The 2018 MCSP department newsletter (go to http://webapps.roanoke.edu/mcsp/minton/MCSP Times – April 2018.pdf) includes features on two distinguished graduates from the class of 1936. They are different in many ways. One was Army, one was Navy. One was an athlete, the other collected rare books. One was a Big Man on Campus, the other lived off campus. Both George Emery Wade and Stuart “Pete” Brewbaker were math majors, and both are outstanding representatives of Roanoke College.
Stuart “Pete” Brewbaker made the transition from Big Man on Campus at Roanoke (voted the male student who contributed the most to the college) to Big Man in the Community (Lexington’s football field and recreation center are named for him).
Brewbaker was born in 1912, the 11th of 13 children. A four-sport star athlete in high school, he was a starter on the famous Buchanan Five basketball team. He focused on football and baseball at Roanoke College (yes, we had both sports in the 1930s), and was elected to the RC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1974. He served as President of the YMCA and Honors Council at Roanoke. A math major, he was elected to Blue Key honor society. Upon graduation, he went to William Fleming High School as a math teacher and coach before moving to Lexington High School in 1938.
His work for Lexington is remarkable. While teaching math, he was the school’s athletic director and coach of football, basketball, baseball, and track from 1938 to 1960 (with four years leave with the Navy from 1942-46). He continued as football coach until 1977, winning a record 224 games. Other coaches loved him. Joe Downing said, “They beat us my first year, and the next year when we beat them he came over and gave me the game ball…. I wonder if I could have done that.” Brewbaker founded the school’s golf team in the 1960s, and quickly won 3 state championships. In 1974, he received the National High School Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award.
As great as his coaching record is, his service record was his pride. He founded and served as director of Lexington’s recreational program from 1946 until 1987! He served as President of the state High School Coaches Association, and many other groups. As track coach, he designed and engineered the school’s asphalt running track, which was the first of its kind in the state. He was voted Citizen of the Year in 1994 by the Southern District of the Boy Scouts.
Pete Brewbaker was The Man at Roanoke College, one of 150 distinguished alumni honored in 1992. But his greatest contributions were in Lexington, where he was The Man for over 50 years with the sports and recreation programs he created. He wrote, “The success of the programs is measured by the positive influence on the lives of the community’s young people whose own successes and, in many cases, change of direction, have led to useful and fulfilling adulthood.”