If ever there was a pure-strain Coloradoan qualified for induction into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, that man would be C.A. “Chuck” Bresnahan. Bresnahan was born in Colorado (Greeley), reared in Colorado, competed with great distinction in sports in Colorado, coached in Colorado, officiated in three sports in Colorado and became a businessman in Colorado.
Bresnahan was one of the rare individuals whose athletic career qualifies him in two separate ways: first, as probably the most all-around, versatile athlete in the history of Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University.) Second, for most of his thirty-year career of officiating high school and college football and basketball games in Colorado. Bresnahan was the most outstanding referee in the state.
The late Harry Hughes, legendary coach at Colorado A&M and a member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, called Bresnahan “the best all-around athlete I ever coached.”
Bresnahan was born November 2, 1899, on a farm near Greeley where his parents were hard-working farmers who worked the land on a 160-acre farm. Chuck attended a two-room country school before attending Greeley High School, where he launched his outstanding athletic career as a 5’1″, 160-pounder who starred in football, basketball, track and baseball. From there it was on to Colorado A&M where he became the only athlete to letter in four sports in the same school year and went onto become the school’s only 12-letter winner.
By the time he was a 180 pounder, he was excelling as a pass-catching end, a defensive safety and a running back. As a baseball player, he was an outstanding catcher and outfielder, led his team in batting average every year and was a home-run hitter. After graduation, while coaching at Eaton, he signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox organization. In college, he captained three of his teams, was student body president, and All-Rocky Mountain Conference in three sports.
With all due respect to his athletic prowess, Bresnahan was even better known for his officiating. He refereed for every bowl game in which a Colorado collegiate football team played during his thirty years as an official. He was one of the creators of the first organized basketball and football officials’ association in Colorado, and officiated in virtually every major football and basketball event in Colorado for his entire career. For ten years, he also umpired college baseball games in Colorado.
In the business world, Bresnahan received numerous honors for “outstanding service in the field of real estate for over thirty years.” He was known as the dean of real estate appraisers within the Rocky Mountain area.
Bresnahan married his college sweetheart, Mary Agnes Jones and had one daughter.
The best all-around athlete I ever coached.