Gettysburg grad coaching in national title game
Clemson QB coach is son of Gettysburg College head coach, Barry Streeter
Gettysburg College head football coach Barry Streeter still remembers the advice he gave his son, Brandon, a decade ago.
A former quarterback at Clemson University, Brandon had finished a two-year stint as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater in 2005, and was considering a full-time career in coaching. Having been a college coach since 1975, Barry made sure his son knew what it took to handle the profession.
"I told him to try coaching for a year and if you can live without it, you can live without it," Barry Streeter said. "It’s not one of those professions you can be casual about. You've got to jump in with both feet."
Brandon stuck with coaching for more than just one year, and the decision has certainly paid off. After stints at Liberty University and the University of Richmond, the Gettysburg High graduate was hired as the quarterbacks coach at Clemson in December 2014 and will coach the Tigers against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship in Glendale, Arizona on Monday.
Having spent nine years at smaller programs, Brandon has had a surreal experience coaching the undefeated, top-ranked Tigers and mentoring Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback DeShaun Watson this season.
"The journey of this season has been unbelievable in a lot of ways," Brandon Streeter said. "I knew I wanted to coach at my alma mater, but to have this type of season and this type of player in DeShaun has been special. It's more special because our team and staff do things the right way."
Only 38 years old, Brandon has accomplished a lot in his career as both a player and coach. After starring for the Warriors in the mid-1990s, he was a three-year letterman at Clemson from 1997 to 1999 and broke 11 schools records during his career. He later played in the Arena Football League before embarking on his successful coaching career.
But before he became a star quarterback, he was simply a kid on the sidelines at Gettysburg College games, watching his dad coach the Bullets.
Seeing the way his dad interacted with players made Brandon want to be a coach too. While Barry never pushed him toward a career in football, he wanted to have an affect on players lives the way his dad did.
"Seeing how he developed relationships with his players, how he influenced kids in a positive way was important to me," Brandon Streeter said. "And as a competitor, after playing football you’re always looking for something and coaching is part of that."
The head coach of the Bullets since 1978, Barry has obviously learned a lot during his 40-year career. Still, he's tried to let his son develop his own identity as a coach, usually only giving advice when Brandon has asked about potential job opportunities.
However, there was no convincing needed when Brandon received the offer to become Clemson's quarterbacks coach. According to Barry, it took his son "about three seconds" to accept the job.
Although he's had fun following Clemson's success this season, Barry admits it's been stressful trying to watch his son's games while still running his own program.
"During the season, it's like having two games in one day," Barry Streeter said. "One is special enough, two is over the top. You want him to win like you want your own team to win."
Brandon feels the same way about his father's games. Though his schedule makes it difficult for him to get home to Gettysburg often, he did manage to see the Bullets play one game this season during Clemson's bye week.
Things have been easier for Barry since his season ended in November. He traveled to Miami last week to watch Clemson beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, and he'll be in the University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday to see Brandon coach in the national title game.
Barry will be far from the only member of the Streeter family in Glendale next week. He and his wife will be joined by their three other children's families, as well as Brandon's wife Ashley and their three kids. But when the game begins, don't expect anyone to say much to Barry.
"My wife and everybody there knows to let me be quiet during those hours," Barry Streeter said with a laugh.
While he's extremely busy preparing for the game, Brandon is looking forward to seeing his entire family and is hoping to celebrate a victory with them.
As for the future, Brandon is expecting to be at Clemson for years to come. Both his father and his former high school coach, Sam Leedy, believe he has the potential to be a head coach, but he isn't thinking that far ahead yet.
"Clemson is special, not just because it's my alma mater, but because of the people," Brandon Streeter said. "As long as I can learn and grow I’m going to be satisfied. In the big picture I want to be a head coach one day, but I realize I can't control the future as much as I'd like to."
National Championship Game
Who: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 1 Clemson
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
When: Monday, 8:30 p.m.