>>MIKE BRUSCHE IS A GUYANESE BASKETBALL STALWART
Originating from the mining town of Linden, Mike Brusche is more than deserving of a Medal of Service for his tireless contribution to the sport of basketball throughout the length and breath of Guyana.
After dominating the local scenes for the then Bristol Eagles either at the Point Guard or Shooting Guard position, Mike Brusche graduated to the international stage making his debut for British Guiana in 1965 against the powerful American Athletic Union Association Basketball Team in a three match series at the Queens College Auditorium. Although B.G. lost all three matches by wide margins, Mike demonstrated that he could handle the big stage.
Injuries prevented him from representing the national team the following year 1966 against Suriname Professional Club Yellow Birds. He played an integral role when Guyana won all its matches on the 1968 tour of Boa Vista, Brazil and he was the man calling plays when the Land of Many Waters won its first Triangular International Series. The Ronald Pickering led side humbled both Martinique and Trinidad & Tobago in February 1970 capturing the Republic Trophy, this series was played under lights at Parade ground.
The following year (1971) under the Presidency of Joseph Reds Perreira Guyana participated in the Region’s most prestigious tournament, the Central American Championship in Venezuela. The Guyana team only consisted of nine players with Hewley Henry acting as Player Coach. The national team left Caracas with victory only against Caricom rival Trinidad & Tobago. Mike Brusche had the best Guyanese aggregate.
The next time Guyana returned to the Central American Championship was (1973) in Puerto Rico on this occasion Mike Brusche took over the captaincy arm band from Pickering although the Reds Perreira Association provided warm up matches in the sense of a Goodwill tour to Suriname and two matches in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados which the national team won handsomely.
The Land of Many Waters failed to win a match in San Juan but Skipper Brusche was sensational becoming the first and to date the only Guyanese player to score over 100 points at a Central American Championship. He started with:
12 Points vs Mexico
6 Points vs Panama
23 Points vs Puerto Rico
20 Points vs Venezuela
8 Points vs Cuba
16 Points vs U.S Virgin Islands
16 Points vs Dominican Republic
He just missed out on replicating the feat at the (1975) Central American Championship in the Dominican Republic this time he had scores of:
20 Points vs Venezuela
12 Points vs Dominican Republic
22 Points vs Haiti
10 Points vs Puerto Rico
14 Points vs Suriname
8 Points vs Bahamas
8 Points vs El Salvador
In (1976) he dominated an International Goodwill Triangular Series in which Guyana lost to Suriname in the finals and played his last International Series against the mighty Cubans in a three match Series at the Sports Hall in (1977).
Although he was attached to the National Sports Council as Schools and Inter Guiana Games Coach during his playing days for his club Eagles and the national team, his first stint as Senior national Coach occurred late (1978) when he took Guyana to an International Triangular Series to Barbados, which also involved Trinidad & Tobago. He was Head Coach again in (1980) this time for another Triangular Series in Trinidad & Tobago and when Guyana hosted the Inaugural Caricom Championship he guided the Land of Many Waters to the Bronze Medal third position in August of (1981). His stay as National Coach continued the same year when Guyana was invited by the twin Island Republic to help them prepare for a trip to China.
Mike Brusche again was the man calling plays when Guyana participated at the second Caricom Championship in Jamaica (1982). His toughest assignment as national Coach was at the World Military Games in Paramaribo Suriname (1984) as Guyana competed against opponents from Israel, America, China, Italy and Japan.
The following year (1985) he was brought in as Hewley Henry’s Assistant at the Caricom Championship in Barbados. He returned as Head Coach for the 1986 Caricom Championship in Trinidad & Tobago and in 1988 he became the only man to coach Guyana at two Caricom Championships hosted by the land of Many Waters.
The last time he coached Guyana at an International Goodwill Series at home was December of (1989) against Barbados at the National Sports Hall. His farewell Caricom Championship as Head Coach was July 1991 in Jamaica making him the only man to call plays for the national team twice in Reggae Country the last time he coached Guyana was August of 1991 in an International Goodwill Series in Suriname.
Although he never refereed at the international level, he performed Yeoman Services at club, inter-ward and sub-associations, tournaments. He had such an influence on the sport that two younger siblings Clifton and James emulated their elder brother by turning out for the national team during the 70’s and 80’s.
Mike is still involved with basketball this time with the Guyana New York Veteran Association. Seniors Tours:
1968 Boa Vista, Brazil
1973 Suriname, Barbados and Puerto Rico
1975 Dominican Republic
1980 Trinidad & Tobago
1981 Trinidad & Tobago
1986 Trinidad & Tobago
1991 Jamaica and Suriname.
The only other Guyanese player to aggregate over eighty points at the Central American Championship Level is Melroy Fitzalbert, who finished the 1975 Championship in Dominica Republic with 90 points from 7 matches.