Munson wins prestigious Bringle Award

ELKHART — When Nathan Munson completes his four years in college, he has one main goal ... the NFL.

No, not necessarily what you’re thinking.

It’s the NFL Next Gen Stats. which covers every play, every player on every inch of the field during an NFL game.

“I’m kind of a nerd for numbers,’’ Munson said. “I love football and all the players and stats is very intriguing to me.’’

On Monday night, Munson – who wore the number 0 for the Elkhart football team last fall – was named the 81st winner of the prestigious Tim Bringle Award.

The Bringle, which has honored the top senior male student-athlete in Elkhart Community Schools since 1947, is selected by a committee in concert with the school system. There have been two ties in the 79-year history of the award.

Munson has won seven varsity letters at Elkhart, four in track and three in football. He will attempt to qualify for the state finals in track for the fourth time later this week.

“When I was younger, I won the Athlete of the Year Award at Pierre Moran (Middle School),’’ Munson said on Monday. “A gym teacher there said I reminded him of Nathan Dibley who won the same award and then went on to win the Bringle and have a good college career. That’s always stuck with me.’’

A three-year starter in football, Munson was a first-team All-Northern Indiana Conference selection as a tight end last fall and a second-team all-conference selection as a defensive end as a junior.

He was also an Academic All-State selection for the Lions in 2023.

Munson finished his career with 75 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and scored four touchdowns.

“Nate Munson is a physical freak with a lot of athletic ability,’’ Elkhart football coach Trevon Curry said. “He’s had a huge impact on our football program on both sides of the ball for the last three years. At 220 pounds, he is one of the fastest kids in our school.’’

That fact has played out in the spring, where Munson has been one of coach Adam Homo’s top sprinters for four seasons.

Munson has cut his time in the 100 from 12.49 as a freshman to 10.83 this spring.

“Nathan has been a stalwart part of Elkhart’s spring corps for quite some time,’’ Homo said. “The last three seasons he has been the anchor for the 4x100 dash, which involved much responsibility.

“If things have gone poorly earlier in the 4x100, Nathan must keep his composure and not leave his mark too soon ... which can be difficult if you are behind. Therefore, Nathan must be calm at all times and be ready to perform under duress if the need arises.’’

Munson ran in the state meet last spring in the 400 relay, after the Lions relay team won the sectional and finished second in the regional. Elkhart also won the team sectional title in 2023.

This year Munson is a captain and hopes to anchor his relay team back to the state finals in Bloomington.

“Nathan has worked extremely hard to become better over time,’’ Homo said. “It’s extremely difficult to get faster as one’s career progresses. However, through his hard work and dedication. Nathan has managed to become a force in both the 100 and 200.’’

While Munson gives his coaches plenty of credit for his growth as an athlete, he had a quick answer when asked about why he’s been successful ... his mom, Trina Bradley-Couch.

“My mom has been really hard on me,’’ Munson admitted. “She’s one of the main reasons I’ve worked so hard and done well in school. But I’ve also had great coaches, who were also mentors. They not only cared how good you are athletically, but also what kind of person you are.’’

Then there is his work ethic – which both Homo and Curry praised.

“I know there are athletes that talk about how big the off-season is,’’ Munson said. “But some just don’t work as hard in a practice ... they don’t go all out. That’s just not something I do. I try to give my all in every practice and every workout.’’

When asked for a favorite memory in his strong football career, Munson didn’t choose a play or a game, but rather growth.

“My biggest highlight isn’t a game itself, but the way I grew as a person,’’ Munson said. “We faced a lot of adversity, including a change of coaches after my sophomore year, but I think I helped make our transition to a new coach go a little easier for us.

“I’m not the most vocal our loud guy, but I think I’m pretty good in one-on-one or in smaller groups. I’m a good listener and I believe I can help people get out of their own head when they’re thinking too much.’’

Munson, a 3.455 student at Elkhart, is planning to play both football and run track beginning next fall at Taylor University. He’ll major in data science.

Homo believes Taylor will be getting a good one.

“Nathan Munson is an example of what every athlete should aspire to,’’ Homo said. “His athletic accomplishments, coupled with his academic prowess, make him a student-athlete with a great deal of potential.’’