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The Brooks Beisner File
Birthdate: Feb. 5, 1990 (23)
Parents: Bryan and Amy Beisner.
Siblings: Coleen, 20, Janhea, 18, Marisa, 15, Shelby, 10, Garret, 7.
Size: 6-foot-1, 229
Hometown: Punta Gorda (Charlotte High)
Before FGCU: Batted .244 with two HRs, seven doubles, 10 RBIs at Auburn as a junior; At St. Petersburg (junior) College, batted .320 with six HRs and 49 RBIs as a sophomore and hit .330 with four HRs and 42 RBIs as a freshman.
ESTERO — Brooks Beisner wanted to go home.
Florida Gulf Coast University was close enough and its baseball coach was like family.
Beisner, 23, had finished his junior season — and first at Auburn — when then third-year Tigers coach John Pawlowski called him in to tell him he couldn’t cut it in the Southeastern Conference.
Beisner played in 46 games, starting 23, in the outfield and had batted .244 with two home runs, seven doubles, 10 RBIs and 14 runs scored. In his last at-bat, his only in the 2011 SEC tournament elimination game loss against George, he mashed a single.
“We kind of butted heads,” Beisner said. “He told me at the end of the year I basically wasn’t good enough.”
With his Auburn scholarship cut to next to nothing, the “Yes, Sir/No, Sir” player had an obvious solution.
Beisner turned to FGCU coach Dave Tollett, a family friend and former high school teammate of his father, Bryan. Tollett and Bryan Beisner were running buddies in Punta Gorda, played youth baseball together and starred on a Charlotte High team that went to the state championship in 1982. They were known as crazy-competitive and intense.
Tollett first saw Brooks Beisner when he was four days old and watched him grow up on Charlotte High’s fields.
The Beisners watched Tollett’s success at FGCU — a program that’s aiming for its fourth Atlantic Sun regular-season title in six Division I seasons and has produced players like Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale, an American League All-Star last season.
“My dad said, ‘You know Toe, and his program’s a winner,’” Beisner said. “I heard there was a laundry list of schools (interested in him), but I didn’t even look at them.
“I trust Toe with everything.”
That trust has paid off for both parties. Beisner, who plays the outfield and first base, is second on the team in home runs (5), slugging percentage (.460) and RBIs (36) and is third in batting average (.313).
Beisner showed during a stunning three-game sweep of Florida in Gainesville earlier in the season that he had SEC talent. The 6-foot-1, 229-pounder went 6-for-12 with two home runs, two doubles and six RBIs to notch the A-Sun Player of the Week award.
“He’s been great hitting behind (Sean) Dwyer,” Tollett said. “Dwyer’s seeing a lot better pitches. It’s been good for our whole team. He can really swing the bat. Boy, he’s been tremendous for us to have in our lineup. He’s really made a difference.”
Beisner had never played for a winning team (Auburn was 29-29 in 2011) but now starts every game for FGCU (30-16, 14-7 in A-Sun through Saturday), which is in the hunt for another A-Sun title.
Tollett tried to snag Brooks Beisner after his game blew up at St. Petersburg (junior) College. But he understood when Beisner selected Auburn.
Bryan Beisner kept Tollett up on what was happening with his son and the Auburn coach.
“It was just one of those things big schools do, decide to take money from kids,” Tollett said. “He tried to appeal it, went through every avenue.”
Bryan Beisner said Auburn didn’t see Brooks’ potential
“They just didn’t see it, you know?” Bryan Beisner said. “I trusted that program, and they just totally screwed him.”
After failing to reach satisfaction at Auburn, Beisner decided to take the high — and long — road, transferring to FGCU, where he had to sit out all last season.
“Most people don’t do that, they just go back and play,” Tollett said. “But Brooks fought it and lost and decided he didn’t want to be there.”
At FGCU, Beisner went to work, hitting the weight room and thousands of balls in the batting cages. He was floored by his improvement.
“I don’t think I ever worked that hard in my life,” Beisner said. “I knew coach produced winners, and I wanted to make sure my last year was the best it could be. And I wanted to win.
“I knew that everyone who came here to play ball has always gotten better. At Auburn, I was good then, but I never really got better. I plateaued. It was a different kind of style. Here, with the way practice is and everything, you’re forced to get better.”
These days, no one questions Beisner’s talent. In fact, the Eagles have dubbed him, “The Answer.”
“He’s a key guy, a big team leader,” said FGCU senior catcher Mike Reeves. “When he had to sit out last year, you could tell he was really itching to play. Now that he’s in the lineup, it does a lot of things for us. You put a serious power threat in your lineup and take out a guy who might’ve been hitting .220.”
Bryan Beisner and his brother Chris both played baseball in college and attend as many FGCU games as they can. They love the fact that Brooks is finding success near home.
“He’s in a good spot,” Bryan Beisner said. “These kids are golden here. These kids fight for each other on the field. They get after it. They get along great.
“It’s a lot different from the bigger schools.”