The article below was published in The LOG, October 29, 1984, Volume 26, #2. Mr. Linfors was a senior at the time.
THE ‘FLYING MANATEE’ SPEAKS
Bob Linfors / Arts Editor
“But Coach, it’s raining. What about practice?”
“Come back in ten minutes. I’m being interviewed here. Now get out!”
Obviously disturbed by this open defiance, Mr. Steven O’Brien grabs the nearest stick and proceeds to hunt down the freshman cross-country runner until he escapes out of the classroom.
“Now,” he says, coming back, “Let’s get this thing started. Do you want the truth or should I lie and make it real interesting?”
He ponders the prospect for a moment.
“Jeez, these freshmen!” he sighs. “They keep me running, though.”
This is the basic essence of Coach O’Brien – colorfulness.
Mr. O’Brien (a.k.a. “OB” or the Human Manatee) was a graduate of Columbus in 1972. During his first stay at CCHS, he was taught by Mr. John Miller, Mrs. Nancy Husted, and the incredible Dr. Carter Burrus.
“Carter Burrus is amazing; I’ve raced him three times and I’ve never beat him. I probably never will.”
After his Columbus years, O’Brien headed for the famous Seminole country – Florida State University. There he earned a Bachelors of Arts in history and education degree.
Oddly enough though, from college he went into the restaurant business. He eventually was promoted to a managing position in a restaurant at a hotel in Coconut Grove. He decided, though he liked the job, it wasn’t right for him. That’s when he returned to Columbus.
Three years later he says, “Teaching is great. I don’t know if I’ll stay with it, but right now it’s what I want to do.”
Besides teaching at Columbus, O’Brien is the cross-country and track coach. He has done an exceptional job, especially with cross country. The year before O’Brien returned, the cross country team suffered a losing year. O’brine’s first year ended with the team having a 9-1 record. Plain fact. His second season, 1982-1983 resulted with a record of 6-3 (a bad year, according to “OB”). And last year they had an exceptional year 10-0 – not bad for three years. Yet he has even bigger hopes for this season.
“If we don’t go to state, something is definitely wrong.”
Is that being cocky?
No, just remember who said it.
Coach O’Brien has one more fan now.
That’s right, the coach tied the knot last December with some lucky lady.
“I’m now in the ranks of marriage,” the coach sighed with his trademark – rolling his eyes.
Another interesting thing about Mr. O’Brien is his penchant for decorating. His classroom is covered with posters and cut-out photographs showing everything from foreign countries to joggers to even manatees.
Coach O’Brien is certainly an interesting man.
“Just write that I’m a heckuva guy,” he concluded.
I do not know any one who would disagree.