Brian was born in small town Kansas and excelled at basketball and football in high school. He received a B.A. degree from Wichita State in Education. He later received a Master’s degree from the US Sports Academy in Alabama. Brian married his high school sweetheart, Elaine in 1978.
Brian loved college football mainly because of the interaction and influence he had with and on young men. He coached for 13 years in Kansas at junior colleges and then went on to coach at Idaho State University, the University of Colorado, and Indiana University. Over 50 of Brian’s former players played in the NFL. Brian also was an Assistant Athletic Director at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. For two years, Brian was involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Denver.
In 2001, Brian and his wife Elaine took a team to the Thailand/Burma border. He could not forget the suffering and desperation he saw from the people he encountered on this trip. He said that everyone has a choice once they see someone suffering; to either respond or to turn their back on that person. He was determined to help; regardless of the sacrifice. This is when the concept of Global Refuge was born.
In 2004 Brian left college football and founded the Vector M Group and PrepTracker. He desired to use his twenty plus years of experience recruiting college athletes to assist universities. Then in 2005 Global Refuge became a nonprofit with the determination to serve displaced persons in difficult situations.
From Brian's athletic background he greatly believed that when working together as a team people could bring hope to those in hopeless situations. He wanted to target displaced people who had 'fallen through the cracks' of international aid due to them being difficult to reach, fighting, disease, poverty or politics. Our name, "Global Refuge" is based on Psalm 26 stating that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.' The passage goes on to talk about disasters and wars and Brian foresaw that it would be in these very circumstances that GRI would serve.
Based on Brian's vision, GRI has been able to intersect suffering people in their time of need in Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon, Congo, Uganda and South Sudan.
Brian's Vision Fund is committed to sustaining this mission and securing the future of GRI's work.
“God doesn’t put a premium on how long we live but rather how we live.” —Brian McNeely