Coach Bray Reflects on Thirty-Two Seasons

Kelly O’Leary ’19
EE Contributor

Clifford Bray, better known as Buddy Bray, has been at Trumbull High School for a total of 36 years between being a student and physical education teacher, but most importantly, a coach.  Coach Bray has been coaching numerous sports for 32 years, such as baseball, track, volleyball and basketball. Basketball has always been at the top of Coach Bray’s list, but after the many seasons of hard work and dedication,  Coach Bray said it’s definitely time to start winding down.

“I don’t remember the last time I sat down on Christmas with my family and thought to myself ‘Oh, I’m having a great time,’ because I was always thinking about the next practice or big game.” said Coach Bray. He would spend not only his holidays watching film or answering emails, but any additional free time he had as well. Coaching was a full time job and for 32 years, it took a lot of time and effort. Bray said it’s time to start being with his family more, especially his wife whom he referred to as “an angel” after all of the support she’s given him since they began dating in high school.

For many high school coaches, the goal is to always coach at the next level. Coach Bray was offered an opportunity by Joe DeSantis- a phenomenal basketball player who set records at Fairfield University- to coach alongside him at Quinnipiac University.  “The timing was tough” said Bray. “I had to make the smart decision to stay [in Trumbull] because I had just bought a house and had a new born child at home. That was my opportunity to really be in the middle of all the division one excitement, but I have no regrets.”

Coach Bray has lived in Trumbull most of his life, graduated here, taught, coached and built relationships here, and through it all he said Trumbull High has been more than great to him. He’s had the honor of working with so many talented and wonderful people such as Mr. McCarthy and Coach Monteli, also the athletic directors, Mike Herbst and Mike King, along with many more important names. Bray gave the most credit to Coach McDougal, referring to him as a “legend” and a “mentor.”  

Mr. Matthew Landin, Assistant Coach to Bray for the last 13 years, said: “My favorite part about coaching with Bray is the Bray-isms. What I mean by that is all his goofy sayings that have stuck with his players and staff for years. Also just the comradery, he’s a wonderful guy and a great friend.”

Former Trumbull High basketball player, JJ Pfohl (who graduated in 2017), had a strong relationship with his coach. “Coach Bray has taught me a lot of things throughout my time at THS. He was one of the reasons why I chose to play basketball in college”, said Pfohl. “He is a great coach and an even better person.” 

Coach Bray has left his mark on the Trumbull High community and many people in it. He is one of the most kind hearted people you will ever meet and just wants to make a difference in his students and players lives, and it is pretty evident that he has. When the day comes for Coach Bray to leave, it’ll definitely be a sad one. Coach Bray said, “When my players come back and visit me, being able to see their success and know that I played a part in it, is the most rewarding part of coaching. That’s what it’s all about.”

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