Brush High School alum Roy Hall helps lay building blocks for his hometown community
Tyrie Liddell appeared nervous.
An eighth grader at Memorial junior high in the Brush school district, Liddell had just taken first place in the SELebrate Moms 5K road race, sponsored by the South Euclid-Lyndhurst school district.
He was the champ.
But Liddell fidgeted back and forth standing before Roy Hall, a legendary multi-sport athlete in the early 2000s from Brush who went on to play football at Ohio State and in the NFL.
Hall smiled, probably because he knew what Liddell was thinking and feeling. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that he was a junior high-schooler in awe of those who came through the school before him.
“You took first?” said Hall, with Liddell nodding in affirmation.
“I took second,” Hall joked with the youngster, adding some levity to the moment.
When Liddell told him he ran the 5K race in 20:28, Hall lightened the mood a little more.
“I ran a 20:29,” Hall said.
Again the boy smiled.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Hall patted Liddell on the shoulder and said, “good job.”
As the two parted ways, Liddell did so with an ear-to-ear grin on his face.
That, folks, is a prime example of how one lays a building block in his community.
It’s been 16 years since Roy Hall hauled in a touchdown pass at Korb Field. Many, if not most, of the school district’s student athletes weren’t even born the last time Hall donned the brown and gold.
But the legend of Hall lives on in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst district. And that was a big reason why Hall returned to his hometown on May 13 for the second annual road race that raises money for needs throughout the school district.
Hall was a center of attention all morning. With his mother Sonya standing nearby, he gave a moving pre-race speech to those who were about to run the 5K or walk the one-mile walking portion of the race. He spoke of the importance of mothers as role models, his own mother raising two children by herself while working multiple jobs to make ends meet.
And he accentuated giving back to the community.
When the race started, many took off from the starting line with smiles on their faces.
“You don’t have to play in the NFL to come back and have a big impact on kids, the community or the school,” said Brush athletic director Mike Murphy. “You might be that engineer down the road who can do that. Hopefully everybody sees that and is willing to give back to the school.”
A lot has changed at Brush since Hall was making plays on the football field and on the basketball court. He glowed about the campus he used to call home, and he noticed many of the teachers who were newcomers to the district are holding higher positions in the school district’s administration.
Being part of a race to help raise money for the school that is part of his foundation as a human being was important to him.
“It’s a phenomenal experience to position yourself to help someone else,” he said.
Although the event raised money for the school, mothers were celebrated throughout the morning in a race that was held the day before Mother’s Day.
Brush football coach Jeff Fink walked the one-mile course arm-in-arm with his wife C.J.
After Liddell kicked past the competition down the stretch to take first place in the 5K, he said, “I went out there today and ran for my mom to support her for Mother’s Day.”
More than a few eyes became misty seeing Hall’s mother, Sonya, walking with the mother of Alec Kornet, the high school hockey player who passed away this past season.
The South Euclid-Lyndhurst school district benefitted financially from the SELelebrate Moms 5K on May 13. But the building blocks laid via the community involvement might far outweigh the dollars and cents figure.
That is why Roy Hall came back.
And why he said he is proud to be a Brush Arc all these years later.
“If you don’t have people around doing different things to come together for one common goal, nobody will have success,” Hall said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Kampf can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @NHPreps