October 22, 2020

Tristan Brown wins prestigious Positive Athlete Award

Tristan Brown with legendary Georgia Bulldog and Pittsburgh Steeler star Hines Ward during Tuesday's ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta

Tristan Brown with legendary Georgia Bulldog and Pittsburgh Steeler star Hines Ward during Tuesday’s ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta

(Atlanta, GA) — A recent graduate of Heard County High School has been named a Georgia Positive Athlete Award winner.

Senior Tristan Brown is one of only 30 student athletes to receive the statewide honor sponsored by Positive Athlete Georgia, a subsidiary of Celebrate Positive LLC, which promotes the benefits of positivity to young athletes around the world.

The third annual Georgia Positive Athlete Awards ceremony was presented Tuesday evening by The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-a Fan Experience. Tristan was selected as the baseball honoree for the entire state of Georgia.

Tristan was the starting catcher on this year’s Braves baseball team that reached the state quarterfinals. The 18-year-old moved to Heard County for his sophomore year and has spent the last three years playing for Coach Trent Bianco.

More than 3,400 students were nominated this year by coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers and parents from around the state.

In addition to excellence on the field, each nominated Positive Athlete was required to show characteristics such as an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent all the time and realizing the team as more important than the individual.

“We did not put out a search for the best athletes in Georgia,” said Hines Ward, former Forest Park High School, University of Georgia and Pittsburgh Steelers star who formed Positive Athlete with local businessman Scott Pederson.

“We put out a search for kids with positive attitudes whose efforts don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheets. These kids are also positive role models in their schools who get involved in charitable causes, have already learned the meaning of giving back at an early age, and many have overcome difficult circumstances and remained positive.”

What is remarkable about Tristan is his positive outlook on life given his circumstances. He comes from a troubled home life and a situation where his family was evicted from their home multiple times over the last couple of years. Recently, his family moved and left him behind.

Tristan has lived with several other members of the baseball team over the last three years. He was the first member of his family to graduate high school when he received his diploma with the HHS Class of 2016 on May 20.

The voice of the Atlanta Hawks, Bob Rathbun, presented Tristan with the prestigious award Tuesday night in front of a huge crowd at the CFB Hall of Fame.

“I just kept my head down and prayed every day and it always got better,” Tristan told Rathbun as he accepted his award.

Tristan was nominated for the award by his head baseball coach, Trent Bianco.

“Tristan is more than deserving of this honor. I have never seen someone from those circumstances come to school every day and come to practice every single day with such a great outlook on life,” says Bianco. “It really meant volumes to our baseball team in terms of everyone knowing what he has been through and seeing him come to practice with such a great attitude. It was motivation for everybody — not just the players but the coaches and everyone around him.”

Tristan is very appreciative of his last three years spent playing under Coach Bianco and says it was very important that his coach is the one who nominated him for the award.

“It meant the world to me,” said Brown this week. “Coach Bianco is an amazing guy. There’s no way I’d be where I am or who I am without him. Coach Bianco has pushed me to my limits and beyond, and he has been such an incredible influence on my life. I can’t say enough about his character and who he is as a person and coach.”

According to Tristan, it is like the Heard County baseball team and others at HHS adopted him over the last three years. He has lived with six different baseball teammates during that time and had some very positive experiences. He has spent the most time with fellow senior Keagan Spradlin’s family for about the past year. He can’t say enough good things about Keagan’s parents, Charles and Brandi Spradlin.

“They are GREAT — they’re great people, and they’re always looking for something else they can do to help someone. I can’t say enough about them,” Tristan stated. “They’ve taken me in, and they’ve treated me as if I was their own son, and I am forever grateful and thankful for them, and to my savior Jesus Christ for putting them in my life.”

Pictured above (L-R): Coach Trent Bianco, Tristan Brown, Brandi Spradlin, Keagan Spradlin, and Charles Spradlin Tuesday evening in Atlanta

Pictured above (L-R): Coach Trent Bianco, Tristan Brown, Brandi Spradlin, Keagan Spradlin, and Charles Spradlin Tuesday evening in Atlanta

According to the Spradlins, Tristan has helped them as well and they are thankful to have spent so much time with him.

“A year ago, Charles and I did not know the details of Tristan’s situation,” said Brandi Spradlin this week. “We knew he had stayed with several baseball families and had spent several weekends with us in order to be able to attend baseball showcase tournaments. It was during these weekends that we saw a kid who knew that his best bet in life was to go to college and he REALLY wants to play baseball at the next level and hopefully get a scholarship to help pay for his tuition.”

Brandi Spradlin says she did not truly understand everything Tristan was dealing with until spending more and more time with him during his senior year.

“During this time we came to know Tristan and we were amazed to learn all the stuff he had been through and was going through because he kept such a positive outlook. Tristan never passed up a chance to make someone else laugh, or to hand out encouraging words to his peers,” added Spradlin.

“Having Tristan live with us has been a blessing not only to Charles and I, but to our biological kids Destini and Keagan and to our extended family here in Georgia and in Texas. Tristan is a part of our family not just for a year or until he goes off to college, but forever. Tristan has shown me and Charles how to not sweat over the small stuff and when the going gets tough, you put your head down and push through. He is living proof to us all, that hard work, drive, determination and perseverance will overcome all adversity. We may have given Tristan a stable home, but he has blessed us with so much more. He is truly a great kid and an awesome role model.”

Tristan’s dream to play baseball at the next level is already taking shape as he has offers from Abraham Baldwin and Point University. He is weighing his options and also hopes to eventually start a family to call his own. He wants to follow in Coach Bianco’s footsteps by getting into coaching.

“My plan is to go to college to play ball, and get a degree and then after that start a life and family with the woman I love,” says Tristan. “I want to go into teaching. I want to teach special education and coach high school baseball — maybe even at Heard County High School!”

To learn more about Positive Athlete Georgia, visit www.georgia.positiveathlete.org.


  1. I really enjoy reading a story like this, a kid who has no support from his family a totally unstable life but keeps going and achieving no matter the odds against him. Thanks to Coach Bianco and all the people especially his teammates and their families who stepped up to help him get an education and also thanks to this young man for all his efforts to succeed against seemingly all odds were against him. GOOD LUCK TRISTAN!

    • Ricky Williams says

      Just a reply to the above comment… Actually he had nothing but support from his parent . Maybe not financially but every other way possible. As far as I knew, what was in your your bank account and going through tough times didnt make peoplwe who they are. Tristan’s parents had him young and they have always struggled. Their kids never knew it until they got old enough to figure it on their own. They traveled all over the state every weekend spring AND fall so that he could play ball at a competitive major level, where he did stand out from the crowd! In fact, his family went without in order to make that happen for him. His mom told me “It was worth every pack of Ramen noodles we ate during the week,” He was showered with love attention and baseball. This is a wonderful family and it wouldn’t be right to honor Tristan, without honoring all his parents sacrificed to get him to where he is. Browns, I love ya! Can’t wait to see what awards the younger Browns get! Way to go tbomb!

  2. Dr Santiago says

    I’m very proud of Tristan! Way to go!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: