Charlie Brumfield

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Charlie Brumfield is a former player of both raquetball and paddleball. He was the star player sponsored by Leach Industries, which was, at the time, the top producer of rackets. Several rackets named for Brumfield, including the "Graphite Brumfield" were manufacturered under such an agreement. Brumfield also had his own athletic products brand, BrumStar, for a short period of time.

Brumfield was the top player on the men's racquetball tour in the 1970 era. He won four championships and dominated tournaments. In this period of time, racquetball was one of the largest grown leisure sports in America, allowing Brumfield to gain much notoriety for the times. Players could gain fame and high priced endorsement deals, as their names were widely recognized, even outside of racquetball. In a way, racquetball used to have the allure that professional tennis has now. Steve Keeley hails Charlie Brumfield as the fourth top racquetball player ever, after Swain, Hogan, and Monchik.

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Charlie Brumfield started a handball player but switched to paddleball in 1964 after a minor injury. Bud Muehleisen, who was the paddleball champion at the time, began to take notice, and they became friends for life. Brumfield won the NPA championships in 1969, ending Muehleisen's winning streak. This led to heavier focus on racquetball, when Muehleisen was promoting it in the western United States. In 1969, racquetball held its first championship. At this time, racquetball was viewed as amateur at best and not hailed professionally. In the championship, Muehleisen narrowly won against Brumfield during a highly contentious tie breaker. The friendly, though fierce, rivalry between the two players helped to build the sport into what it became in the 1970s and what it is today. After the sport became recognized professionally, Brumfield won the racquetball championship in 1972, the first ever professional championship.

Brumfield won two consecutive singles championships, in both 1972 and 1973, having won twenty consecutive tournaments, and then racked up two consecutive wins again in 1975 and 1976. His career continued the following decade. During the late 1970s, Marty Hogan was Brumfield's primary rival, which helped to build the interest in racquetball even further, and was even the main depiction of a popular 1978 painting by Leroy Neiman. Brumfield and Hogan earned fame and financial gains from the sport, and were the first players to do so. Their ability to earn endorsements outside the sport has gone unmatched in racquetball since. However, the ball got much faster after the early 1980s, which did not suit his style. He began to bow out of competition and his career halted.

Brumfield retired from professional racquetball in 1985 and found success as an attorney. He graduated from the University of San Diego Magna Cum Laude, majoring in business administration and economics. He then studied as law major at USD. He earned his education while playing racquetball professionally. At present, he works at Pure Bioscience in a San Diego suburb, El Cajon, CA. He holds a position as in-house council to the corporation. His son Conor also resides outside of San Diego. In his spare time, he is an avid golfer. He and Bud Muehleisen are still reported to be close friends.
 

Copyright Gary Moston 2009