I first left New York City, I went back to (college) at age 32. I was coaching high school and didn’t have a degree. So I moved to Richmond, Va., where I started school and I ended as an assistant coach at a four-year university … called Virginia Union University. There I started in 1982, and I was there until 1989 and then I moved (to Lansing). My ex-wife moved here, so I got married and that’s how I got here. I got out of coaching for that duration from ‘89 to ‘92. I’ve always had the passion, desire; I don’t feel burnt out. I just think I’m at a point right now that there’s more positives, things I’d like to do, to move on.”
After 24 seasons at LCC, what has been your favorite part of coaching here?
“The best part about coaching is that I have some sort of impact on the individuals that I work with. I didn’t change them; all I did was be part of what they wanted to do other than basketball … be part of what they want to do in basketball. It makes me feel proud to say and know that I’ve had young people, young ladies that have come through, that have moved on to be productive in their professional careers that they started out and are doing now. I’ve gotten nurses, I’ve gotten a lot of teachers, a lot of girls that have moved on to become professionals in their right field … Those are the things that I really appreciate. Those are the things that make me feel good that I was part of their lives. They came through Lansing Community College playing basketball and that’s how they got started. It makes me feel proud that it started right here.”
What is the biggest thing you want your players to take away from their time at LCC?
“To accomplish what they started out doing. Not just to come to school to go to college and that’s it. But what they’ve done, what they plan to do and what they are doing now is continuing on because there are so many things they can attribute and give back. And that’s all I ask them to do is give back. Someone gave you the opportunity. Lansing Community College gave you the opportunity so once you accomplish your goal, continue because these are others that will be coming up that will need that same inspiration and encouragement and motivation to do what they need to do. A lot of the young people that have come through (LCC) have moved on to do those things.”
What is your favorite part about seeing former players?
“Just to come back and let me know … what they are doing, what they’ve accomplished. Especially the ones who have moved on and got in their profession that they started out … When they come back and let me know what they’ve done then I feel good because these are just a few of the many that have achieved their goals.”
What do you plan on doing after you retire?
I still work at my other job, so I plan on doing that for another year. You know, just take it easy. My family lives on the East Coast, in New York and in North Carolina, and I plan to spend a little more time visiting them. I was in New York back in October and it just gave me a thought process when my family says they won’t come this way, but I’ll have to go back to visit them. So that’s what I wanted to do, spend a little time visiting them. I won’t get out of (basketball) because like I said I still have that passion, I just need some peace and time for myself.