Brianne Sanders Ennis (’12) Earns Athletic HOF Honor

Brianne Sanders Ennis (’12) is being inducted into the 2024 Notre Dame Athletic Hall of Fame, and will be recognized at the first annual Queen of Victory Evening of Excellence on August 10, 2024, at Notre Dame Regional High School.

Ennis played four years of softball and soccer, and two years of basketball as a Bulldog. In softball, she had a four-year career average .472 (137 hits) and a career stolen bases record of 95. She broke the Notre Dame school record during her sophomore year when she hit .514 (55 hits). During both her sophomore and junior years, she earned all-state honors in softball and soccer.

Ennis said the news of the induction came from Coach Jeff Graviett and gave her a rush of excitement.

“It meant the world to me knowing all of my hard work was noticed and is appreciated still today,” she said.

In talking to Ennis about her time playing sports at Notre Dame, the word “family” kept coming up.

“I’m extremely grateful for my time at Notre Dame. My teammates and coaches were like family to me and always supported and pushed me to be a better athlete and person,” she said. “My whole family played sports growing up, which I think motivated me to excel.”

During her younger years, Ennis said she bounced back and forth from one sport to another.

“My parents wanted my sister and I to have as many opportunities as we could to find our niche,” she said. “Growing up, my dad taught me the value of a hard work ethic. I grew up playing travel sports and working out in our home gym to prepare for high school. My dad was the most influential person, though. He helped create my drive to always strive to be better, and he always supported me.”

Ennis feels gratitude for not only her family’s support, but also the support of the coaching staff at Notre Dame.

She said, “Coach (Jeff) Graviett, Coach (Ray) Reinagel and Coach (Matt) Vollink were influential in helping me become the athlete I was. They were always willing to coach me, and they willingly stayed later after practices to work with me, as well as open the softball and soccer sheds early for me so I could practice before school.”

The term “family” popped up again when Ennis was asked about moments that stuck out in her memory while playing sports at Notre Dame.

“Winning 2009 state in softball my sophomore year was one of my most memorable moments at Notre Dame,” she said. “I can still remember the feeling of when we got the last out and everyone rushing the field. All our hard work had finally paid off, but the best part about it was celebrating with all my best friends. Our team was a huge family which made that win so much sweeter.”

When asked to tell a story about one of her fondest memories playing sports at Notre Dame, Ennis drew on her soccer experience.

She said, “One of the greatest experiences I had as a Notre Dame athlete was playing on the varsity soccer team my freshman year with my sister, Taylor (’09), who was a senior. Growing up I had always wanted to be just like her, so the fact that I was able to play at a higher level and with her, validated all my hard work. That year, we both ended up receiving honors and our team was ranked sixth in the state, which was extremely special.”

According to Ennis, sports challenged her both physically and mentally and taught her about work ethic, collaboration and time management. These skills she had to rely on in high school have carried over to her present-day life.

She said, “When I entered high school, I would go to the gym or cross-fit in the mornings, and sometimes after practices as well. I would even practice before school some days hitting balls or stay late after to practice ball striking. I think these things prepared me for high school where I was competing against well-rounded and older, skilled athletes.”

Ennis currently lives in the Dallas area with her husband, Ryan, their daughter Claire, and two dogs. She is a pediatric speech-language pathologist.

Ennis said, “The best advice I could give to future sports players is to have fun and work hard. It is so rewarding playing your best for yourself, but also for your teammates. Some of my best friends were made through sports and we still share those great memories today. I hope to give my daughter many opportunities to play sports and find her favorites so she can experience the joy and valuable lessons that I did.”