Sports Shorts: BHS Football, Rich Niemann

Here's the Brentwood High School baseball team in 1992, coached by Rich Niemann (back row, far left) and Jim Taylor
Here’s the Brentwood High School baseball team in 1992, when Rich Niemann (back row, far left) was assistant coach and Jim Taylor (back row, far right) was head coach. This photo was posted on the Celtics Life website with an article on Niemann, who played for the Boston Celtics.

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Celtics fan website profiles Niemann

I just found an article about former Brentwood High School teacher and baseball coach Rich Niemann at a fan website of the Boston Celtics.

This undated photo of Rich Niemann is from the Celtics Life article.
This undated photo of Rich Niemann is from the Celtics Life article.

The article is from 2013 but I’m sharing it here because you’ll never hear this from Rich. I interviewed him about the baseball team once and he might be the most modest former pro athlete I’ve ever met.

Even as tall as he is, 7 feet, I wouldn’t have guessed that he once played center for the Celtics and banged the boards against guys like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I knew he taught science at BHS for many years and was the head baseball coach from 2002 through 2010, when he retired. But at Celticslife.com I learned that he led DuBourg High School to the state title in 1964, attended St. Louis University, played briefly for the Pistons, Bucks and Celtics and did well in three seasons with the Carolina Cougars of the ABA.

He also must have made an impression playing for the ABA’s Dallas Chapparals, as somebody on eBay wants $925 for his jersey.

Here’s a link to the Celtics Life article, which is part of their series charmingly entitled “What the Hell Happened to . . .”

BHS takes 2nd in 7-on-7 tournament

Football players from Brentwood High School took second place among seven teams in a seven-on-seven tournament at St. Dominic’s High School in O’Fallon, Mo., on Friday.

Jordan Tate, last year's MVP of the eighth grade Junior Eagles, is now a freshman playing seven on seven for the Eagles. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Jordan Tate, last year’s MVP of the eighth grade Junior Eagles, is now a freshman playing seven on seven for the Eagles. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

The Eagles went 5-1 in the small schools division, defeating Bishop DuBourg, Orchard Farm, Van Far, Winfield and Sikeston before losing 14-6 in the title game against Chaminade.

Dozens of schools in the St. Louis area participate in seven on seven, a summer touch football league created to develop players in ball-handling positions. Brentwood players have competed in it since 2011 when head coach Keith Herring was hired. They play on Tuesday nights at Priory High School and will compete in the 24-team DeSmet Tournament on June 20.

“We’re young again but they played their tails off at St. Dominic’s,” said Herring.

Players who have been participating are: seniors Jacob Clay and Sam Tilton; juniors Kaylon Jenkins, Skylar Sappington, Stephen Suntrup and Luke Tilton; sophomores Rob Bax and Daniel Neal; and freshmen Courtland Hill, Jahari Starks and Jordan Tate.

Herring held a three-day camp last week to familiarize players with the base game plan and, he said, “to add a couple of new plays.” The second set of camps will be held from July 13-16 and July 20-23.

Keith Herring is starting his fifth season as head coach of the BHS football team. He's shown here at the 2014 post-season awards banquet. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Keith Herring is starting his fifth season as head coach of the BHS football team. He’s shown here at the 2014 post-season awards banquet. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Football schedule released; MRH cancels season

This fall the Brentwood High School football team will play the same teams it played last season. The 2015 varsity schedule was announced recently and it contains the same nine schools the Eagles went 9-0 against last year and outscored by an average of 38 points a game.

The only differences are some of the locations. The home games this year will be against John F. Kennedy, Orchard Farm, Liberty-Wentzville and Lift for Life. The road games will be at Crystal City, Sumner, Cuba, Principia and Cleveland NJROTC.

Last year BHS ended up 10-1 after losing to Hermann by 19 points in the Class 2 District 5 semifinals. Lutheran North then beat Hermann by 36 in the district championship.

The district has the same schools as last year except for Maplewood-Richmond Heights, which recently announced it would not field a team this fall because fewer than a dozen players had signed up. MRH won five district titles from 2007-12 but went 4-16 the past two seasons.

Here’s an article from the June 12 St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the rise and fall of the MRH football program. Conspicuously absent is any mention of all the non-Maplewood kids who were brought in to make the program successful.

By the way, now that they have no team at least until 2016, could MRH students play football for Brentwood? Herring said he and BHS Athletic Director Steve Ayotte recently discussed the topic. They know it’s been done by other high schools. For instance, the JFK team has players from football-less Valley Park, though it required JFK to move from Class 3 to Class 4.

“We’d be happy to have any of those (MRH) students transfer into the Brentwood district,” said Herring. “But as far as combining the teams to where it moved us up a class, we don’t want any part of that.”

2015 Brentwood Varsity Football Schedule
Aug. 14, Friday, at Windsor Jamboree, Imperial, Mo.
Aug. 21, Friday, away vs. Crystal City, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28, Friday, home vs. JFK, 7 p.m.
Sept. 5, Saturday, away vs. Sumner, 1 p.m.
Sept. 11, Friday, home vs. Orchard Farm, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18, Friday, away vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26, Saturday, away vs. Principia, 1 p.m.
Oct. 2, Friday, home vs. Lift for Life, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9, Friday, home vs. Liberty-Wentzville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17, Saturday, away vs. Cleveland NJROTC, 1 p.m.
Oct. 23, Class 2 District 5 playoffs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s