This past week Valparaiso University learned about the tragic loss of Tom Brankin, who passed away at the age of 53.
Brankin’s involvement with the school was working with the Valpo men’s golf team as a volunteer assistant coach. Brankin worked with head coach Dave Gring during his two year tenure.
“Coach Brankin was a long-time friend of mine and a person who I deeply admired on so many different levels. I feel immensely blessed to have known Tom and his family for over 35 years, and it was a tremendous honor to coach our players alongside such an exceptional individual.” Gring said in a press release.
Players on the men’s golf team shared their thoughts on Brankin.
“We all had a great relationship with Coach Brankin,” said senior golfer Jack Juskow. “He would joke around with us on the course to help us stay comfortable in stressful situations, he treated us like athletes and not just golfers, and he was always there for us to help offer his advice and help on golf or just life in general.”
Brankin graduated from Valparaiso University in 1989, playing on the Valpo men’s golf team all four years. He received academic all-conference honors and a degree in accounting.
Drew Alexander, senior, is in his fourth year for Valpo golf.
“Coach Brankin fit in with the team immediately,” said Alexander. “He was always someone I could talk to and joke with, no matter the situation. I always enjoyed playing with him and playing for him. He was not only a coach to us but also a friend.”
Brankin also did not just have an impact on Valpo’s campus. He also served with the boys basketball team as an assistant coach at Highland High for the past 12 years. Brankin also worked with the varsity girls team at Highland as a coach from 2010-2011.
The former Valpo assistant coach also worked with a couple of football teams in the region. He served as offensive coordinator for Highland from 2012-2015, Calumet New Tech in 2016, and then for East Chicago in 2017.
A former Brother Rice High School graduate, Brankin set up his own accounting and consulting practice in Schererville. Our hearts go out to the Brankin family for their incredible loss.