University of Utah Volleyball sophomore libero/defensive specialist Brianna Doehrmann (17) congratulates her teammates after a point in a set of matches vs. The Oregon Ducks at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

With a father who dedicated 30 years of his life to the United States Marines, University of Utah libero Brianna Doehrmann and her three siblings were typically under the guidance of their mother as they moved around a lot. Mark’s service to the country forced him to be in and out of the house and away from his family, making it so he was unable to physically be there to watch his kids grow.

The Doehrmann family had to learn to make do without a father figure at home for as much as three to four weeks at a time. With four young kids, this was no easy feat, but Brianna’s mother Sandi was just the woman for the job, according to Mark.

“I am lucky that I married such a wonderful woman who could handle the pressure of being at home and acting as both father and mother,” Mark said. “I knew that my kids were in good hands.”

Brianna and her siblings had to work hard to reestablish themselves on each of their respective playing fields and in the classroom because they moved frequently. But Sandi is a determined mother who kept her kids busy so they would keep their minds off of their father’s absence.

“I was adamant that they weren’t going to be home,” Sandi said. “It was either pick a sport or I’ll pick it for you, because you’re not going to be home. I wanted them out on the field or on the court.”

For Brianna, when she was on the court and her dad wasn’t around, she said he would send her videos with inspiring messages. After matches, Mark and Brianna would talk about how the games went, and he would wish her luck and try to keep her motivated.

Mark remained in touch with Brianna and the family every week with letters and phone calls. He kept up to date with activities his kids were involved in through videos that Sandi took religiously. Brianna added that even though her dad was often far away, it never felt like it because there was always a way for him to keep in touch with his family.

Since Mark’s recent retirement from the military, he has been working in a management position at CarMax in Arizona because, as Brianna joked, “My mom is an expensive woman.”

Mark and Sandi plan to move back home to California when Mark finishes his job training. All four of their kids are out of the house now, and their son, Ryan, is following in his father’s footsteps by joining the Marines.

The supportive parents do their best to keep up with all that their kids have going on, and for Brianna, they do this by traveling to as many volleyball games as they can. Even if they aren’t visiting their kids, Sandi still cherishes her daily messages, phone calls, Facetimes and goodnight texts from each of them.

Not only does Sandi look forward to the messages, but Brianna and her dad have their own saying that they text or he yells to her from the stands before games. The five word message he tells her is meant to encourage and motivate her. Those words: “Nothing hits the floor, Bree.”


Casey Overfield
Casey Overfield is in her second year at the University of Utah. This is her second year as a sports writer for the Chronicle, where she is the assistant editor for the sports desk. Casey is also a member of the Pride of Utah marching band, and hopes to be a sports writer after graduation.


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