Lucas at Large: Hero Brin among those back at Camp Randall for reunion

As part of the Legacy Reunion -- drawing nearly 300 former UW football players to Camp Randall Stadium -- what do you think some of them will be thinking about when they step on the field Saturday?

Maybe Joe Armentrout will be thinking about his 120 rushing yards against Northern Illinois in 1985.

Maybe Neil Graff will be thinking about his two touchdown passes to tight end Larry Mialik against Penn State in 1970.

Maybe Josh Hunt will be thinking about his 89-yard punt return for a touchdown against Western Michigan in 2000.

Maybe Ira Matthews will be thinking about his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Iowa in 1976.

Maybe Matt Vanden Boom will be thinking about his three interceptions against Michigan in 1981.

Maybe Matt Nyquist will be thinking about his school record 13 pass receptions against Iowa in 1995.

Maybe Tom Brigham will be thinking about his 91-yard touchdown run against Western Michigan in 1963.

Maybe Billy Marek will be thinking about his 304 rushing yards and five touchdowns against Minnesota in 1974.

Maybe Dan Lanphear will be thinking about his blocked punt against Ohio State in 1959.

Maybe Darryl Sims will be thinking about his six tackles for loss against Northwestern in 1982.

Maybe Pat Richter will be thinking about his three touchdowns catches against Illinois in 1961.

What will Dr. Michael Brin be thinking about Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium? Will he be thinking about the crowd surge in the student sections following the 1993 game against Michigan?

Brin said that he will try not to think about it.

"I try to put into perspective what my role was not only on that team but after that game,'' he said. "To this day, I'm still grateful that I played a role.''

Aimee Jansen will likely be forever grateful for Brin, who pulled Jansen from the crush of bodies after a "human tidal wave'' washed over the sections, injuring more than 70.

Sari Weinstein will likely be forever grateful for Brin, who administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Weinsten, one of the many pinned in the stampede.

For his heroic actions in rescuing people, Brin, a walk-on receiver, was named as the ABC Person of the Week by the late Peter Jennings.

"I really don't get recognized any more for the stampede,'' said Brin, 37. "But it has come up in conversations every once in awhile.

"One of the more recent times was when one of my son's friends performed a Google search while I was coaching their flag football team.''

Brin will be bringing his two sons -- Zachary, 7; and Jacob, 4 -- to Saturday's game.

He bought season tickets for the first time this year.

"We've watched Badger games together on TV,'' he said. "And my oldest has asked, 'Daddy, did you do that?' I kind of tell him that I really didn't play too much but I was there (on the team).''

After leaving the UW with his undergraduate degree in zoology, Brin got his master's in public health at Illinois-Chicago and then went on to medical school and his residency in Chicago.

For the last six years, Brin has been living in Mequon and working as an ER doctor. He's the medical director of the Emergency Department at Columbia St. Mary's-Ozaukee.

"In reflection, it's easy to see how the lessons coach (Barry) Alvarez and his staff used in coaching us on the field were applicable to life off the field,'' Brin said.

"Many of those lessons -- like honesty, hard work without cutting corners or making excuses, perseverance and self-discipline -- are the same lessons that became a part of my personality.

"Coach Alvarez -- along with Brad Childress and Jay Norvell -- preached discipline and doing your job and after four years of getting that pounded into your head, it just becomes who you are.''

Being a walk-on also impacted Brin's perspective on life.

"If you want something,'' he said, "go out and earn it. No matter what you think you can or can't do -- no matter what people tell you -- you can do it if you really want to.''

What does the Legacy Reunion mean to Dr. Michael Brin?

"I can't wait to meet some of the people who came before me and have played for UW since I graduated,'' he said. "The football program has created an amazing legacy ...

"I'm both humbled and proud to have been a part of that, no matter how small my role was. I'm humbled because I look at what the football program has become.''

He's also humbled "to think that I too had the privilege to put on the pads and helmet and walk through the tunnel wearing a Badger uniform. Little did I know how much that it really meant then.

"But it definitely means more to me now.''

Nearly 300 former players here Saturday will likely share that sentiment with Brin.

"It's the closest thing to a fraternity that we will get,'' he said.
ON WISCONSIN