ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Brian Mudd’s battle may have ended, but his legacy and impact won’t end anytime soon.
The legendary Falcon coach, gone too soon from this world after battling brain cancer, was memorialized Friday with the naming of the Clinton-Massie High School gymnasium.
Brian P. Mudd Court was born, ensuring his story will live on.
His family and friends were honored in the pregame ceremony, including his wife Tammy Grunewald-Mudd. Members of both Wilmington and Clinton-Massie’s basketball teams and cheerleading squads surrounded them.
Mudd passed away Oct. 9 at the age of 50. His story continues to reach those fighting their own battles.
“What an inspiration he is to so many others,” Grunewald-Mudd said. “And how he’s continuing to do that through his book and his speeches online. I just know that he’s really impacted more people than I could ever begin to imagine.”
What Brian Mudd accomplished in his coaching career would be more than enough to merit this accolade. He coached 41 varsity teams, won 20 league championships, four sectional titles and coached two state champions in track and field.
Nine times, he was honored as SBAAC Coach of the Year, twice was Southwest District Coach of the year, and in 2002-03, was the OHSAA Division III Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Yet what speaks volumes about Mudd is not just the championships and awards, but the impact on his players.
“They talked about the championships and the coach of the year in Division III,” former CM superintendent Ron Rudduck said. “More importantly, it was the impact he had on his kids. He was a guy that led by example. At his memorial service, there were 30 or 40 of his former players that gathered around at the end of it.
“All quality kids, all devoted. Just appreciative for what he did for them.”
Mudd had a successful boys basketball program, despite the fact some of his athletes were playing deep into the football playoffs every year.
While the football team continued playing into November or December, the basketball team had its season delayed. Practice time with the full squad was often limited.
Mudd never made any excuses.
Todd Cook, the current boys basketball coach, didn’t understand those challenges until he arrived on Lebanon Road.
“I never understood the situation of coaching basketball at Clinton-Massie until I came over here,” Cook said. “I’d sometimes look at Brian’s lineups or the people and how many kids he kept in the program. Once I got over here and realized the things that you deal with, with the successful football program going late into the season.”
Mudd continued to be a resource for Cook, even as he continued his battle with cancer.
“I leaned on Brian a lot,” Cook said. “I contacted him and say, ‘Hey, can you help me out with this?’ and he was very helpful. Brian just came and spoke at our youth basketball camp this summer. Just a great man, a great coach, a great mentor.”
MORE THAN JUST A COACH
Mudd’s willingness to take his battle with cancer public has impacted even more people.
His book, “When Your Goliath Stands Up” motivated others facing a similar battle. He spoke to countless schools and organizations to spread his inspirational message.
To allow his name and his message to live on, those in the community and at Clinton-Massie Schools knew what they needed to do.
“I’m so appreciative of Matt Baker, superintendent of Clinton-Massie and the Clinton-Massie board being able to do this,” Rudduck said. “Plus there was a group of his former players, what we called the Friends of Mudd, that donated to make all this possible as well.
“It’s a very fitting tribute for someone who spent his whole professional life here at Clinton-Massie. Working with kids, working with the community in general. He was just a great man, who did a great job. I can’t think of anything more perfect than this tonight.”
The naming of the court was a way to honor a man whose longevity and success are not the norm in this day and age.
“We have been talking about this ever since the passing of Brian as to what can we do to honor him,” Cook said. “A man who served as 18 years as the head basketball coach, that doesn’t happen anymore at all. He was well-liked by so many students and athletes and faculty and people in Clinton County in general.”
HIS LASTING MEMORY
Clinton-Massie athletic director Cindy Running couldn’t help but smile when thinking about Mudd and the impact he had on the school and community.
“One of the biggest things about him was that he had a great sense of humor, even in adversity,” Running said. “Which he didn’t have that much adversity in his coaching years. He was an excellent coach. He had such a positive attitude and such a fun sense of humor.
Running was pleased that everyone could come together so quickly to honor Mudd in a way that will ensure his message will carry into the future.
“We all know in this generation what he has meant to us as a community,” Running said. “This memorializes it for the future, for our grandkids, for their children. I’m just so excited that we were able to do it.”
It was fitting that the dedication happened before another classic matchup between Clinton-Massie and Wilmington. A packed house not only watched another great chapter in the rivalry but got to pay respects to a man whose impact went well beyond the basketball court.
The same crowd that would wildly cheer the Falcons and Hurricane fought back tears during the dedication.
“It means so much,” Grunewald-Mudd said. “I know he’s watching down over us. He’s very proud of what we’re all doing. He would appreciate what everybody’s done. I know he’s looking down and smiling, telling me to suck it up.
“He wouldn’t like all this attention, but he definitely deserves it.”
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.