Sports Volunteer of the Month: Dr. Dan Brennan


Pacific Western Bank in Santa Barbara

This monthly series is made possible by Pacific Western Bank

Volunteers often go under-recognized even though they are extremely important to the athletic community.

So important that many of the sporting events and organizations key to our lives wouldn’t be possible without those who donate their time to assist others.

Presidio Sports and Pacific Western Bank have joined forces to change that. This new monthly spotlight series is our way of thanking those that selflessly give themselves for the benefit of many.

To all volunteers making a difference, we salute you.

Dr. Dan Brennan

Dr. Dan Brennan is a local pediatrician who volunteers with a variety of local sports organizations.

For his complete dedication, quiet commitment and expansive leadership in serving local youth in nearly all phases of his life, Dr. Dan Brennan is named Volunteer of the Month for January 2013.

On the personal side, he’s logged countless hours as a multi-sport (soccer, baseball, hoops) coach, an American Youth Soccer Organization boys double division administrator, a Dos Pueblos Little League vice president, and a Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable board member.

On the professional side, he’s a devoted Sansum Clinic pediatrician (since 2001) with a bustling practice focused on caring for children and their families.

It all adds up to a labor of love, and a truly unique way of giving back in appreciation for those who’ve had a positive impact in helping him and his young family – wife, Yael and their three active sons: Josh (8), Andy (5) and Matt (2).

Speaking of practice, there’s no place in the world he’d rather be than coaching on the practice field with his young sons and their friends.

“If I could make a living just doing that, it would be incredible,” he quips.

“But, seriously, I just want everyone to have a positive experience. Plus, it’s great bonding time with my kids, their friends and their families.”

DPLL practice

Dan warms up his infielders before a DPLL All-Stars game last summer.

It all started when registering Josh for AYSO – Brennan signed up as his coach. His own soccer playing days as a San Marcos Royal would serve him well here.

On deck was t-ball with Dos Pueblos Little League (later followed by All Stars & Slugger club baseball).

Then coaching Josh in basketball at “The Y.”

AYSO Region 122 (serving 3,000 kids from Goleta, SB & Montecito) Administrator John Maloney soon tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he could lead the Boys U5 & U6 Divisions — coordinating nearly 75 teams and 500 kids — mostly first time athletes.

And many first time coaches.

Brennan enthusiastically jumped in headfirst and now spends a good portion of his summer preparing for AYSO’s fall soccer season – and loves it!

“Dan has been the AYSO Division Administrator for five years now,” says Maloney. “Because he knows many of the families from other sports, and because of his knowledge of child development, he has done an excellent job forming teams and managing coaches. He continues to make our boys’ first soccer experience a fun and exciting one.”

DPLL also noticed something special here – asked him to serve on their board – and he’s hit a grand slam here beyond his coaching.

With his total immersion in youth sports, “Dr. Dan” also serves the community in a larger, grander way — as a seasoned medical professional who truly understands player development, and who also helps mend the athletic bruises and sports injuries of these young warriors.

He’s a local expert on childhood health and nutrition, who furthered as a wonderfully invaluable community resource for young families looking for the right opportunity to introduce their child(ren) to team sports.

“As a board member, and a pediatrician, Dan has a unique perspective on our youngest children,” adds Maloney. “His advice has been instrumental to many of the decisions we have made to promote developing soccer players in the Santa Barbara area.”

“In addition to all these extra-curricular community activities, Dan is a terrific doctor and a wonderful quarterback for the healthcare of many local children.”

 ~ Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, Sansum Clinic CEO and Chief Medical Officer

And for Brennan, well, it all comes with the territory…

And what a territory it is!

He says that he was very fortunate to grow up here in a loving home — his dad, Bernie, was a well-known and well-liked Santa Barbara City College chemistry professor for 30 years prior to his recent retirement; and his mom Mary, also retired, was a longtime local elementary school teacher.

Both parents instilled confidence and placed a strong emphasis on education.

It all produced three loving, well-rounded, and grounded offspring who are landing solidly in the field of medicine.

DPLL All-Star Team

Dan and assistant coach Jeff Greaney with their Sluggers Club Team. (Baseball photos courtesy of Scott Craig)

Brennan’s brother, Rob, is a local endodontist; and sister, Sarah is just starting her residency – she’ll soon be a pediatrician, too.

“I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a pediatrician,” says Dr. Dan.

“Growing up, Dr. Kolendrianos became a great mentor and friend. He used to kid me back then that I would be his replacement when he retired. He’s now my Sansum partner and there’s nothing better than practicing pediatrics with your own childhood doc!” Brennan smiles.

During his Albany (NY) Medical Center studies and later residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, returning to Santa Barbara was always the ultimate goal for him and Yael — who actually lived “only 10 houses down” while they were growing up.

“She was friends with my younger brother,” Brennan shares. “And her dad, ironically, was a pediatrician. Regrettably, he passed away before I could meet him.”

While Yael was attending UCSB, it was a chance meeting that would align their life course.

Dan was taking a break from his UCLA medical studies at UCSB’s library when he decided to stroll through campus.

Yael recognized him as he walked by… they ended up talking for three hours …. and the rest, as they say, is history. (They married at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 1998.)

Timing, as they both say, is everything!

Similar to sports, which has always been an important part of Brennan’s quest for maintaining a healthy balance in life.

He has always loved tennis and running, having completed three marathons in a quick two-year span.

And about this award recognition?

“It’s really cool but I feel alittle embarrassed,” Brennan says. “There are a lot of people doing the work and I know others deserve it. I’m just doing what I love to do.”

“Dan always comes to the soccer fields with a smile on his face and a bag of soccer balls over his shoulder,” says Maloney. “He is one of our super volunteers who makes playing soccer so much fun.”

And from SBART President Rich Hanna:

“In a very short time on the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable board, Dan has brought a passion for local sports and the positive benefits of sports participation, to the larger athletic community.”

“I think Santa Barbara is lucky to have someone like Dan,” shares Tom Hastings, Brennan’s close pal, coaching colleague, fellow SBART board member and UCSB’s deputy director of athletics.

“Not only does he care for kids as a profession, but he does it in his free time, as well. He coaches baseball, basketball, soccer; he volunteers on a number of boards. I’m sure if he had more time, he’d find more ways to give back. He is someone who actually does more than talk about being involved — he is immersed in it,” Hasting adds.

Safe to say our inaugural 2013 Volunteer of the Month honoree has come full circle in pursing his career aspirations – his life passions – and in making a very positive community impact in his outstanding commitment to helping kids and families and in giving back to others.

Dr. Dan Brennan truly is living his dream.

Right where he wants to be.

Right here at home!

Dan and his family at spring training in Arizona

Dan and his family at spring training in Arizona