Twelve letters later, Quinlan had career to remember

BROOKFIELD – It’s natural for people to wonder what they might do differently if they could do their youth over one more time.

That feeling usually comes from regrets of not taking advantage of those precious years before adulthood sets in. It’s kind of like the “bucket list” thing in reverse.

Jeremy Quinlan will never have those regrets. He took his four years at Brookfield High School and turned them into his personal playground, excelling in football, basketball and baseball in a way not seen in the area in years.

“I hate to see him go,” said Bob Trudo, the Warriors baseball coach. “Kids like this come along once in awhile that are the man in every sport. He could have taken his choice of what he wanted to do.”

Quinlan stood out in each of his chosen sports, whether shooting lights out in basketball, making big runs as a quarterback in football or pitching a shutout in baseball.

Quinlan’s accomplishments made him an easy choice as The Tribune Chronicle’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Part of Quinlan’s excellence is a natural gift. Another part came from a dedication to be the best. Summer wasn’t a time to lie around and watch game shows. He used it as a chance to pick up whatever ball was near him and put it to good use.

“What amazed me when I was making out the summer schedule (last year) was everything he and his (twin) brother (Jimmy) did in training,” Warriors basketball coach Bill Kovach said. “They played ‘B’ League baseball, in basketball they were at the open gym at Harding and they were lifting weights for football conditioning. That’s three sports in the summer. There are kids you have to call to get them to come (to practice). These are not those types of kids. You don’t see it too much anymore.”

It was all in a day’s work for Quinlan. A quiet leader, he’s always in control. He never allows his fiercely competitive side to show in bravado ways that are so prevalent in today’s sports culture.

When asked if he’s the quiet twin in comparison to his more out-going brother, Jeremy simply said, “That’s safe to say.”

Quinlan played quarterback and free safety for the Warriors, who had a 12-1 record and advanced as far as the Division IV, Region 13 championship game. A first-team Northeast Ohio Inland All-District choice on offense, Quinlan also received special mention all-state honors.

Known as a running quarterback for coach Randy Clark, Quinlan rushed for 1,249 yards and 15 touchdowns on 175 carries last season. He completed 86-of-160 passes for 1,223 yards and 12 touchdowns. He successfully converted 51 of 56 point-after attempts

Defensively, Quinlan registered 76 tackles (58 solos and 18 assists) and intercepted six passes.

“He was athletically over and beyond other kids to coach,” Clark said. “He’s not much of a verbal leader, but physically the way he does things makes him a good leader.

“His biggest asset is he’s a great competitor. He hates losing. He takes everything in stride.”

Quinlan has been able to forget the loss to Creston Norwayne in the third round of the playoffs and dwell on all that went well in football.

“It was a great year,” Quinlan said. “It was the first time we went 10-0 since (the state championship team in) ’78, and we won two playoff games. Just bringing football back on the map was a good accomplishment.”

Quinlan made a smooth transition to basketball despite having precious little time following football season. A guard capable of playing all positions on the floor, he averaged 23.2 points and 11.3 rebounds. He was selected second team Division III All-State and first team All-District.

“The thing is he is strong, athletic and intelligent,” Kovach said. “When you have that combination of things, you will be a special player in football, baseball and basketball. To do what he did in going from regional football to the basketball court, and in three or four games look like he’d been playing for a month is amazing.”

The Warriors went 19-4 before being eliminated from the tournament trail with a loss to Ursuline in the district semifinals.

“It was good year,” Quinlan said. “We lost to Ursuline, which was a heart-breaker for us because we wanted to go farther than that. Overall we had good team play and everyone got the ball and was unselfish. It is a special class. We’ve been together since we were 5 years old. We had chemistry and got it done.”

Quinlan’s favorite sport is basketball, but Trudo believes he could go far if he concentrated on baseball. Quinlan, a pitcher and shortstop, had a .415 batting average. On the mound he posted a 5-2 record with 70 strikeouts and a 2.20 earned-run average.

“Jeremy’s abilities are unlimited,” Trudo said. “Basically he can do what he wants to do; he’s that good. He’s been spread out in sports, so he never had a chance to work on one. Once he does that, he’s going to be a heck of an athlete.”

It had to be difficult for Quinlan not to succeed growing up with a twin brother who is an outstanding three-sport athlete. Jimmy was a receiver/linebacker in football, while also playing basketball and baseball.

Jeremy saved some of his most competitive moments when going against Jimmy.

“We don’t like to lose to each other,” Jeremy said. “We’d go outside and put up a hoop and go at it. We’d put up a net and play hockey or soccer. Whatever sport we did, we’d do it to be competitive”

It wasn’t beyond either brother to get in some good-natured kidding with the other.

“I’d let them go,” Trudo said. “Sometimes Jimmy and me would pick at him (Jeremy) and get him going, and then Jeremy and me would pick on Jimmy. Jeremy knows how to get Jimmy going, and Jimmy knows how to get Jeremy going.

“They were hilarious. Jimmy would say, ‘Think you might throw a strike?’ I’m going to miss those guys.”

Jeremy, who graduated with a 3.83 grade-point average, will attend Youngstown State University and walk on in basketball. Jimmy will attend Geneva College and play football. Jeremy is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Freshmen Focus.

Jeremy selected YSU because of its chemical engineering program (both of his parents are in that field). It might surprise some people that he didn’t go to a small college to play the sport of his choice. Trudo believes there’s a reason behind his decision.

“I’m going to put this out there,” Trudo said. “I think the kid is upset because he didn’t get anything (scholarship-wise in basketball) and thought he got cheated. He’s going to prove a point. He’s going to be playing on those floors. If I have to go up there and throw balls to him while he shoots, I’ll do that. Anything I can do to help that kid become whatever he wants.”

Jeremy has made believers out of many coaches.