Take a look at the Utah State Women’s Basketball media guide and you will see a number. 3-28. The record of the 1985-1986 Aggie team. A number that seems so far outside the realm of celebration that an objective observer would be right to question if any good could have possibly come of that seemingly abysmal four month campaign. But dig a little deeper and look beyond the hardwood. Look beyond the 112-59 loss to BYU or the 23 consecutive losses, and you’ll soon come to discover that the story of that fateful season – the second to last for the program before taking a 16-year hiatus – was far from the disaster that a hollow record in a worn-out media guide can attest to. While the on-court accomplishments, or lack there of, would not bring fame or fortune to the women of head coach Bob Corbin’s team, the lessons learned and examples offered from the campaign would long outlive the memory of defeat. Take a look at the Utah State Women’s Basketball media guide and you will see more numbers, ones which slowly begin to bring the story into focus. 169 assists. 85 steals. A testament to the hard work, dedication, and ‘can-do’ attitude of a 5-foot-1 point guard from Los Angeles who never let her size nor her team’s losing record stop her from giving it her all. Charrise Bremond-Weaver, 2009 Young Alumna of the Year. “I’ve been honored a lot, but I think by far this is the most excited I’ve been for receiving recognition,” says Bremond-Weaver, who will receive the honor during Utah State’s Homecoming festivities this week. “Utah State and Logan, Utah, were very important parts of my life and the development of who I am today. The learning experience, the environment, they shaped me. To be recognized by your university that you are very proud of, I’m humbled by that.” The school’s third all-time leader in assists adds, “I’m just proud. I’m proud that I was a part of the university and I’m proud that they think I’m worthy of such a huge honor.” While Bremond-Weaver’s on-court accomplishments during her two years of action on the Aggie hardwood earned her a position in the Utah State record books, it has been her dealings since graduating from Utah State in 1987 which have earned her the honor of Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year. In 2006, Bremond-Weaver became the first woman to be named President and CEO of The Brotherhood Crusade, a leading non-profit and outreach organization operating in Los Angeles County, Calif. Since taking over the position nearly four years ago, Bremond-Weaver has helped to raise over $20 million for the organization, which centers its activities on community assistance programs in the areas of education, health, economic development, and social welfare. For Bremond-Weaver, the call to philanthropy and service was a natural one, as her father, Walter, was a leading member of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Today, Bremond-Weaver carries on her father’s legacy by helping to spread a message of empowerment and self-reliance among the struggling minority communities of Southern California. “My father founded the organization back in 1968, and I took over almost four years ago,” explains Bremond-Weaver. “We serve a community of predominantly African American and Latino families and families in an area which are, predominantly, in poverty. We look at our institution as filling a void in their lives and to really help sustain them during a difficult time in not only our economy, but really helping them to look at ways to becoming more self-sufficient.” Among the programs and services offered by the Brotherhood Crusade are a financial literacy program offered to teenagers, as well as health screenings and tutoring programs for both children and adults. Bremond-Weaver originally made her way to Logan by way of Santa Monica Junior College through the influence of Bob Corbin, who served as her junior college coach before he took over as head coach at Utah State in 1984. As a young African American woman who had “never seen snow before,” she remembers the initial shock of coming to Utah, but fondly recalls the welcome she received from the university and the citizens of Logan. “It was just the warmness,” recalls Bremond-Weaver. “The professors and the students there at the time welcomed me. I felt like even though I was from California, I was right at home. To have that kind of support from the university… it was just special.” The warmness of the university and the bonds developed with her teammates were major factors in sustaining Bremond-Weaver through the basketball team’s on-court frustrations during her stay in Logan. Yet for her, the adversity faced during that fateful 3-28 season now resonates in a positive light, providing examples for overcoming obstacles which she incorporates in her message to at-risk young people. “You have to encourage, you have to inspire, and not give up. But at the same time learn from those experiences and learn what is important,” says Bremond-Weaver of the lessons learned during her time on the court at Utah State. “I have this philosophy: if I give my best everyday I never fail. That’s what athletics teaches you – that yes, some will have to win, and some will have to lose. But for me, in the game of life, you never lose if you give your best.” The ability to overcome adversity is not the only lesson Bremond-Weaver takes out of her experience of playing basketball at Utah State, and says that her experience on the court in Logan taught her to strive for perfection as the leader of The Brotherhood Crusade. “I think early on in my life, even as a 5-foot-1 point guard, I kind of had that attitude that ‘I have to do my best’ or ‘I have to give it my all. If I practice then yes, I might be the smallest person on the court but I have the biggest heart.’ So even though as I look at my job as a President and CEO I still go back to the idea that I won’t let anyone ever outwork me, because that is my discipline.” The importance of teamwork has also been a leading takeaway that the 45-year old philanthropist works to incorporate in her management of The Brotherhood Crusade and her message to young people. “To me, basketball helps build your character, and shapes you,” explains Bremond-Weaver. “Everyone has a role, and I look at even how I manage The Brotherhood Crusade, and everybody on my team has a role. If people understand their roles and if they really see the vision — like in basketball if you want to win — for me in the nonprofit world our goal and our mission is to help people, so they are transferable skills.” Aside from receiving the honor of Young Alumna of the Year, Bremond-Weaver will be speaking to the Utah State’s women’s basketball team during her visit to Logan. Her message will be one which emphasizes the importance of service and of finding a greater calling outside of the world of athletics. “For the young people who I will be able to talk to, it’s really about taking the experience that they have at Utah State, and then when they finish school to really think about what their purpose is, and then when they graduate how will they fulfill that purpose.” Take a look at the Utah State Women’s Basketball media guide and you will see a black-and-white photo. The image of a young, upbeat African-American woman from Los Angeles, destined for greatness both on the court and in life. The photo reveals nothing of the record of the team she played for, instead serving as a reminder that the true lessons of collegiate athletics surpass the transitory satisfaction found in wins and losses. And for Charrise Bremond-Weaver, the photo serves as a calling for what will be a truly special homecoming. “People say to me all the time, ‘Utah State? You went to Utah State?’ I can go ‘Yes! I went to Utah State; it’s in Logan and it’s a great campus with great energy and I graduated from there!’ It was a proud time in my life and for me to come back, and I haven’t been back since I graduated. I’m so looking forward to it!”
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