Kingsport Times News Monday, August 31, 2015

Memory Lane: Art Brumit

April 15th, 2007 10:21 pm by Staff Report

Art Brumit

Born: June 23, 1944

Where: Johnson City

High Schools/College: Dobyns-Bennett, Memphis Catholic/Memphis State

Residence: Buena Vista, Va.

Then: Mature beyond his years, Art Brumit had the appearance of a grown man when he played football at Dobyns-Bennett.

Brute strength enabled the 5-foot-11, 215-pound fullback to topple defenders. Blessed with exceptional speed, he left others groping.

When the ball changed hands, Brumit shifted to linebacker and made vicious tackles.

The Brumit family had moved to Kingsport from the Boones Creek area.

Young Brumit was full of energy. His parents, David and Minnie, were unaware he had been playing at the Boys Club until asked to sign a permission slip for him to travel with the Kingsport team to compete for the Eastern U.S. Championship at Miami, Fla.

In the early years of their junior high rivalry, Ross N. Robinson's victories over John Sevier were few. But when Brumit played for coach Bill Boyer at Robinson, the Redskins beat Sevier twice.

Attorney Wayne Culbertson, a neighbor, took Brumit to some D-B sporting events and convinced him that's where he should attend school.

For three years, Brumit was a multiple sports star at D-B. He ran the 100-yard dash in 9.9 seconds at the Tri-County Invitational in Knoxville and held the state record for a while.

Brumit focused his talents on the football program. He started at linebacker as a sophomore. When the regular fullback got injured against Montgomery Bell Academy, Brumit took his place and rushed for 100 yards in 10 carries, scoring two touchdowns - all in just 18 minutes of play.

He was the starting fullback the next year and got jaw-dropping attention with his bullish runs.

As a senior, Brumit ran wild. He gained 219 yards in 19 carries against Tennessee High, 190 yards in 15 rushes against Unicoi County with TD runs of 39, 61 and 14 yards, and 164 yards in 29 running assignments and another 56 yards on pass catches against state-ranked Chattanooga Central.

Brumit got 192 yards, kicked two extra points and had TD runs of 56, 13, 1 and 1 against Roanoke Jefferson.

Morristown coach Burleigh Davis requested that he produce a birth certificate. Brumit complied.

Brumit listed seven reasons for his success as a runner: "Right end Jud Brownell, right tackle Dan Booker, right guard Johnny Glass, center Gary Zeigler, left guard Eddie Hay, left tackle Sam Monk and left end Gerald Wheeler.''

He had 2,123 career rushing yards, 190 receiving and 211 on returns.

Brumit was selected all-state, All-Southern and All-America.

The coaches he admired most were D-B's Cecil Puckett, Chuck Lane and Tom Pugh.

Brumit lacked one credit at D-B to graduate in 1964. Instead of going to summer school, he prepared himself academically for a football career at Memphis State by attending Memphis Catholic a half-day for 18 weeks.

"Mercury Morris was the best running back I've ever seen - before, during or after my career,'' Brumit said. "He had phenomenal speed with the strength to flat run over you. He always complimented me after a rare tackle I made on him, to which I would respond, ‘Yeah, right!'''

In a Tigers win over Mississippi, Brumit blocked a punt, recovered a fumble, made eight individual tackles and was credited with seven assists. The Associated Press and Sports Illustrated selected him National Lineman of the Week.

"Archie Manning (Ole Miss' quarterback) picked us like a chicken my sophomore year,'' Brumit said. "Thank God he went to the pros after that.

"I hit McArthur Layne (Utah State) on the 6-yard line and got up in the end zone. In the film room on the Sunday after the game, one of my coaches said, ‘Tell us what you were doing on this play.' I replied: ‘Reading Riddell Genuine Leather written on the bottom of his cleats.'''

While still in college, he and high school sweetheart Bobbie Parsley were married and had two sons, John Arthur Brumit II and Robert Harrison Brumit. They later had another son, David Benjamin Brumit. All three boys played football.

Robert was recruited heavily by major colleges but wound up playing at a small school. Clemson coach Danny Ford had said he was "too good to play for anyone but me.''

Art Brumit passed up an opportunity to play touch football with Elvis Presley to keep a date with Bobbie. "That's the greatest play I ever made,'' he said.

Upon graduation from college, Brumit got a call from the Baltimore Colts. He was supposed to report to Ithaca, N.Y., for training camp but decided against turning pro before the details of a contract could be worked out.

"I just lost interest,'' he said. "I'd been broken up so much in high school and college.''

He felt led to become a minister.

"God began to show me His work of grace,'' Brumit said. "After a time of severe conviction, many dear souls obedient to God prayed, witnessed and testified to me.

"Finally, on March 29, 1969, I was brought to the knowledge of the gospel of peace, and cried out for God's help. My wife also experienced this same type of miraculous salvation that night.''

A captivating speaker, Brumit was ordained. He pastored various churches in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Now: Brumit was appointed the first pastor at Blue Ridge Baptist in Buena Vista and has been there 18 years.

"The greatest experience of my life was when Jesus Christ became my personal Lord and Savior,'' he said. "He rescued my immortal soul.''

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