SARASOTA - Just over 6 years ago, Don Brennan came to Sarasota to be the Sports Director at ABC 7. Now, as co-host of Good Morning Suncoast, Don takes a look back at how he got to this point in his life.
My parents, Maggie and Don, met while commuting on the train to NYC and were married in 1961. They decided to have a big family, and I was the first boy -- born in 1965 after 2 daughters, my sisters Margee and Fran.
Following me over the next 15 years were 4 brothers for a total of 7: Margee, Frances, me, Michael, Brian, Kevin and Sean. I now have 11 nieces and nephews with more on the way.
I may be known for wearing shorts now, but when I was younger, I was known for my long hair. Oh how I wish I had that hair now! I grew up playing all 3 sports, but my athletic prowess peaked at around age 11, although I kept plugging away.
I graduated from Rippowam High School in Stamford, CT where I also played baseball. And the first teacher I ever had there in 1979 was W. Bruce Monroe, whom I ran into last summer at the Van Wezel and found that we live only a few miles from each other here on the Suncoast.
I then went on to Southern Connecticut State University. I played baseball there before graduating -- in shorts of course.
I moved to Miami 20 years ago, got my Masters, and worked for the Miami Heat. While there I worked alongside Rashida and Jamilah Ali, the twins introduced me to their dad, the sports icon Muhammad Ali.
After leaving the Heat, I decided to get back into radio and I went to work for 560 WQAM sports radio in Miami and became the traveling beat reporter for the Florida Marlins, and then I did the same with the Miami Heat. I also freelanced in television for local shows. It was there that I developed an off-the-beaten path way of presenting stories.
That led to a full-time TV job in Fort Myers, where the wackiness continued. Along the way I got to cover the 2002 Buccaneers Super Bowl team, the Miami Dolphins, high school sports, and I got to caddy for 2-time Masters champ Ben Crenshaw.
In 2004, I married Retta, and during our 8 years of marriage we had 2 boys, Trey and Logan, before I took the sports director job at ABC 7. I anchored the sports - in shorts of course- and had a lot of fun with Scott, Bob, and Lauren. High school football and Football Friday Night again was a favorite of mine, and I hope that my enthusiasm had an impact on the athletes as well.
"I know I see families rush to get home so they can be glued to the TV, and there I see Don standing on the sidelines shooting video, then rushing back to splice it all together and then get it ready for the show. So, we sure appreciate the coverage that he has given to local high school sports," says Southeast High head football coach Paul Maechtle.
I have gotten to meet and interview many great sportsmen throughout my time here: Tom Izzo of Michigan State, Dick Vitale of ESPN, future hall of famer Mariano Rivera of the Yankees, and Bobby Bowden, along with so many of the Suncoast kids who have gone on to bigger things.
Plus, I even got to appear on the ABC hit show Cougartown.
Now, I am trying something new as the co-host of ABC 7's Good Morning Suncoast alongside Hayley Wielgus and John Scalzi. I love it.
When I am not working or working out, I am watching Trey and Logan play sports themselves, and grow up faster than I could imagine.