A Tribute to Brian Counsilman

By Dave Tanner

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana, July 8. BRIAN Edward Counsilman, January 20, 1956 – June 28, 2005.

Brian Counsilman, 49, suffered heart failure while swimming at the Counsilman/Billingsley Aquatic Center on the campus of Indiana University and died at Bloomington Hospital.

Brian was the youngest of four children born to Marge and James "Doc" Counsilman. He is survived by his mother of Bloomington and two sisters, Kathy Bonner of Nashville, IN and Jill Morris of Long Island, NY. He was preceded in death by his brother Jim in 1973 and his father in 2004.

Born in Philadelphia but raised in Bloomington, Brian graduated from Bloomington High School North in 1974. He participated in football and swimming, played french horn in the band and gave an excellent portrayal of King Henry VIII in the school play.

He attended the University of Cincinnati briefly to study drama, and then finished an undergraduate degree in physical education at Indiana University, followed by a masters degree in exercise physiology from IU.

Like his father, he coached swimming, serving as Indiana's assistant coach from 1982 to 1990. He was a faithful companion to his parents, helping them with research and writing projects while absorbing Doc's knowledge.

Brian mastered all aspects of swimming biomechanics, psychology, and physiology, with a special interest in training theory. He shared what he learned by giving lectures to IU classes and by writing numerous articles and a book, "The New Science of Swimming," co-authored with his father. Brian also coached swimming in Boston and at Perry Meridian High School.

He was currently completing a degree in computer electronics from Ivy Tech. Brian had many interests beside swimming. He loved music of all kinds and was proficient at playing many instruments. He collected exotic drums, flutes, and stringed instruments. He loved animals, especially cats. He was an expert cook, specializing in soups and sauces. He enjoyed riding his Vulcan motorcycle around Bloomington. His library was filled with books on sports, travel, humor, World War II history, electronics and Buddhism.

He had a keen intellect and could be described as an eclectic polymath. During the last year of his life Brian coached the boys' swim team at Bloomington High School North. He loved working with the boys and they loved him. They often respectively referred to him as "the gentle giant."

Brian Counsilman was a unique individual who lived life on his own terms, a kind and gentle, peaceful man. We were blessed to have him with us and he will be missed by all.

Memorial donations can be made in Brian's name to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, 2221 E. Ashboro Rd, Center Point, IN 47840. He loved the big cats there and they recognized him as a man-lion.