The following press release has been written and composed by The Adrian News Leader
The list of recognition for a legendary coach will grow by one this fall when former Adrian Coach George Bruto is inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on October 16, 2019 in Springfield. Bruto is already a member of the the Missouri Football Coaches Hall of Fame and has been honored with an Outstanding Missourian proclamation. On the local level, the new athletic facility in Adrian has been named after him. In addition, Bruto has added the title of school board member to his honors.
Bruto started his football coaching career in Lockwood, MO. He had signed, what he thought, was a contract to be an assistant coach. Turns out he had been signed on as head coach. That stint lasted two years when his friend, and future fellow Missouri State Hall of Fame Coach, Randy Morrow, talked him into coming to Adrian. Bruto was an assistant for nine years before taking over the program in the Fall of 1986. “George Bruto was one of the best hires we ever made at Adrian,” said Morrow. “He was such a kid magnet, whether it was one of his football players or one of his female basketball players, he treated them all the same way. He would ‘chew’ them out and the next thing you saw was him ‘hugging’ on them. The players knew he cared about them and they didn’t want to do anything to disappoint their coach.” Morrow added, “Our nine or 10 years coaching together was a blast. We had great chemistry with outstanding athletes and a community that supported us. I am so proud of George and his accomplishments. He is certainly deserving of this honor.”
Don Lile, current Superintendent of Adrian R-III, had plenty of good things to say as well. “Coach Bruto has touched many lives in the Adrian community and is very deserving of this award. He had a very successful career coaching athletics in the Adrian School District. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than Coach Bruto.”
Bruto’s first assistant coach after he was elevated to head coach in the Fall of 1986 was Bob Neely. In Bruto’s second year at the helm, Neely was with him when Adrian advanced to the state title game held in Liberty for the first time in school history. Neely shared some thoughts about Bruto. “Lots of great memories coaching with George. He loved football, but he loved the kids even more. We were Viet Nam veterans and you probably won’t find to many schools where the coaching staff was Nam vets. Great memories, for sure. Congrats, Coach!”
When George Bruto stepped away from coaching in 2013, his successor was Matt Cochran, who is currently still Head Coach for the Blackhawks. Cochran was the defensive coordinator for Bruto when the team took home its first State Championship Title in 2002. “There is no more of a deserving person to go into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame than George Bruto,” Cochran said. “He was a very good coach, motivator, and leader. However, more than that, he always had his players/students best interests at heart. He wanted to see kids have success on the field, but even more so in life. Not a day goes by that I don’t use something I learned from Coach Bruto.”
George Bruto will take his place with the likes of Stan Musial, George Brett and Norm Stewart. The Old Ball Coach has long been among those Missouri sports greats in the hearts of Blackhawk faithful. Now is the time to make it official.
From the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame website:
George Bruto – Adrian High School Football Coach
Bruto spent 36 years as a teacher and coach at Adrian High School, including 28 seasons (1986 to 2013) as the head football coach. In that time, his teams were 238-77 – a win total that was good for top 15 all-time among Missouri high school football coaches. His 2002 team won the Class 1 state championship, and his 1987 team was a state runner-up. Overall, Adrian advanced to 10 state semifinals (1987, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005), won 17 district championships and 13 conference championships. As an assistant, he was also part of two state semifinal teams, two district championships and a conference championship. Additionally, Bruto wore other hats, as he coached the school’s girls and boys basketball and track teams at various times. Over 45 sports seasons, he was 430-177 as a varsity coach and 147-50 as a junior high school coach, covering 49 seasons.