Brian BrakemanHere's how the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, which recently inducted Brakeman, described this year's Dellinger Award winner and his contribution to wrestling in the state of Ohio.
"Brian Brakeman's influence on Ohio high school wrestling is legendary. A statistical wizard with the papers to prove it, Brakeman has compiled a dazzlingly accurate state tournament forecast that for 45 years has been an invaluable guide for wrestlers, coaches and college recruiters. He calls it the "Brakeman Report." Others call it the wrestling "bible." It is the premier state wrestling forecast in the country.
"Since 1972, Brakeman has ranked the top 25 or so wrestlers in each weight class in every division, highlighted by projected state champions and order of team finish. In all these years his accuracy rate is 70%. One recent year he picked 13 of 14 state champs in Division I ..."
Amateur Wrestling News described Brakeman as "the face of high school wrestling in Ohio."
Beginning in the early 1970s, Brakeman, along with Mike Massa, anchored WVIZ-TV telecasts of the sectional, district and state wrestling tournaments in Ohio. The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) adopted many of his recommendations for enhancing the state tournament. He served as chairman of the seeding committee for the Ohio state dual-meet tournament.
For all these accomplishments, Brakeman was welcomed into the Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1993, as well as the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Brakeman is uniquely qualified for making his contributions to wrestling in Ohio, as a passionate, knowledgeable fan ... and as a man with a strong background in mathematics and statistics. A native of Parma, Ohio in suburban Cleveland, Brakeman went to Parma Senior High School, then continued his education in the Cleveland area, earning a bachelor's degree at Case Tech, an M.B.A. at Western Reserve, and a Ph.D. in statistics. (The two schools later merged to become Case Western Reserve University.) Brakeman spent his entire professional career in planning and research for East Ohio Gas Company, as well as 14 years as a math teacher and tutor at North Coast Academy.
The Dellinger Award, first established in 1960, is named for the late Bob Dellinger, long-time sports writer and editor for "The Daily Oklahoman" newspaper based in Oklahoma City. In addition, he collaborated with his wife Doris in writing two books on the history of the Oklahoma State wrestling program: "Ride 'Em Cowboys" and "The Cowboys Ride Again". Dellinger was also the first director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Editor's note: Among the past recipients of the Dellinger Award: Mike Finn, Jason Bryant, Andy Hamilton, Tom Elling, AWN writers Don Sayenga, Jim Kalin and Ron Good, author Jamie Moffatt, late historian and "The History of Collegiate Wrestling" book author Jay Hammond, and Mark Palmer, InterMat senior writer.