Being Brad: First gent talks college memories, relationship advice

Kalena Reynolds | Staff Writer

By Kalena Reynolds | Staff Writer

Being the first gent of Baylor is no ordinary opportunity. For Brad Livingstone, every day is a new chance to bring light into the world alongside his wife, Baylor President Linda Livingstone.

From the basketball court to the Allbritton House, Livingstone has lived a multidimensional life as a basketball lover, a “Beatles freak” and a devoted husband.

Q: What’s your favorite music?

Brad: I don’t know if you guys have ever walked around [Allbritton] when there’s music playing, but it’s on purpose. Like for the eclipse, I put together an eclipse playlist — songs that deal with the sun or the moon or whatever. Pink Floyd was featured heavily. And so I love music. I’m a Beatles freak.

I have zero ability to play any instrument. I tried to play the guitar. In fact, Joe DiBlasi — who’s considered one of the top 50 guitarists in the world — he tried to teach me when we were in California, and I just couldn’t get it.

Q: What’s your go-to Beatles album?

Brad: It really depends what kind of mood I’m in. Every one of these albums, I love, and I’m a Beatles fan because my brother is four years older than me, [and] he was a Beatles fan. So anything my older brother was, I was. Everything he liked, I liked.

But if I had to pick one, it would be “Help!” just because that was the first album I ever bought in my life. I was in the fourth grade, and I bought my very first LP, as we called them. I got to bring it to class, play it on our little record player and share it with all my friends and my teacher.

Q: Do you have any interesting memories from college?

Brad: Linda and I played basketball at Oklahoma State, and so I lived in the athletic dorm on campus in Stillwater, and we were on the third floor. On the second floor was track.

Well, the javelin thrower for Oklahoma State while I was there was Garth Brooks. Before he was Garth Brooks, he was a javelin thrower. What’s crazy is that we had a mutual friend who was tragically killed in a plane crash, and he was a best friend of Garth.

Q: If you could have any alternate life, what would you do?

Brad: You know, when you get to be my age, it’s amazing how events happen in your life where you could have had a completely different life. So No. 1, I wouldn’t want an alternate life. I love my life now, so I wouldn’t want one. I really love where God has us and what he’s doing and what he will continue to do.

But if I had that opportunity, I really think No. 1, I would have played in the NBA. My dad played in the NBA, and that was always my goal. I just realized I’m not good enough to play, and that’s OK. I went to college, and I played overseas a little bit, but I didn’t get to play in the NBA.

And I would … be able to play the guitar.

And if I could as well speak Spanish, because any time we go any place that Spanish is the first language, I feel like I might as well be on the moon. I can’t communicate with anybody in the room unless they can speak English as well. So yeah, maybe an NBA player that also is a musician on the side. But yeah, I love what I’m doing now.

Q: In your alternate life, what would be the first song you played on guitar?

Brad: I love James Taylor, and so it’d be anything James Taylor. “Fire and Rain” comes to mind. I know that sounds bizarre, but both of my parents have passed, and we knew pretty much the day that they were going to pass. My dad died of cancer. My mom died of complications from smoking, and it threw us because we just weren’t prepared for the funeral, the music, all that stuff. So I’ve already made my playlist, a funeral playlist of my songs. I know that sounds bizarre, but I don’t want anybody else to mess with that.

Q: Your dog BU is pretty famous around campus. Do you have any special routine when walking her?

Brad: I’m only halfway joking, but BU has a ministry on this campus. Because every day when I’m done teaching, I’ll put her on a leash and we’ll walk out the front way, and I just say, ‘OK God, let us meet at least one person that needs a word of encouragement or needs to be loved on by a puppy.’ And he answers that fiftyfold.

We’ll go around and [see] people that are having a bad day or that have an exam. Evidently, there’s an urban legend that if you’re getting ready to take an exam and you pet BU, you’re guaranteed an A. So during finals, she’s very popular on our walks. So we go out, and it’s really kind of cool how BU will walk up to somebody, and they’ll love on her, and it kind of makes their day, and we go on to somebody else, and she’s good to go.

Q: Did you or Linda say ‘I love you’ first?

Brad: We were at Boomer Lake. I mean, it was perfect — moonlight reflecting on the little pond there. And I said, ‘Hey Linda, I want you to know something. I want you to know I love you.’ And she goes, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ Now granted, if she didn’t love me, that’s exactly what she should have said.

And honestly, I thought, ‘Oh wow, she doesn’t feel the same way about me as I do.’ I thought we were done. I went home and thought, ‘OK.’ About two days later, she called me as if nothing had happened, and I never spoke of it again. And we just picked it right up, although I still tease her about just crushing me as a young man.

Q: Do you have any relationship advice?

Brad: Marry your best friend, and keep it that way. It’s not like it’s hard work, but you know, so many of my friends turn around and say, ‘We just grew apart.’ Well, it’s because you allowed it to grow apart. You know, that needs to be our priority from day one. Just do things together. Have fun together, and watch your relationship flourish.