Two decades after his time at Baylor, Doug Brandt, BSA ’97, makes his way back to Waco about once a year, usually taking in a football game.
This January, however, Brandt and his family attended a men’s basketball game at the Ferrell Center, the arena in which he played while becoming Baylor’s first three-time Academic All-American (1995-97).
“I had a great all-around college experience at Baylor,” Brandt says. “Some of my closest friends to this day are people I met during Welcome Week my freshman year. I made friends and connections — athletically and academically — that were good peers and role models for me.”
Brandt was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and his family moved to Hastings, Nebraska — the birthplace of Kool-Aid — when he was 12. He led Hastings High to the 1992 Nebraska Class A championship game in basketball, earned all-conference honors in football and was a state qualifier in track. Brandt was inducted to the school’s athletics hall of fame in 2017.
After visits to Loyola Marymount University in California, the University of Montana, Creighton University in Omaha, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Brandt decided Baylor was his best fit.
“Baylor was a good mix of a great school in a great conference,” Brandt says. “And, Baylor had a good reputation for matching pre-med students with medical schools. It all added up to make it the right decision.”
Brandt was an All-Big 12 Conference selection as a senior in 1997. He averaged double figures in scoring in all four of his collegiate seasons, one of only six players in program history to accomplish the feat. Brandt remains 14th on Baylor’s career scoring list (1,263 points) and ninth in career rebounds (726). Only Curtis Jerrells (119) has more career starts in a Baylor uniform than Brandt (108).
All this came as a pre-med student, majoring in aviation science and minoring in biology. Brandt believes there were benefits to the pressures of being a student-athlete at an academically challenging school.
“Some people tend to float in college. They go from a structured environment at home to having all this time on their own and having to figure it out,” he says. “Being involved in high-level athletics keeps you focused and helps you develop skills you need to succeed athletically; that carries over to every aspect of your life.”
Brandt deferred medical school after graduation to pursue a professional basketball career. After a brief stint with the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets, he played in France and Italy before joining the Continental Basketball Association’s Grand Rapids [Michigan] Hoops.
After retiring from professional basketball in 2002, Brandt attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. From there, he was matched into a radiology program at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
“I’m not sure anyone starts medical school wanting to be a radiologist,” Brandt says with a smile. “Who wants to sit in a dark room and look at a computer all day? But I fell in love with radiology because of the technology and its cutting-edge nature; it’s the way medicine is going.”
As they were nearing the end of their time at Mayo, Brandt and three fellow radiology residents put together a proposal for the Kingman [Arizona] Regional Medical Center, which was looking to overhaul its radiology department.
“It’s almost an unheard-of thing for a hospital to say OK to an entire group of new graduates,” Brandt says. “Sometimes it’s easier to plug into a system that’s already working great. It was difficult at first to practice radiology, run the business and manage the radiology department all at the same time. It’s been an unmitigated success, growing this practice how we wanted to see it grow.”
Brandt says what he learned about teamwork and leadership as an athlete has proven invaluable in his professional life.
“The higher level you play, the more that [teamwork and leadership] is ingrained into you because the team has to be successful,” he says. “You learn how to get along with people, how to work with people you like and people you don’t like to have a successful team. I use that every day.”
While playing in France, Brandt met his wife Delphine, a native of Vichy. The couple have three daughters: Leona, 16, Josephine, 13, and Clara, 8.
“Delphine jokes that I took her from France to Dallas, and that was OK. Then to Rochester, Minnesota, and that wasn’t quite as good, and then to Kingman, Arizona,” Brandt says playfully. “But Kingman is a great place to raise a family. We’ve been able to make a difference in this hospital and in this community. We’re proud of that, and we’d like to keep it going.”