You'll find several definitions of the verb "tackle" in the dictionary. There's one where ropes and pulleys are involved. There's another about dealing with problems. And then there's the one that relates to football: to seize, to grapple, to stop an opponent.
One of the best in WPI football history at seizing, grappling, and stopping is Brian Learned. As a defensive back during his four-year career, Brian amassed 282 tackles, 18 pass breakups, 4 interceptions, and 14 tackles-for-loss.
But it was as a senior, when he served as a co-captain, that he put it all together. He was credited with an amazing 159 tackles in just 10 games-a single-season record still unbroken. Tackling statistics were not kept on a national basis back then, but undoubtedly he would have been listed among the top leaders in the country.
That same season, Brian accumulated 9 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, 9 tackles-for-loss, and 1 sack, which propelled him to many honors. He was named a Football Gazette Division III Second Team All-America. He was also named Football Gazette Division III First Team All-East, First Team All-ECAC, First Team All-New England, First Team All-Freedom Football Conference, and First Team All-Worcester Area Football Coaches Association.
And there was more. He was named GTE/CoSIDA District I Academic All-America; he was a Robbins/ECAC Scholar-Athlete; and he won the Burger King College Football Scholar Athlete Award. He also won the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award within the Central Massachusetts Chapter.
In 1995, as a junior, Brian totalled 89 tackles, captured a prestigious Gold Helmet Award from the New England Football Writers Association, and won WPI's Robert Pritchard Award for his outstanding Homecoming game performance.
On campus, he was a member of Skull and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, where he served as rush chairman in 1995. He won the Varsity Club Award-WPI's top senior athletic award-in 1997.
For his superb achievements, it is with great pride that WPI inducts Brian C. Learned into its Athletic Hall of Fame.