Book chronicles 84 years of Brentwood HS football
After Brentwood resident Richard Boyd wrote a book about Brentwood's Little League in 2015, a number of friends kept asking him to write another book.
“They came to me and said, ‘What are you going to do next?'” Boyd said. “They kept bugging me and I finally said I would do a football book.”
Boyd started the project in March 2016. The book's title, “Hail, Hail to Brentwood High: Brentwood Football 1932-2016” refers to the first stanza of Brentwood's fight song.
The cover features eight Brentwood athletes who played professional football in either the NFL or Canadian Football League. Each player is profiled in the book.
“I didn't play football because I was too small and my mother wouldn't give me permission,” Boyd said. “I was a die-hard sports fan.”
Boyd was the editor of the school newspaper. During his countless hours of research for the book, Boyd said reading past newspaper articles, school yearbooks and gathering photographs brought back memories.
“It brought back memories when I was in school and when my three daughters were in school.”
He said that is the purpose of the book: for older adults to recall those special moments and for today's youth to know the history of Brentwood football.
Pittsburgh sports author Jim O'Brien offered Boyd several tips to draw interest in the book, including the cover with professional athletes from Brentwood.
“He got me heading in the right direction,” Boyd said.
Boyd decided to divide the 84 years of Brentwood football into “quarters.” Each quarter covers 25 years. The fourth quarter is incomplete, which Boyd said he left open for perhaps another book.
“You can't finish the game until the clock runs out,” he said.
Each quarter of the book features profiles of several players during that time. Boyd said a number of players were deserving of being featured in the book, but he focused on players who had an interesting life story. Memorable games during each era are highlighted. Boyd said with so many games to choose from, he simply wrote the games on a piece of paper, placed them in a hat and selected the ones for the book.
The book includes the top five winning coaches, how Brentwood got its nickname and the evolution of the field. Boyd said he planned on having a drone fly above the stadium to take an aerial photo, but did not have permission because the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin is close by.
“The biggest challenge was acquiring photos,” said Boyd, who contacted about dozen people who would be able to help him obtain pictures.
He said Joe Schmidt, an NFL Hall of Famer who played for the Detroit Lions, sent his personal photos to be used.
“He's just a great guy with a good memory,” Boyd said.
Brentwood 2003 graduate Ryan Mendel, who holds Brentwood rushing records for a career, season and single game, supplied Boyd with 10 4-inch binders of newspaper articles and photos.
Boyd said he enjoys doing the research and telling a local story. Those who helped make the book possible are acknowledged.
“I didn't do it to make money,” he said.
The book is on sale at the Brentwood Public Library and by contacting Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.