Sept. 13, 1999
A key extra point has gone awry and the Gettysburg College fans are upset. Two gentlemen, one the father of Gettysburg Head Coach Barry Streeter, and the other Barry’s brother, are voicing displeasure with the Bullets placekicker. Seven-year-old Brandon Streeter, sitting between these two experienced football viewers, is one of the disappointed Bullets fans, but his blame is not focused toward the kicker, but the holder.
“We looked at the film the next day and sure enough, the hold was bad and to blame for the missed kick,” recalled Barry Streeter, still the head coach at Gettysburg. “I was amazed that Brandon, at age seven, could already notice that type of detail about the game.”
Childhood interest grew to adolescent intrigue and participation in the sport of football for Brandon Streeter, now the senior leader of the Clemson offense. His high football acumen comes in handy today as he leads Tommy Bowden’s intricate offense.
“I was always around practice, around the players and at games,” recalled Brandon. “My brother (Jason) and I used to hold the cord for my father as he walked the sidelines when we were young. When you are around the game at such a young age you can’t help but get involved and gain a better understanding of it.”
Comparing the youth of Head Coach Tommy Bowden and Clemson’s current starting quarterback reveal similar experiences. During a summer meeting with the media, Bowden recalled how he and his brother Terry used to ride back from Samford University games (coached by his father Bobby Bowden at the time) on the team bus, laying down in the luggage rack above the seats.
“By the time I was 10, my dad used to let Jason and I ride back on the team bus after the game,” said Brandon. “After a victory when the team got to the front gate of the school, they would sing the fight song. That got me excited, I knew I wanted to be part of college football.”
To get to college football, Brandon of course had to excel at the high school level. As a starter his last two years at Gettysburg High, he threw for more than 4,000 yards and led the team to a 22-3 record. He completed 65 percent of his passes and had 19 touchdowns against just five interceptions, statistics that had him on recruiting lists for some of the top schools in the nation.
Despite the high rate of success his last two years, a game Brandon’s sophomore year might stand out from his high school experience. His brother Jason was a starting wide receiver for Gettysburg High and went on to a four-year college career himself at Lehigh. Brandon was the second-team quarterback that year, but, for one game, he got the start due to an illness to the starter.
“I started with my brother just one game in my life. It was a strange circumstance in that the game was played on a Monday night because of a rainstorm the previous Friday. The starter had the flu, so I got to play. I completed about three passes to my brother and that was certainly memorable. Jason was kidding the other guys before the game that I was going to throw him the ball every down.
“I threw the first touchdown pass of my high school career in that game, but it wasn’t to Jason, it was to a guy named Charles Warren (no relation to the former Clemson National Champion golfer). It’s ironic, because he lives with my brother now in Georgia.” Jason is training to work for the Secret Service.
Clemson won the recruiting battle for Streeter in the winter of 1995. After red-shirting his first year, he served an apprenticeship behind Nealon Greene, Clemson’s career leader in just about every passing and total offense category, in 1996 and 1997. While he only played four games in 1997, he did start against the nation’s number-one team, Florida State, the biggest game of the season.
Streeter showed his potential, taking the Tigers the length of the field on the opening drive, culminating the first possession with a 32-yard scoring run. Unfortunately, Streeter was injured in the first half and was unable to return. “That was a big game for my confidence,” recalled Streeter. “I had only played in blowouts, then I was starting against the number-one team, probably the toughest defense in the country.”
The following spring, Streeter took over the starting position, only to suffer a serious injury, a dislocated fracture of an ankle, ending his spring practice a week early. Ever the hard worker, Streeter was ready for the beginning of camp and started 10 of the 11 games last year.
Streeter found his form and became comfortable with the Tiger offense. Over the last four games of the season he completed 56 percent of his passes for 887 yards and nine touchdowns. Against NC State, he completed a Clemson record 27 passes for a school record 329 yards and three scores. He led Clemson to 303 yards of total offense in the second half-alone. He then showed a command of the attack in the victory over South Carolina, as he threw for 173 yards and 16 completions and also rushed for 24 yards on five carries.
For the 1998 season, Streeter threw for 1948 yards, second highest single season total in Clemson history and most ever by a junior. He completed 53 percent of his passes and threw for 13 touchdowns, one of the top five single season totals in Clemson history.
For his career, which has spanned just 18 games heading into this year, he stands 14th on Clemson’s career passing yardage list, a ranking that matches his uniform number. He is also in the top 15 in Clemson history in passing efficiency, completions, attempts, touchdown passes and interception avoidance.
Now Streeter faces another challenge, adapting to Coach Bowden’s system, a system he believes in. “When you see what he did at Tulane, you see it works. We all believe in what he and Coach (Rich) Rodriguez want to do with this offense.”
While Streeter has had three different offensive coordinators and two different head coaches in the last three years, he has had one stable role model for guidance, his father. “We talk at least twice a week during the season and more than that during the preseason,” said Brandon. “We usually talk on Wednesday night and then after the game. Even if we have a road night game, I call when I get back to campus.”
“We have some great conversations,” said Barry Streeter, now in his 22nd year at Gettysburg as the head coach. “We talk a lot about offenses, defenses, tempos, what will work against different defenses. I know Brandon is fired up about this offense and this season.”
Another person who is on the phone line for most of those calls is Brandon’s mother, Barbara. (There are also younger sisters Kelly and Lindsey in the household). While she doesn’t make as many suggestions when it comes to the Xs and Os of the conversation, she has had just as big an impact on Brandon’s success.
“My mom is the greatest. She comes to just about every game. That is a 10-hour trip from Gettysburg. She leaves early Friday, gets here Friday night, and then leaves Sunday morning. Home and away she is there.”
Obviously, it is difficult for Barry to attend his son’s games, but he has averaged two regular season games per year since Brandon has been at Clemson. He plans to attend the NC State game in Raleigh (open date for Gettysburg) and the South Carolina game, which takes place after Gettysburg’s season is completed.
There is an on-going family discussion as to the heritage of Brandon’s athletic ability. Barry played college football and lacrosse at Lebanon Valley, while Barbara was a member of the field hockey team at the same school and played on the United States National Field Hockey team in 1972.
Regardless of the gene distribution, the guidance they have given Brandon has been the prime reason for his success. “I have been very fortunate because we had great stability in our family,” said Brandon. “Most sons of coaches have to deal with a lot of moves while they are growing up, but my dad has worked at the same school since I have been alive. “
Streeter has brought stability and success to the Gettysburg program. He is the school’s all-time winningest coach, a distinction he has had since 1995. In 1985, he led the Bullets to their first ever Division III playoff appearance. They reached the Final Four of the National Tournament that year, posting a 9-0-1 regular season record. He has won three conference championships and has been coach of the year twice.
Brandon’s parents have given him guidance in more than just athletics. He already has earned his degree from Clemson in health science and is taking courses towards earning a master’s degree. He is a four-time member of the ACC Academic honor roll and could become just the second five-time selection in Clemson history this year. “Every time I call I ask what his test schedule is,” said Barry. “He gives me a hard time about that because he is in graduate school now, but it is very important.”
Armed with a five-year college football experience, an undergrad degree and credits towards a master’s, Brandon Streeter is anxious to see what the world holds for him in the near future. “I have thought about going into the health science field, my uncle owns a cardiac rehab center.
“But, I might look at coaching also. I would like to coach at the college level. Every year my dad goes to the national convention, and I plan to go with him this year. I have met a lot of coaches in my time at Clemson and he knows a ton of people in the business.”
Someday when Barry Streeter is watching his extra point team perform, he may again be critiqued by his son. Except this time, Brandon may be coaching his holders.
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