Glenn Dale Brasel was born the 18th of March 1890, in Cartter, Marion County, IL, south of Salem, son of John B. and Elizabeth (Huff) Brasel. While in college, Brasel’s education was interrupted by World War I, leaving college to serve two years in France before continuing his education.
Brasel graduated in 1920 from Southern Illinois Teachers College, now Southern Illinois University, with a degree in Industrual Arts. His first teaching experience was in the town of Casey where he taught industrial arts and coached for two years. During his time in Casey, Brasel found the perfect woman for himself, Irene See, and married her on the 6th of April 1921.
His coming to Hoopeston was purely an accident, literally. Brasel and his wife Irene were in a minor accident on “dead man’s curve” on Route 1 north of Hoopeston in 1922 and were brought to Hoopeston for treatment. Brasel was impressed with the town and decided to see if Hoopeston need an industrial arts teacher and coach. The answer Brasel received back was a definite “yes” and he was hired for $1,500.00 a year.
It was during Brasel’s tenure that the Cornjerker name became a household word for the team. Many of the young men on his team were from farm families and helped with harvest, jerking corn in the fields by hand since there was no pickers in the 1920s. When there was a game, sometimes the buses had to wait until the boys were done jerking corn in the fields in order to leave for the game.
Bob Poisall, a sports writer for the Commercial-News in Danville, was credited with creating the title for the team. Poisall was riding the buses with the team and in exasperation after one long wait, he told the team they would never get anywhere because they “were just a bunch of cornjerkers.” Brasel evidently liked the name and from that point on the teams were called the Hoopeston Cornjerkers.
After Brasel retired from coaching, he remained at the high school teaching industrial arts until 1951 when he retired again. Brasel served on the Hoopeston city council for 20 years until he retired from the council in 1967 and while his teaching ended in 1951, Brasel continued to work with juveniles as the Vermilion County assistant probation/truant officer for eight of those years.
In 1978, Brasel along with sixteen other coaches were inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame on April 15, 1978 at Champaign. His record as a football coach was 162 wins, 36 losses, and 11 ties in his 24 years of coaching. He was known as “Hoopeston’s winningest coach” and his basketball team captured eight regional titles and one sectional giving him a win record of 87%, according to one article written about him.
Since lighting and playing facilities were becoming obsolete at Honeywell Field, where football games were played in the 30s to 60s, a new football field was planned by the Hoopeston Boosters Club. Money was raised for the project through donations from local people, businesses and alumni until the field became a reality. In 1965 the Hoopeston High School field completed, Glenn Brasel was honored with a sign over the field that read “Glenn Brasel Field” honoring him for his dedication as a coach and as the respected person the town admired.
Coach Glenn Brasel passed away the 27th of December 1979 in Hoopeston and is buried at Mann’s Chapel Cemetery in Rossville.