Wrestling turns teacher to student to teacher again Brutout rises from neophyte to head of officials group

February 10, 1993|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Sam Brutout is a teacher who received an unexpected education.

Brutout came to Carroll County in 1969 to teach earth science to eighth-graders at then-Westminster Junior High (now Westminster West Middle School). During his first year, he became interested in wrestling, a sport he knew nothing about.

His interest grew. Brutout took up officiating, became an assistant coach at North Carroll and now is the commissioner for the Central Maryland Wrestling Officials Association.

Brutout officiated for 10 years before taking his present position approximately eight years ago. Brutout assigns officials to Carroll County matches and, at times, does the same for junior league matches.

Brutout also watches the officials six to eight times a season. He often spends two or three nights a week at matches to observe, evaluate and help the six officials who work under him.

"I am there for the support of the officials," said Brutout. "I am there to evaluate and . . . to help them grow as officials."

Brutout said he enjoys working with officials because it's a different form of teaching.

"My main job is teaching," Brutout said. "There's not much difference between teaching kids in school and adults a skill."

Brutout takes pride in his officials. Rich Logue, who worked the big North Carroll-Francis Scott Key match Wednesday, reversed his last-second call that would have given one bout to Key. Brutout praised Logue for having the courage to make the change.

When Brutout came to Carroll County, he had a lot to learn about wrestling because he never had seen a match.

Brutout moved to this area from Charleroi, Pa., 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, to teach. Football was important to him because he had played it in high school.

At Westminster, he began helping Dick Bauerlein -- now the coach at North Carroll -- who was starting a wrestling program at the junior high.

Bauerlein said Brutout began hanging around practice and became interested in the sport.

"I remember when he first started," said Bauerlein. "I think he was intrigued by it. He used to roll around a little bit."

The more Brutout became involved, the more he liked it. Bauerlein missed three days during the fall of 1969 due to minor surgery, and Brutout agreed to watch the team, so it could practice.

By then, he was hooked.

"This was a combination of an individual and a team sport," said Brutout. "I think it's one of the great high school sports."

A few years later, Brutout took up officiating. Then, from 1976 through 1979, he assisted Bauerlein at North Carroll before switching to football. He moved to Westminster as the head junior varsity coach and the varsity line coach.

Brutout kept officiating, however, and his interest in wrestling grew. He would officiate as often as possible to gain experience and confidence.

After a few years, Brutout felt confident enough to handle a difficult match.

"It was a little tough at first getting to know the mechanics, the rules and the small points," said Brutout. "I became a good official. I felt very confident on the mat."

Brutout began doing more with wrestling. He was the director of the Class 4A-3A regional tournament that Westminster High School played host to for two years.

He also has helped with the state tournament for the past seven years.

"He's a big promoter of wrestling," said Bauerlein. "He takes it very seriously."

It's easy to see Brutout's love for the sport. While a match is in progress, he'll talk but rarely take his eyes off the mat. He tries to watch every moment of every match, regardless of the overall score.

Brutout says he wonders what would have happened if his high school had had a wrestling team.

The bottom line, however, is he's glad just to have found the sport.

"I try to go to every [match] I can," said Brutout. "I love high school wrestling."

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