Rose Brimmer

The home stretch of the outdoor season begins Friday for the No. 10 women’s team as it participates in the Big 12 Outdoor Championships taking place in Waco.

After weeks of competing in non-scored events the Longhorns have had more than enough preparation to enter these last phases of the outdoor season.

For interim head coach Rose Brimmer, her expectation for the Big 12 Indoor Championships can be summed up in one word: winning.

“I expect to win,” Brimmer said. “The upperclassmen have experienced winning a Big 12 title and they know what it takes. But in order to get there we will need everyone from the freshman to the seniors to have our goals in mind.”

How much Texas can succeed this weekend will depend heavily on how well its stars perform in favored events like the 400-meter hurdles and sprint relays.

Last year, then-sophomore Danielle Dowie won the 400-meter hurdles while the 4X400 and 4x100-meter relay teams finished in 2nd and 4th, respectively.

With Texas A&M’s departure of the conference, No. 2 Kansas will be the only real threat standing in the way of Texas and a repeat Big 12 Outdoor Championships title on Sunday.

Women's Track and Field

Interim head coach Rose Brimmer and her team of Longhorns welcomed 87 points to finish third at Arkansas’ Razorback Invitational Friday and Saturday.

Reaching new heights, Shanay Briscoe’s second-place high jump finish (6-2) preceded Natasha Masterson and Kaitlin Petrillose’s top pole vault finishes at second (13-2.25) and fourth (12-8.25) respectively. Two held its place as the magic number when A’Lexus Brannon took second in long jump (20-0.5) while the 200-meter race saw Christy Udoh (23.87) and Courtney Okolo (23.89) represent the Longhorns in third and fourth.

Saturday brought Udoh and Okolo further 3rd-place victories; Udoh in the 60-meter finals (7.48) and Okolo the 400 (53.10). In the longer distance events, Mia Behm, Kendra Chambers, Katie Hoaldridge, Marielle Hall and Brittany Marches all finished top-seven in their respective races. The team rounded up with a second place (3:31.69) finish in the 4x400-meter relay from Udoh, Chambers, Okolo and Briana Nelson.

“We knew that this meet would be a meet where we would have great competition,” Brimmer said. “I am so impressed with how our kids responded to the level of this meet. They weren’t intimidated by anyone and they stepped up like warriors.”

New women’s track and field head coach Rose Brimmer comes to Texas with a versatile resume and optimistic attitude.  The team will compete in Houston this weekend.   

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

When women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky told Rose Brimmer she would become interim head coach upon Beverly Kearney’s resignation, Brimmer first contacted her husband.

“Really?” he said.

Leo Brimmer wasn’t fazed. Brimmer’s daughter, Bria, set the South Carolina State University record for most single-season assists when playing on its volleyball team, and her son, Brodney, has experience playing defensive back at OU and in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets. And Rose? Her sports career has leaped far beyond her college hurdle experience: from volleyball and track and field captain at the former Texas A&I University in Kingsville to coaching in the high school arena and at Texas.

Rose Brimmer began work at Westbury High School in Houston in 1986. Teaching and coaching athletes to the national level, Brimmer’s athletic oversight included track and field, cross country, basketball and volleyball. But when the Longhorn staff wanted an addition, Brimmer seized the opportunity. 

“I came here as a sprints and hurdles coach but I became a field events coach because I did jumps and sprints in college,” Brimmer said. “I hadn’t done throws but I acquired it when I got here.”

Joining the UT staff in the 2004-05 season, Brimmer mentored then-sophomore Michelle Carter as she broke the school shot put record. Since then, she has guided the high jumps of All-American Victoria Lucas and NCAA champion Destinee Hooker, the long jumps of 4-time NCAA champion Marshevet Hooker, Destinee’s older sister, and NCAA champion Alexandria Anderson and the pole vault of Ashley Laughlin. Lucas and the Hooker sisters went on to compete in the Olympics.

“Because I’ve coached everything now for quite some time, I think I know a little bit about everything,” Brimmer said. “I can go from event to event and actually know what I’m talking about.”

Before Brimmer’s ninth season this year, Kearney resigned as head coach of the women’s track and field program. UT head coach since 1993, the highly decorated Kearney admitted to an intimate consensual relationship with a student-athlete in her program beginning in 2002. Although the reported relationship ended about eight years ago, the University “determined it was no longer appropriate for Coach Kearney to serve as head coach or to work directly with our student-athletes,” according to a statement released by Patti Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs.

Brimmer finds Kearney influenced her coaching style tremendously.

“I came in here winning so I always knew how to win but I’ve learned to set higher goals from Coach Kearney — she never gives up,” Brimmer said. “I never have [either] but I learned from working with her that it was OK to be that way.”

Brimmer now oversees the long sprinters, throwers and the jumpers while assistant coach Stephen Sisson guides distance runners. To fill the vacancy of a third coaching position, longtime volunteer assistant coach Michelle Freeman assumed the role of interim assistant coach, a UT spokeswoman confirmed to The Daily Texan on Tuesday. With three Olympics under her belt, a 1997 World Indoor Championship in 60-meter hurdles and four school records at Florida, Freeman moved from team strength coach last season to short sprints. 

The juggled staff hasn’t changed its goal: to gain confidence and a national championship, Brimmer said. But it has altered its strategy.

“We’re putting more people in more events,” Brimmer said. “A lot of times we’d specialize and just have them do one event to try and get a max. But [now] if they’re good at two, we’re putting them in two and hoping they’re scoring in both.”

Brimmer remains optimistic, believing the team boasts stronger quarter-milers this season and sophomore sprinters “a year older, a year wiser, a year better.”

With her increased leadership and a squad brimming with talent, Brimmer coaches as she always has: by teaching.

“Compared to most collegiate coaches, I was a teacher for twenty years,” Brimmer said. “I’m a teacher first and a coach second.”

The women’s track and field team competes this weekend at the UH Leonard Hilton Invite.

Published on January 16, 2013 as "Brimmer brings experience, determination to succeed".