Sport fans in Albuquerque are grateful to the Pennsylvania city of DuBois for a couple of good reasons. The reasons are a pair of young athletes who had much to do with raising the athletic stature of the University of New Mexico. Those two men are Sam Suplizio and Jim Bruening.
A quote from Bruening taken from the Mirage "I wasn't sure where New Mexico was located, but I knew that I could not afford to pass up that kind of a scholarship. Sam and I headed out to New Mexico for a great adventure in the Land of Enchantment."
Bruening lettered in football from 1951-53, and was elected captain as a senior. He earned honorable mention All-American in 1952 and honorable mention All-Skyline Conference in 1953. Because of Bruening and his stalwart teammates, the Lobos finished 7-2 and allowed just 46 points all season.
A student leader, Bruening was elected Student Body President in 1955. He was named Outstanding Senior Man on Honor's Day in 1955. That same year, he was appointed Assistant Dean of Men at UNM. In 1957, Bruening was invited back to UNM to make a plea for funding of the proposed Alumni Memorial Chapel by President Tom Popejoy. The Alumni Memorial Chapel is in existence today because of Jim's efforts.
Chuck Koskovich stated, "Not only did Jim direct his passion in the service of his football life as a member of the great 1952 football team, he subsequently directed his life-long passion in the service of God as a ordained Minister serving congregations in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. He did this with a passion that reflected his love for his fellow man."
"The university would be challenged to find any graduate in its history that has better represented the University of New Mexico, not only as an athlete, student leader, but as a contributing citizen to the community," said former teammate Dave Matthews.
Fellow teammate and Hall of Honor inductee Sam Suplizio said, "All of his teammates and classmates who know Jim Bruening from his years at UNM and who have followed his professional life as an exceptional minister, theologian, servant of god, and of people for over 40 years, know that he is a very special human being."