Catching up with...Brianne Brinker

Publication Date

Brianne Brinker, assistant athletic director for Facilities, is in her 17th year at Union. In her role, she is the event manager for all Union men's and women's ice hockey home contests. She can often be seen operating the Zamboni between periods, resurfacing the ice at Messa Rink at Achilles Center. She is also in charge of scheduling, operations and programming at the department's athletic facilities. A standout goalie for the Kent State hockey team, she was the former head women's ice hockey coach at Findlay University. Brinker is a passionate fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. She is active in promoting the LGBTQ community and social justice issues. Married 30 years to Marian, the couple has two children, Jade, 18, and Alejandro, 17.

Brianne Brinker with Baron, her eight-year-old German shepherd.

Brianne Brinker with Baron, her eight-year-old German shepherd.

FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING: Facebook, followed by Facebook

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES: “In the Small, Small Pond,” by Denise Fleming. I used to read it to my son at least twice per night. I cannot recall a book that I have read for myself twice. I have read a few books by idols of mine who are transwomen about their coming out process. I return to them often for quotes or clarification.

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: A tie between “Wherever you go, there you are,” and “Your message is your own message, you need to control your message.”

FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS: That is easy. Messa Rink, preferably on the Zamboni. I started driving one at 16. I still enjoy it.

GO-TO BREAKFAST: A banana and a bowl of oatmeal

NETFLIX OR AMAZON: Netflix, by far

FAVORITE PODCAST: I don’t really have a favorite. I like to mix it up, depending on my mood. I used to listen to ones that involved St. Louis sports teams, but now I focus on social justice issues.

ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD: I wish I were a better public speaker. I’m working on it.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PANDEMIC DIVERSION/ACCOMPLISHMENT: I got back to running and biking, and learned to cook. I love it! Mostly, though, I have begun writing a book about a trans woman who came out while working in a college athletic department for 15 years. It takes the reader into the mind of a men's hockey goalie and later a hockey coach. It follows her journey, which started as a child, and the process in which she learned enough to be able to transition into a woman without sacrificing her job and her family. It explores the reasons she now has the confidence to feel like she is on top of the world, enough to commit her life to activism in support of underrepresented groups.

BEST PART OF YOUR DAY: The morning. I wake up feeling great, looking at the person in the mirror that I can really love and believe in.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU: I am a member of both my high school and college hockey team’s Hall of Fame as a men’s hockey player.