Brandon Grass '04
After attending FRA for thirteen years and still being involved in the life of the school today as a coach, I see that FRA has remained dedicated to developing kids as a whole, not only athletically or academically but spiritually as well. There is a focus on developing well-rounded people and helping kids grow in all aspects of who they are. FRA's emphasis on faith is as strong as ever and has been the foundation of their work. I owe so much of who I am today to the principles instilled in me throughout my time at FRA.
In 2016, I started as the pole vault coach at FRA for the track and field team. Working alongside Coach Tucker, who continues to be my most influential coaching mentor, has been such an honor. The opportunity to coach has allowed me to bear the fruit that FRA instilled in me throughout the years.
I think back to moments in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, wrestling, choir, track, and theater that helped shape me into the individual I am today. I had the chance to be a part of the life of this place, and the small moments mattered.
Ms. Jewell had a significant impact on my life in the fine and performing arts department. She challenged me and created a family-like environment for students on this campus. Coach Tucker taught me some of life’s most essential lessons, teaching me that what I did in high school was making a small deposit for the rest of my life. He would encourage me to live my daily life with humility and love for the big deposit in the end—a life of meaning. I coach because I want to pay it forward and pour into kids the same way the teachers and programs shaped me. Twenty years later, the mentors I had on this campus still impact me daily.
Over the past six years, I’ve coached six outdoor State Champion pole vaulters, two indoor State Champion pole vaulters, one indoor pole vaulter who set the State Championship record, and numerous other successful athletes who have continued their careers at the collegiate level.
Last season, I experienced one of my favorite coaching moments of my life. I was standing in the rain, celebrating with Coach Tucker after our track and field team won the State Championship meet. It was a simple moment, but I was overcome with joy as I celebrated this win with the person who had poured so much into my life and deserved recognition for his dedication. In this moment, I saw the full-circle impact of the mission of FRA.
The school's mission is behind everything FRA does and is a big part of the reason I started coaching. FRA develops well-rounded members of society and encourages students to be the best version of themselves. My experiences at FRA prepared me with a heart to coach, and now I want to develop not only myself but the future leaders in this community.
I genuinely believe I'm a better coach because of the faculty and staff members I had during my time at FRA. My teachers brought something different to the table that helped me grow into who I am and challenged me academically, emotionally, and spiritually. It has always stayed with me.
There was a deeper meaning and focus behind our conversations. And today, I continue to treat each moment and conversation as an opportunity to help students grow and build a strong foundation for their continued success.
Over the years, everything has grown and improved at FRA, whether it be the physical campus, the student body, athletics, or facilities. The unique community of students and families that come out of FRA is ready to contribute to their college, society, and the world. I am honored to have graduated from a place that is always looking for the better.
The way FRA has continued to grow, improve, move forward, and become an anchor in the Nashville community and beyond makes all FRA alumni proud. And while much has changed at the school, I'm proud to know that FRA continues to develop the best families and students for our day, producing outstanding leaders grounded in faith.
Brandon graduated from FRA in 2004 and was a member of the 12-Year Club. In high school, he wrestled and ran track. He was a member of three State Championship track teams, won an individual State Championship title in pole vault in 2003, and was named to the All-Midstate Track and Field Team in 2003. He was also in the vocal ensemble and participated in the theater program.
After graduating from FRA, Brandon attended Belmont University, where he ran track, earned his bachelor's degree in business administration, and received his doctorate in physical therapy in 2013. In addition to being a physical therapist and coaching at FRA, Brandon has operated a club track team since 2008. Brandon and his wife, Laura, have three children, Caroline, Walt, and James.