National Anthem Is Important To Lee’s Brew

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The next time you watch the National Anthem being played prior to an NFL game with different players choosing to kneel instead of stand at attention, remember Mark Brew.

Mark is one of the elite coaches in baseball at Lee University.

He directed his first seven teams at Lee to the NAIA World Series before leading the transition to NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference in 2014.

In 11 years with the Flames, Brew has a 510-168-2 overall record.

What many people don’t realize is that Mark is heavily involved in local veterans’ groups who have served our country with honor and put their lives on the line when necessary to make America safe.

Brew has sponsored Military Appreciation Day each season over the last five years.

Approximately $50,000 has been raised which has helped:

  • A new pavilion be constructed at the Veterans’ Cemetery.
  • A van to transport veterans.
  • Wheelchairs and wheelchair ramps for veterans.

“I didn’t serve in the military, but my father did,” said Brew.

“He passed away in 2010, and part of being executor of his estate, I went through some old archives that he had. I knew he served, but I didn’t know in what capacity. As I researched more about him, I became intrigued.

“It became a personal mission of mine to honor what he had done in the military as we have honored members of the military for the last five years.

“I told my wife one time that if I wasn’t coaching, I probably would be serving in the military. I have always wanted to be a part of a team and something bigger than me. Our Military Appreciate Day was born from that idea.

“We take a day each spring to honor these wonderful people who have served our country. We have two goals in place.

“No. 1, we want to honor and recognize the service men and women in our community. And No. 2, we raise funds. We’ve helped the Disabled American Veterans Association here in town and the Bradley County Funeral Honor Guard, among others.

“We also helped raise money for a big renovation at the local Fort Hill Cemetery which has an beautiful area designated for veteran burials. They needed a nice area to stage events from. We partnered with them and the resources we made from Military Appreciation Day to help them out.

“One of the other projects was a veterans’ park here in town. It is a place of reflection and a place where local veterans can sit down and reflect on their service. That’s under construction by the city. But we were able to make one of the lead check donations as they started the project.”

Brew said there are approximately 7,000 veterans living in the Cleveland, Tenn. area.

“For a smaller community in Bradley County which has about 55,000 residents, it is a big percentage of people. We have a National Guard armory here and the 252nd Military Police Unit stationed in town.

“There is a rich tradition of service here and a natural tie-in. The businesses in town have really gotten on board, and we do T-shirt sales to raise money. The Bank of Cleveland sponsors that project as players help sell the T-shirts.

“Restaurants have donated a percentage of their earnings toward the event.

“The last thing is the event itself. We host the event and have over 1,000 members of the community in attendance at our baseball facility. We raise money through concessions and selling different items. We have vendors set up. Most of them donate the proceeds from what they make back to the event.

“It’s a great community event. It is not just a Lee University or Mark Brew event. It is something our community has embraced which is something we are proud of.”

To read more of this article, purchase the Jan. 5, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The rest of the story explains how Lee players honor veterans each time the National Anthem is played at games and why they practice doing it correctly. Mark Brew survived a broken home during his youth and talks about the amazing mom he has who made ends meet as a bus driver and worker at a local cafeteria. Plus, he explains how baseball coaches filled the void of his father not being around.

This story is in Collegiate Baseball’s 2018 College Preview Issue. It features a rundown on the top teams and players on all levels of college baseball. It also includes a rundown of the top 92 draft eligible college players in the nation who have a chance of being picked in the first three rounds of next June’s MLB Draft, plus much more. To purchase this issue, CLICK HERE.