Colt Brennan’s family and coaches talk about what was lost
We used 2,500 words on Sunday to detail the life and death of Colt Brennan, who grew up in Orange County and became a star quarterback at the University of Hawaii.
He died on May 11 after authorities said he overdosed on something containing fentanyl.
What follows is the best of what didn’t make history.
Trying to help their son
Brennan’s parents have both said they believe they’ve done everything they can to help their son, whose battle with drug addiction has lasted for more than a decade.
“We’re pretty comfortable with it,” said her dad, Terry. “It was one of those insistence that Colt just pushed him, like other kids do.” They keep growing, and once you get to that spot, those are the consequences. “
Also from Terry: “We knew he was struggling and his activities showed he was struggling. Everything we tried kind of blew up on us.
A battle in progress
Brennan’s behavior – fueled by her drug addiction – often alienated others, especially those close to her.
“He would burn bridges, with friends and coaches,” said Terry. “They would become the enemy, in a way, in his mind.”
The attacks often took place on social media and by text message. Brennan has apologized repeatedly and profusely for her actions.
“I know I have written horrible texts in the past and I am sorry for that,” he expressed in a letter to his family last year. “It was the most embarrassing thing I have done throughout this battle.”
His mother, Betsy, said, “He loved us. I mean, he was still sorry for the way he acted sometimes. This is what is so difficult. It had to be something else, something bigger, the demons hitting on him. … He hated it when he got like that. He would say mean things. He couldn’t help it.
Brennan’s death was a tragic end that brought sadness to those around her but also needed a finality.
“He’s at peace,” said Terry. “He no longer has to fight battles.
Betsy added, “I think he’s at peace because I think he fought so hard just to be happy. We don’t know how he felt, how much weight may have been on him all the time. You just don’t know.
Former Hawaii assistant coach Rich Miano called it “almost a sense of relief” when Brennan passed away.
“For those [of] you [who] I loved Colt, those who were closest to him, those who tried so hard to change him, influence him and help him, at least it’s closing. They no longer have to go to bed thinking about how it’s not going to end well. …
He’s in a better place. It couldn’t be in a worse place.
Some of the things Brennan will be remembered for is her easy smile and just as easy demeanor.
“Colt wasn’t nervous about a lot of things,” said Bruce Rollinson, his coach at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana. “He was a laid back kid with a smile, his big old smile.”
Rollinson recalled watching Brennan walk through the halls of Mater Dei exuding the charm that would mark so much of her life.
“Colt was a friend to everyone,” Rollinson said. “I used to laugh to myself. I was going to say ‘Look at him, man.’ It was as if he was carefree, loving every day of his life. And that’s what’s so hard about it now.
Trying to find answers
The Brennans continue to question their son’s fate, including the impact their attempts at hard love had or did not have on him.
“Friends said to me, ‘How can you do that? And some say, ‘You’re doing the right thing,’ ”Betsy explained. “You’re caught in the middle. You try to have hard sex, but then you want to help them. I mean, he’s your son. It is so difficult as a parent.
Signs of hope
As far as Brennan’s parents know, he was never diagnosed with depression, although they concluded he was struggling with that as well. He sometimes tried drugs, but always stopped taking them because of how he felt.
“That’s what upset us because he would never give her enough time to work,” Betsy said.
When asked if, given all of what their son was up against, the Brennans thought it was inevitable that he would die the way he did, Betsy explained that recent events had altered. their perspective.
Brennan had spent four months in a home treatment center in Costa Mesa. His visits to similar places had never lasted more than a few weeks.
“We did at one point [think this was inevitable]”Betsy said.” But I think in the last few months… because of this last treatment center, we thought he had made it, turned the corner.… The facility he was in told us that ‘ he was always positive, always optimistic, they praised him.
Brennan’s parents named him Colt after his father looked at a map of Southern California and noticed “Colton,” a town of about 55,000 people in San Bernardino County.
Colton James Brennan was born August 16, 1983. James was one of Brennan’s grandfathers. He died of ALS.
Brennan’s Hawaii head coach June Jones said that after Brennan’s death he received messages from “people in New York, South Carolina and Texas watching every game. [on late-night TV]. … He captivated all of Hawaii and half of the continent. Everyone knows this name.
Trying to stay clean
Betsy on times when Brennan was able to stay sober: “What’s really crazy is all those years of drinking and whatever he does… when he was sober his mind was clear. He was funny. He liked to tell stories. He could recite lines from movies. That’s why I think it had to be something bigger.
In addition to the memories, Brennan left her parents with two cats, both of whom he brought back from Hawaii: Toa and Kona.
Miano recalled coming home from Rainbow Warriors games listening to the radio and marveling at Brennan’s interviews.
In addition to displaying remarkable “charisma,” said Miano, Brennan has always congratulated Hawaii, its coaches and teammates, especially its offensive linemen and receivers.
“You couldn’t have asked a media consultant to describe him better to say the right things,” Miano said. “It was like, ‘My God, this guy is a media genius. He just understands. “
What was lost
Betsy: “We’ve had a lot of him for the past four months. He had become himself again. We were doing really well. It was the best I had seen. The sparkle in his eyes was back.
Jones: “We were hoping he would hit rock bottom and run away before that happened. … Everyone tried to help him. Other players, teammates, coaches. Unfortunately, the demons were just too much to deal with. … These drugs, these different things, they’ll kill you in the end.
Miano: “We have lost a beautiful person. There will never be another Colt Brennan in Hawaiian history. … People say he was the greatest player of all time in Hawaii. How do you argue this? It was.”