Southeast's Brune to retire at end of month

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Southeast Missouri State director of athletic development Greg Brune will retire at the end of February. Brune, who played quarterback for Southeast in the 1960s, is among three generations of his family to play football at the university. (Fred Lynch)

There likely aren't many people who bleed Southeast Missouri State red more than Greg Brune.

Brune, part of what is widely regarded as the first family of Southeast football, has been associated with the university for more than 45 years.

"I've been here since 1964 when I reported for football," he said proudly.

Brune will end his official association with the university Feb. 28 when he retires as director of athletic development, a position he has held since 1993.

"It's been kind of like the dream job," said Brune, who turns 65 in July. "I remember when I got this job there were 106 who applied for it.

"I thought I could do it. I'd already been doing half of it, working with my dad [in the Southeast Athletic Booster Club]."

It's not like Brune will simply disappear from the Southeast scene. He said he'll remain involved with the booster club that his late father Charlie and several other local business leaders founded in 1953.

"I'll stay involved with the boosters. I'll still be at a lot of games. I'll help any way I can," Brune said. "I'll be around."

And his fondness for Southeast will remain for as long as he is around.

"This place has meant so much to me and my family," Brune said. "I grew up about three blocks from here. I've been coming up here a long time. I remember sneaking into football games here when I was a kid."

The Brune name has been synonymous with Southeast football. Three generations of the family have suited up for the team.

Charlie Brune, who passed away last summer at age 88, was the patriarch. He played football for Southeast in 1940 and 1941, then later helped establish the booster club before serving as president for several years. He remained involved almost until his death.

Greg was a record-setting quarterback and punter at Southeast, earning seven varsity letters in football and baseball from 1964 through 1968.

Greg's brother Lance was a standout Southeast quarterback while all three of Greg's sons -- Brent, Brian and Bobby -- played football at Southeast, with Bobby a star quarterback.

"Bobby, Lance and me threw for over 13,000 yards combined," Brune said.

Brune, a two-time all-conference selection, set nearly 10 school records for football that have since been broken, although he remains on the program's top-10 list in several categories.

Brune's 4,210 career passing yards are fifth in Southeast history -- just ahead of Bobby's 4,124.

Brune is second in single-season touchdown passes with 17 and fifth in career touchdown passes with 29 while also ranking ninth in single-season passing yardage (1,959). He also ranks among the leaders for single-season and career punting.

Brune, a star athlete at Central High School, was also a four-year starting infielder for the Southeast baseball team.

"I loved playing athletics here, and they allowed me to play baseball, which was great," Brune said.

Brune was asked to recount some of his fondest athletic memories at Southeast.

"When we won the conference and went 8-2 in 1967, that was great," he said. "My last year in baseball, my last at-bat, at Arkansas State in the playoffs, I hit a home run.

"Watching my brother Lance, who had a tremendous career, watching my kids play football here."

Brune signed a professional contract in 1968 with Chicago of the old Continental Football League but his career was cut short by the Vietnam War.

Brune, awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, returned from the war in 1971 and immediately got involved with the Southeast Booster Club.

He basically hasn't stopped serving the university he loves since that time.

Brune served on the booster club's board from 1980 to 1983 and was president in 1985 and 1986. After years working in area business, he became Southeast's director of athletic development in 1993.

"I've either volunteered or worked with six [Southeast] presidents here. I've worked with six athletic directors," Brune said.

Brune has worn a variety of hats in his current position, serving as a primary fundraiser while also performing various duties now handled by specific departments.

"I've ran every [booster club fundraiser] golf tournament here for over 25 years. I did all the marketing here until they started a marketing department, all the ticket sales, special events, all the tailgates," Brune said. "I've been involved with getting new locker rooms for all our sports, I helped get the hall of fame going."

Brune also was the driving force in setting up the parking/tailgate area behind the end zone at home football games for preferred boosters, which became a solid source of revenue.

"That's my main claim to fame, that end zone parking lot," he said with a laugh.

Brune said he will miss working officially at Southeast -- he plans to stay involved with various fundraising endeavors -- but is looking forward to retirement.

"I've got five grandkids and one on the way. They're all in Cape," Brune said. "That'll be my main job, helping raise them.

"I just thought it was time [to retire]. But I'm not going far. I'll still be around to help out when they need me."

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