Brian Brakeman’s influence on Ohio high school wrestling is legendary. A statistical wizard with the papers to prove it, Brakeman has compiled a dazzlingly accurate state tournament forecast that for 45 years has been an invaluable guide for wrestlers, coaches and college recruiters. He calls it the “Brakeman Report.” Others call it the wrestling “bible.” It is the premier state wrestling forecast in the country.
Since 1972, Brakeman has ranked the top 25 or so wrestlers in each weight class in every division, highlighted by projected state champions and order of team finish. In all these years his accuracy rate is 70%. One recent year he picked 13 of 14 state champs in Division I.
Hall of Fame wrestling coach Jamie Milkovich points out that compiling the report was more than clerical. “Brian incorporated the intangible effects of diverse styles, projected development and quality of coaching into his rankings.”
Milkovich adds, however, “The annual Brakeman Report represents only a portion of Brian’s contributions.”
Beginning in the early 1970s, working alongside Mike Massa, he anchored television broadcasts of the sectional, district and state tournaments along with top dual meets and holiday tournaments on WVIZ-TV. He became the face of high school wrestling. He archived all these telecasts beginning in 1971 and made them available to anyone who requests them. Because of his corporate position as Vice-President of Planning for East Ohio Gas Company, the gas company underwrote the first 30 years of broadcasts on WVIZ.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) adopted many of his recommendations to improve the state tournaments. He served as chairman of the seeding committee for the state dual meet tournament. In 1993 he was inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame.
A native of Parma and graduate of Parma Senior High School, Brian went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Case Tech, an M.B.A. from Western Reserve and a Ph.D in statistics.
He spent his entire working career with East Ohio Gas in planning and research. He also spent 14 years as a math teacher and tutor at North Coast Academy.
He and his wife Cheryl live in Shaker Heights. They have five grown children and eight grandchildren.