COVINGTON, Ga. - The Brent Wren foundation will impact a few former Eastside basketball players at the Eagles match with the Alcovy Tigers this weekend, and the founders of this foundation hope to build on that impact.
Talk to anyone about the impact Wren had on people's lives and nothing but gratitude and praise will be showered on the Eagles' late coach. However, Wren was more than just a coach; he seems to have been a mentor and father figure to many of the young people he came in contact with throughout his time as a teacher.
Wren's wife, Chansley, is also in the education field and knows the importance that Wren placed on basketball and education. He worked at Clements middle school, Liberty middle school and Eastside high school, and his love for each of those schools and their basketball programs was always present.
"Basketball was the major driving force, and he really wanted to change lives through that sport, and that was a part of his life mission and his life's work," Chansley said. "My husband was passionate about his program at Eastside high school. He was actually passionate about all his programs."
Chansley went on to mention that her husband frequently made himself available to pick kids up and drive them to and from practice or help them with school work. No request was never too much as he wanted to see his guys thrive and grow under his watch.
With his love for the game and his student-athletes as a driving force in his life, She believed that the perfect way to honor him was to help grow and contribute to the future basketball and education of student-athletes in the Newton County area.
"To honor him, a part of what he believed in was education and not that you have to go to a four-year school, some form of education is important. He hounded on that, even if you don't get a basketball scholarship, still go to school," Chansley Wren said. "This scholarship is to give them some form of a start. The first set of scholarships are going to the senior boys' basketball players that he mentored last year.
Eagles' current boys head coach Michael Gerald believes this is the perfect way to honor Wren as it is a testament to the way that he lived his life every day.
"He was just caring, and he cared for them outside of just basketball. I think this just shows his selflessness that this is going to continue through his family with his legacy being that he always was a giving person," Gerald said. "They want to show these kids that they care about them beyond what they did for him in his presence, and it's remarkable that they are able to do this so early."
This Saturday, Dec. 7th before the Eagles game against the Alcovy Tigers, the five seniors from last year's Eagles boys team that are currently attending college will be awarded $500 between the girls and boys games.
Although these five former Eastside athletes are being awarded these scholarships, Chansley Wren hopes that through donors and others contributing that the number of people awarded can continue to grow with Wren's legacy.
"I carry on his mission and his life's work by making sure that these students get something to give them a start on their path in education," Chansley Wren said. "So not only do we want this at Eastside, but we want to extend to Alcovy and Newton. I know we're doing just boys basketball, but we, of course, want to extend this to girls basketball and other sports as well."
She knows to make this sort of impact happen, more contributions will need to be made, and she's already planning another annual event to honor her late husband. The "B.Wren Classic" is a basketball tournament that is in the works to do just that and could bring more donations to the foundation, which will bring more scholarships to local student-athletes.
The money that was raised for the first set of students that are being awarded came from donations to help Mr. Wren throughout his battle with cancer. After he sadly lost his fight, his wife still saw that the Brent Wren foundation could make an outstanding impact.
A vast number of donations helped get this foundation started, with important contributions from Dwayne Ward and Angikita Sims, who produced the Wren Strong t-shirts and Joey Bandoo of Joey B. Studios, who helped establish the website Wrenstrong.com. Those t-shirts can still be purchased, and donations can be made on that website today.
Chansley Wren was thankful for each and every person that helped donate to the foundation and hopes more donations and sponsors will join in the future for this outstanding cause.
This cause is one that the former Eagles head coach seemed to hold a strong belief in, and his student-first mentality is what had such a lasting impact. His impact will continue with this foundation as he continues to touch lives.
"My husband gave his life for his students on and off the court. He dedicated his life to making sure students were successful," said Chansley Wren. "To carry on the legacy, I want to help touch lives."