To have a Brohm associated with UofL’s football program is nothing new for Cardinal fans.
When Jeff Brohm ’96, one of the top quarterbacks in school history, was announced as the head football coach, there was no doubt it was going to be a family affair. Fellow Cardinal quarterback and younger brother Brian ’07 would follow as offensive coordinator and older brother Greg ’93, ’15, a former wide receiver, joined as chief of staff. Dad Oscar ’70, ’95, also a former quarterback, would be in the stands.
But 2023 ushers in a new Brohm era for UofL when 18-year-old Brady Brohm, Jeff Brohm’s son, begins classes as a Cardinal. Brady doesn’t play football, but his insight into the game — honed from years spent next to his dad, grandfather and uncles on the sideline — just may be UofL’s secret weapon this season and beyond.
When asked how Jeff planned to incorporate his son into the Cardinals program, it was a no-brainer, or no choice, really, for the coach.
“It’s not about how; he’s always involved,” Jeff said, chuckling.
The benefits of youth
Brady, who graduated from Trinity high school in May, officially joined his dad’s staff as a student assistant helping with recruiting and operations. But he has held several unofficial titles on Jeff’s previous teams, including as Purdue University’s “get-back” coach ensuring people stick to the sidelines during play and, perhaps more importantly, as a social media maven bridging the gap between coaches and players.
His age is his advantage and what sets him apart from the other Brohms on staff.
“I think being a different age, relating to the players on the team, relating to the recruits, I bring that middleman to the player-recruit-coach connection,” Brady said. “I know the coaches’ perspective and what they expect, and I know from the players their perspective on what it’ll take to get them there. So, I can help both angles come together.”
“Brady is on social media a lot, he understands how to use cellphones very well and all the gadgets that go with it and he loves the recruiting aspects and the operations aspects of football,” Jeff said. “He loves doing that so we’re utilizing his knowledge and strength and youth to help us at times. Will he be on the sidelines in front of the cameras a little more than I’d like? Yeah, probably, but he’s a lot of fun to have around.”
Majoring in sport administration and with his sights set on eventually becoming a general manager in the NFL, Brady didn’t want to waste any time following his family into football.
For this season, he’s spent time getting to know recruits and players, particularly those the team gained through the transfer portal. Building a team’s camaraderie, especially in the first year with a new program, is critical. The relationship building is a place where Brady can carve out a niche for himself.
“He likes to spend as much time over here as I do,” Jeff said. “Brady is even more of a people person than I was. He just likes being around the guys, the group and he likes being in the action. That’s kind of, other than going to school, what he enjoys doing.”
Jeff said he’s the shy family member, only really coming out of his shell when he became a head coach. Brady, on the other hand, is outgoing.
The comfort level of talking – and talking back – when you are family is something that has served this father-son pair well.
“I think sometimes assistant coaches kinda worry about giving a full-on opinion when they shouldn’t be worried,” Brady said. “But I’m sitting there like I’m his son, I’ll give the opinion for you.”
And he does.
“He’s like the others (in the family); he’s going to express his opinion and probably even more so what I’m doing wrong and what I need to do more of,” Jeff said. “But it’s good to have around; he gives me even more of an honest perspective.”
Bringing back the fun
Even with their personality differences, their assessments of the upcoming season are similar.
“We want to make it fun for our players to play in but also for our fans to watch,” Jeff said. “We want to try to be entertaining while we’re on the field, and while winning is the priority, there are ways to go about that to give an element of excitement that fans want to watch.”
“It’ll be fun football again,” Brady said. “My dad always says if we go down, we want to go down taking a chance, not sitting back and hoping the other team doesn’t do this or that.”
So, what else does Brady think is in store for the Cardinals this season?
“I think you’ll see an aggressive team. A team that’s not afraid to take its chances. A team that’s not afraid of running interesting plays, that’s not scared to press, to blitz, to take their shots,” he said. “I think we’ve got a good quarterback; we added some real good receivers, we’ve got a really electric running back and a good o-line. I think our defense with our (defensive backs), you’ll see them getting up in people’s faces.”
There are a lot of expectations – from the fan base, the school, the players – now that the Brohms are back.
“I think people trust that we’re going to do everything in our power to try to elevate this program as high and as fast as we can,” Jeff said. “It goes beyond just a job; it’s been our life since we’ve been born. This is where we live and where our family lives, and we consider the whole city of Louisville to be our extended family.”
Brady, while biased of course, thinks his father is the best person for the job. And he plans on being beside him the whole time.
BROHM ON BROHM
During the photo shoot for this story, UofL Magazine lobbed over a few fun questions for the father-son duo to see their relationship in action. It resulted in a lot of laughs and a couple of questionable calls.
UOFL MAGAZINE: What is the craziest play you’ve seen your dad run?
BRADY: The WKU game at Marshall (when Jeff called for the team to go for two extra points to break an overtime tie instead of the less risky extra-point kick). I definitely started sprinting up and grabbing his shirt like ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!’ But we weren’t stopping anyone that day, so he did it.
JEFF: I was right. We got a trip to the Bahamas for the bowl.
BRADY: He was only right because it worked. But I would have been right if it hadn’t.
UOFL MAGAZINE: Name the top three quarterbacks in UofL football history. I know it’s a loaded question with the family ties, so you can take some time to think about it.
BRADY: I’ve already got mine. Lamar Jackson. Johnny Unitas. (Brady pauses to whisper something to Jeff, who smiles and tells him to go ahead.) OK, for me, it’s Teddy Bridgewater.
JEFF: We’ve got the same top two. Lamar. Unitas. But for third place, I’m going to go with…Brian Brohm. (Jeff pauses to reconsider.) But then you’ve got Chris Redman and Teddy Bridgewater. Or go back further and there’s Browning Nagle. And, well, if we’re going back, you might as well throw me in there.
UOFL MAGAZINE: There it is. We were wondering which one of you was going to be the first to name a Brohm.
BRADY: Not me. (Laughs.)