91st Father-Son Dinner Celebrates Attitude & Perseverance

Brunswick School’s first Father-Son Dinner took place in 1934; on March 7, the storied, long-standing tradition marked its 91st anniversary with a gathering of more than 750 at Burke Field House.

Fathers, sons, and all in attendance were treated to inspiring, heartfelt messages by this year’s speakers.

Kevin Decker ’07, who played football at the University of New Hampshire and now serves as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Old Dominion University, was the 2024 Father-Son Dinner’s featured speaker.

Decker, who was an outstanding quarterback during his football career for the Bruins, leading them to three consecutive NEPSAC Class C championships (2003–2005) and four appearances in the NEPSAC final overall, shared several inspirational, thought-provoking messages rooted in the core values of attitude, effort, and accountability he follows daily in his coaching career.

He emphasized that attitude comes first.

“It sets the tone for everything that follows,” Decker said. “You know what controls it? You! It’s a choice: Your attitude is your choice.

“When adversity plays with your mind, do not let your mind play with you,” Decker continued. “Your ability to control your mind in what it perceives to be a negative situation and turn it into a positive situation is the most positive tool you can possess.”

Decker, who coached at Fordham University, Brown University, Montana State, and Brunswick, implored the young men in attendance to find their passion and vigorously pursue it.

“Whenever you find out what you are passionate about, build your life around it,” he said. “The ones who do that will be the ones most capable of attacking every day with a relentless pursuit, no matter the circumstance. Your vision of potential triumph chasing something you love will be greater than the tribulations.”

Decker, who was the CAA Offensive Player of the Year as a senior during his football career at New Hampshire, concluded with these words: “Attitudes are highly contagious. So truly ask yourselves: Is yours worth catching?”

Preceding Decker was student speaker Casey Quinson ’24. A senior, Quinson is a two-sport athlete who will continue his lacrosse career at Colgate University.

Quinson emphasized the significance of Brunswick’s motto: Courage, Honor, Truth.

“We will remember this motto for a lifetime,” said Quinson, a hockey and lacrosse captain. “It’s the backbone of our school and we strive to embody these values every day.”

He continued: “To me, being courageous at a place like Brunswick means having the willingness to try. It takes courage to try out for one of our highly competitive sports teams.”

“It takes courage to try your hand at something new and find your passion. It takes courage to be a good teammate and a good friend. The support system made up of our peers and coaches allows students at Brunswick to be courageous — courageous in ways that sometimes have nothing to do with playing a sport.”

“Every year, seniors who have never sung or performed before, sign up for the Winter Musical,” Quinson added. “To me, that’s courageous. It also takes courage to find your passion.”

Quinson also noted that “being an honorable student-athlete here means being accountable. It’s working for yourself to get better, but more importantly, for your teammates to get better.

“This is a competitive place. No one will ever deny that,” he said. “But we celebrate that competition and honor our efforts individually and as a team. We honor the shared commitment to get better at practice every day.”

He closed by again referring to the school’s motto.

“Our school motto is not Biggest, Fastest, Strongest. It’s Courage, Honor, Truth,” Quinson said. “Boys, be courageous and kind. Remember to be grateful to those who help us every single day, and show it.”

The evening began with Brunswick Head of School Tom Philip addressing the crowd. Philip spoke of the great success the sports teams and some of the school’s clubs have experienced this scholastic school year.

He also expressed his pleasure in being present for another Father-Son Dinner.

“This is one of our purest nights here at Brunswick School,” Philip said. “The evening’s significance comes from the bond that exists between a parent and a child, and in the case of an all-boys school, the role models, the inspiration, the example that fathers can be and are for their sons.”

He mentioned the important role sports play for students.

“Since our founding, Brunswick has taken sports seriously,” Philip noted. “But importantly, not so much in terms of competition, rather in terms of those essential lessons of life that only organized sports can teach — lessons of fortitude, teamwork, effort, persistence, and sportsmanship.”

Ron VanBelle, Brunswick’s Upper School Athletic Director, noted the impressive number of sports the school offers and participation level from the student body.

“Each academic year, we have about 100 coaches working with 60 interscholastic teams who play 720 athletic contests,” VanBelle said. “Two hundred and seventy games were played at the varsity level in the last 12 months. Our varsity teams ended up with over 210 wins this past year, putting our winning percentage at an impressive 78 percent.”

“When people look back on their athletic careers at all levels, it’s usually the relationships that they most cherish,” VanBelle continued. “Here at Brunswick, I feel that we do this part well. Our athletes and coaches are committed to their sport and to each other.”
To hear remarks by guest speaker Kevin Decker ’07 and student speaker Casey Quinson ’24, click on the video links below.




Brunswick School Greenwich, CT

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    Office: 203.625.5856

    Lower School
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    Office: 203.485.3670
  • Middle School
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    Office: 203.242.1202

    Pre School
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    Office: 203.485.3652

Main Phone: 203.625.5800
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